World’s Strongest Man 2019 – Giants Live Recap

Has it been a year already? Apparently it has! Somehow though, I actually forgot the WSM competition had started on TV, and as a result I was a few episodes behind! Luckily, the main Heats haven’t begun yet (they start tonight), so I figured I’d do one post looking at all 5 Giants Live events today, then go back to my daily posts for the Heats and the Final as usual.

Giants Live 1 – Britain’s Strongest Man

With Eddie Hall retired, we are guaranteed a NEW Britain’s Strongest Man for 2019. A good mix of old names, new names, and well known names that aren’t new, but aren’t those legendary names just yet. Terry Hollands, Laurence Shahlaei, Graham Hicks, Mark Felix, Adam Bishop, Tom Stoltman, Luke Stoltman. The past, present and future of British Strongman right here, along with some other smaller names who need some more experience. Graham Hicks was second to Eddie last year, so he has to be the favourite going into the event, along with Adam Bishop who has perhaps improved more than anyone else in the last year.

The Log Press kicked off the event, and with 2 men getting 8 reps, 2 with 7 reps and 4 men with 6 reps, they are showing the world that Britain is starting to become a bit of a force when it comes to overhead press events. Luke Stoltman impressed everyone by getting 8 along with Graham Hicks. Hicks is probably the best Brit at overhead now that Eddie is retired, so being able to match him was a huge achievement for the Scotsman.

Event 2 was the Frame Carry, an event ruled by Shahlaei in recent years. His world record of 10.10 seconds seemed impossible to beat… yet was beaten by FOUR athletes this year, Shahlaei included! The new record holder is Adam Bishop with a blistering time of 8.28 seconds, with Shahlaei, Holland and Hicks all breaking the previous record of 10.10 seconds!

The Deadlift was next, and it is another event that the British Strongmen have made their own in recent years. Felix has been one of the best in the world at reps for over 15 years. Hollands and Shahlaei have also always been great at reps and have at one point held the British record for max weight as well. And of course Eddie Hall holds the world record of 500KG that has yet to be beaten. Felix manages a massive 11 reps, but is beaten on this day by Adam Bishop and 12 reps. Hicks takes 3rd place with 10 reps. 9 men in total did 7+ reps, which again shows how good the Brits are at such an event!

Loading Race is event 4, and this tests the athlete’s conditioning more than perhaps any other event. Terry Hollands does well despite his age, as he has slimmed down in recent years to be a more fit competitor. He takes 3rd place, but it was the Stoltman brothers who came first and second, making it look easy!

The final event is of course the Atlas Stones. Going into the event, only Graham Hicks and Adam Bishop can realistically take the title, with Stoltman (both of them), Shahlaei and Hollands all battling it out for the 3rd podium place. Tom Stoltman takes the win in the event with an insane time of 18.03 seconds! Bishop second, Hicks 3rd and Luke Stoltman in 4th place. That means that Graham Hicks is our NEW Britain’s Strongest Man, with Bishop settling for second place, and Tom Stoltman taking 3rd and his brother Luke just behind in 4th.

A great start to Giants Live 2019. Graham Hicks finally wins a major competition, but more importantly the Stoltman brothers made a huge impact on a national stage. I’ve watched them compete in events for a number of years now, and its great to see them finally coming into their own. Give it another 2 or 3 years and I reckon one of them will be Britian’s Strongest Man at least, as well as making it to the WSM finals!

Giants Live 2 – Europe’s Strongest Man

The second biggest strongman competition on the planet! The reigning World’s Strongest Man also happens to be the reigning Europe’s Strongest Man too, and he won’t want to have any title taken away from him. He is of course Hafthor Julius Bjornsson! We also have, imo, a potential future World’s Strongest Man Mateusz Kieleszkowski. The Stoltman brothers are both here as well, hoping to continue their great run from Britain’s Strongest Man. Bishop, Felix and Shahlaei are also representing Britain. Outside of Britain is Konstaintine Janashia, who took 2nd place last year, and Mikhail Shivlyakov who is definitely a dark horse here imo.

The World Log Lift Championships kick off the show, and we have some guest lifters here including Graham Hicks, Iron Biby and bodybuilder Larry Wheels. We join the championships at 214kg, which has been achieved already by Graham Hicks and Rob Kearney, giving them British and American records respectively! Thor attempts the same weight for an Icelandic record, but fails. He doesn’t go for another attempt, knowing that he is here for the entire Europe’s Strongest Man competition and needs to save his energy. 220KG is the next weight, and while Hicks does get it up AND locks out his arms, his feet are moving and he isn’t able to get a good lift from the referee. Iron Biby on the other hand gets it up, and is now the second best log lifter in history behind Big Z, the current record holder. Speaking of records… Iron Biby tries 229KG, which would be a NEW world record. Good news for Big Z fans, Iron Biby is unable to even get the log to his shoulders. Maybe next year!

Deadlift is next, and it is much more brutal than the Britain’s Strongest Man show. Felix only gets 5th place here, with Shivlyakov, Bishop, Janashia and Thor placing ahead of him. 10 reps from Thor gives him the win.

Event 3 is the Flip & Drag. Flip a massive tire 4 times, then drag a huge anchor and chain down the course! Fitness is a must in this event! Tom and Luke Stoltman show how good they are in this event, being beaten only by Thor and Kieliszkowski. Kieliszkowski takes first place ahead of even the mighty Thor!

The Hercules Hold makes a return, and the oldest man in the competition, Mark Felix, makes it look easy. So easy, he gets himself a new world record with a time of 1 minute 22 seconds, breaking the previous time of 1 minute 11 seconds from 2005! The closest time was from THOR at 55.13 seconds, which shows just how incredible Felix’s time was here!

The Atlas Stones finish up the competition as usual. Thor goes into it needing only to lift 3 stones to retain his title, which Kieliszkowski, Shivlyakov and Janashia battle out for the other 2 podium positions. Of course Thor manages 3 stones and takes his 5th Europe’s Strongest Man title. Kieliszkowski takes second place in the event, giving him 2nd place overall, and Janashia takes 3rd. They have swapped placed from the previous year. The big story here though is Tom Stoltman who wins the event in a time of 21.81. He took the win at Britain’s, and again here at Europe’s. He has to be considered one of the best stone lifters in the world right now!

So once again Thor wins, and the top 3 places are the same as last year, with 2 and 3 swapping places this year. Tom Stoltman takes another 4th place finish, though it is all the more impressive here considering the incredible international talent. Definitely a man to watch in the future!

Giants Live 3 – North American Open

Last year, the winner of the North American Open was… an Englishman. LOL. But of course the actual NAO championship went to Rob Kearney, with Laurence Shahlaei simply winning the Giants Live. This year, no Laurence, so the top spot is ripe for the picking for an actual North American. A lot of the names might be pretty unknown outside of NA, but if you’ve watched the competition in recent years you’ll certainly recognise the likes of Bryan Benzel, Trey Mitchell III, Mark Felix (guest competitor of course), Kevin Faires, Evan Singleton and Rob Kearney.

Max Axel Press starts off the competition, and 185KG defeats many of the athletes. Evan Singleton talks big, claiming nobody is on his level. Love how they continue to announce him as a former WWE superstar. He spent a couple of months in development and left. It would be like me claiming to be part of the Royal Family because I worked for the Royal Mail a few years ago. He does, however, manage to lock out at 185KG, making him one of only 3 people so far to achieve that weight. Kearney is last to attempt this weight, and he makes it look simple. They move up to 200KG, and only one man is able to lift it, and that is Andrew Clayton! He also goes for an American record of  209.5KG but on this day it is just too much for him.

The Farmer’s Walk is our second event, with the athletes simply having to carry the heavy implements as far as possible. Mark Felix happens to hold the world record for this event, and he narrowly misses out on beating his own record today. Andrew Clayton seems to have taken too much out of himself in the Axel Press and couldn’t get off the starting line. Kearney, a favourite for the title here only manages 7th place, while Singleton takes 4th.

Event 3 is Deadlift for Reps. Another excellent event for Mark Felix, which he definitely needs as he was unable to pick up any points in the Axel Press. But potentially 2 wins in a row with the Farmer’s Walk and maybe here will put him in very good position. Again, Clayton picks up zero points, becoming clear that it took everything he had to make 200KG in the Axel Press plus his world record attempt. Felix gets his second win in a row with a massive 11 reps, with Mitchell coming in second. Singleton again takes 4th place, along with Kearney who joins him as they both got 8 reps.

Super Yoke time! 5 men were unable to complete the course, but Evan Singleton takes first place with a time of 27.48 seconds. Kearney, usually one of the best at this, settles for 4th place, while Felix takes 6th. That won’t do him any good going into the final.

The Atlas Stones finish off the competition as per usual. Last year, Evan Singleton came into this event with no experience and fumbled about. He is desperate to make up for that. Rob Kearney on the other hand broke some ribs trying to get the first stone onto the platform, which ended up costing him 1st place overall. This year he does much better, getting all 5 stones up, but is just behind Faires, likely costing him a podium finish. Singleton isn’t the fasted in the event, but he DOES get all 5 up, making up for last year AND giving him the title! Only his FIFTH competition and he is already the North American Open champion!

So Singleton takes 1st, but Kevin Faires is once again in second place, while Mark Felix is able to claw his way onto the podium with a good stone run! Kearney drops to 5th place.

Giants Live 4 – Wembley

This is a stop on the WORLD TOUR, and while it isn’t the finals, the top 3 spots will grant their winners a place in the WSM. We have some of the biggest stars in the sport competing here today from Martins Licis, Mateusz Kieliszkowski, Adam Bishop, Mikhail Shivlyakov, Jerry Pritchett and Mark Felix, along with the increasingly impressive Stoltman brothers, and some guest competitors who are just here for the first event…

Deadlift World Championship! We haven’t seen this event since the inhuman 500KG lift from Eddie Hall a couple of years ago. While I doubt that lift will even be replicated this year, I have no doubt we will still see some impressive lifts, especially from Pritchett. He was potentially going to match the lift of Hall back when Hall did it, but he injured himself and was unable to. So what can a healthy Pritchett actually do this year? We join the action at 440KG. Which is INSANE. Just 5 years ago, 440KG would have been world record territory with almost nobody lifting it. Now we have multiple men achieving it and being able to go further. Pritchett is the first man we see lift, and yes, 440KG is very achievable for him. Kearney is next up, having already done 220KG which is his new personal best… until he manages 440KG! That is an incredible lift for the American! Bishop goes next and 440KG and like the 2 men before him, he makes it. 440KG proves to be too much for Licis, sadly, despite the fact he has lifted it in the past. Felix now, and it is too much for him too. Reps is what he is best at rather than max weight. The weight goes up to 455KG, and Pritchett makes it along with Rauno Heinla, a name I haven’t heard of in some time! Pritchett attempts an American record of 467.5KG, but on this day it wasn’t to be. I believe he IS capable of that kind of weight though, so no doubt in the future we’ll see him lift it. He will have to settle for joint 1st with Heinla today.

Event 2 is the Farmer’s Walk, but unlike the NAO, it isn’t a “go as long as you can”, but rather 2 lengths of the course in the fastest time. Some good times for the likes of Like Stoltman, Jerry Pritchett and Mikhail Shivlyakov, but the KING of the speed events is none other than Mateusz Kieliszkowski who does it in under 20 seconds. He needed to be first here as he didn’t do so well on the deadlift, which is still his only real weakness atm.

The Safe Press is event 3. Luke Stoltman racks up 12 reps to place him in current 1st place with only a few men left to go. Pritchett on the other hand couldn’t get to grips with this event, and only manages 4. Only one man was able to beat Stoltman here, and it was none other than Kieliszkowski who edged him out on 13 reps.

Felix came in dead last in the previous event, but event 4 is the Hercules Hold, an event in which he holds the world record in! Not only that… but he beats his own record on this day! The previous record stood for 14 years, and then along comes Mark Felix who beats it TWICE in the same year! Licis takes second in the event, after having a pretty poor showing up until now. Kieliszkowski takes 3rd, keeping him in good points going into the final event.

Atlas Stones? Atlas Stones! An incredible NINE MEN out of 10 can potentially reach the podium depending on their stone run. But realistically its between 4 men; Kieliszkowski, Pritchett, Shivlyakov and Stoltman. Kieliszkowski is still the favourite to win imo, while Stoltman is in with a VERY good chance of a podium finish due to his abilities with the stones. The only question for me is who will join those two men. Well, this was a crazy event! Licis pulls it out of the bag, taking first place with 20.37 seconds, and Luke Stoltman comes in second place. Kieliszkowski takes 3rd, while Luke Stoltman settles for 4th place. In the end, Kieliszkowski comes out on top as expected, with Pritchett holding on to his 2nd place, and Licis coming through in the end to take 3rd. Another 4th place for a Stoltman, though this time it is Luke.

Giants Live 5 – World Tour Finals

The final Giants Live event, and its the finals of the world tour! Kieliszkowski is here to defend his title, and based on his performance at Wembley, I’d say he’s a shoe-in for retaining that title! Looking to take it from him through, is Adam Bishop, Robert Oberst, Evan Singleton, Iron Biby, Mark Felix and more.

Event 1 is the Axel Deadlift for reps. This will likely be the worst event for Kieliszkowski, but the best event for Mark Felix! 7 reps for Felix puts him in current 1st place, while Evan Singleton proves to be all talk in this event, getting only 3 reps. Bishop also reaches 7 reps, along with Novikov from the Ukraine!

Circus Dumbbell is event 2, and this will prove to be a very tough event for some of the athletes, especially Mark Felix. However, Kieliszkowski makes it look easy with 9 reps, with Novikov coming in second on 8, and Iron Biby and Evan Singleton taking joint 3rd with 7.

Event 3 is the Car Walk, and this is another event that Kieliszkowski could very likely win. 11.05 seconds is the current world record, and Iron Biby JUST misses out on it at 11.12 seconds in an incredible race with Evan Singleton who gets 11.25 seconds. The winner, though? Kieliszkowski. With 10.00 seconds flat for a NEW world record! There was little doubt that he wouldn’t win, but beating the record by a full second is incredible!

The Hercules Hold is event 4, and we could see another world record from Mark Felix if he wants it! Robert Oberst does incredibly well, getting 79 seconds, which would have broken the old record had Felix not already done so! Ben Brunning is just a few seconds behind, putting on his best performance in the competition so far. Felix goes past both times and… breaks his own world record AGAIN!!!  87 seconds!

The Atlas Stones will again decide the winner, and as we go into the final event, its Novikov and Iron Biby who hold joint first place ahead of Kieliszkowski, with the young Evan Singleton and Ben Brunning only half a point behind him! Tom Stoltman takes first place here as expected, with Kieliszkowski taking second place, which will likely solidify his 1st place.

Yes, that 2nd place puts Kieliszkowski in first place overall, with Ben Brunning coming out of seemingly nowhere to take second place, with Novikov taking 3rd and Felix just behind in 4th. That does it for the Giants Live shows, as later tonight the first Heat for the WSM begins!!!

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