Giants Live is over. Numerous men earned a qualifying position through those events, but they aren’t the only ones who will be competing for the title of World’s Strongest Man 2019. It is now time for the first heat, where 2 men will advance to the final!
Competing in Heat 1 are:
Raffael Gordzielik (Germany) – 2x Germany’s Strongest Man
Hafthor Julius Bjornsson (Iceland) – 2018 WSM
Zake Muluzi (Great Britain) – 3rd place Scotland’s Strongest Man 2018
Rob Kearney (America) – 3rd WSM appearance
Luke Stoltman (Great Britain) – 5x Scotland’s Strongest Man
Event 1 – Monster Truck Pull
12 tonnes of Monster Truck must be pulled down a 22m course in the fastest time possible! Raffael is the first man to attempt this, and he is able to reach the end at the 1 minute mark. The Mighty Thor is next up and you have to believe that he will beat the time of 1 minute. In fact he almost halves the time, finishing in 34.36 seconds! The champ is setting a huge target for the next 3 men to try and beat! Zake is a new name to me, or at the very least I don’t remember seeing him before. Only being known as 3rd best in Scotland might not sound that impressive, but considering who the 1 and 2 men in Scotland are, it is still a pretty good achievement in my books! He does well to start with, but towards the end the course goes up hill slightly, and sadly he gets stopped in his tracks, unable to finish the course. Kearney from the USA is up next, and he has help from the 2008 runner up Derek Poundstone! Kearney has great overhead power, but he is one of the smallest and lightest strongmen, which is a huge detriment in an event like this. Like Zake before him, he is unable to finish the course. Lastly, Luke Stoltman! He and his brother have been on a roll in other competitions leading up to WSM, so he certainly has a good chance of getting into the final along with Thor (who is almost guaranteed to make it). No idea how he will do in this event though, as I can’t recall seeing him do a truck pull style event. Thor’s time is unbeatable, but Stoltman is able to take 2nd place with a time of 55.72 seconds! A good start for the Scotsman!
Event 2 – Giants Medley
Well, this is definitely a new event, and oh boy does it sound TOUGH! First a Farmer’s Walk with 150KG in each hand. Then the Super Yoke at 450KG. And THEN the Giant Yoke at a massive 600KG! Honestly, I’m not expecting everyone to finish all 3. Thor should definitely be able to, but as for the rest, who knows. Rob Kearney is a great Yoker, but after a Farmer’s Walk and with the heaviest Yoke in history, it might prove too much for even him! Zake was first to go, and he was only able to finish the Farmer’s Walk, then reached 1.51m on the Super Yoke. We join the action with Stoltman going head to head with Gordzielik. Stoltman gets off to the faster start, but its how you finish that matters here. Both men make it past the Super Yoke, but the Giant Yoke is putting up a fight. Both men can do nothing more than lift and drop a couple of inches at a time. There is just 1cm between the two in the end, with the German getting the better of the Scotsman. Finally we have Kearney against Thor in the battle of the Yokers! Kearney gets away to the faster start, and Thor looks to have injured himself, to the point where he struggles with the Super Yoke and calls it quits there. Hopefully it is nothing serious. Meanwhile, Rob Kearney makes the entire thing look easy, carrying the Giant Yoke across the line in one go!
Update on Thor; he has torn something in his foot. However it is not serious enough for him to retire from the competition, and if anyone can continue on to the WSM Final with an injury, it is definitely THE MOUNTAIN! Anyway, onto event 3!
Event 3 – Deadlift for Reps
375KG to be deadlifted as many times as possible in 60 seconds! Zake went first and sadly was unable to get a single rep. Gordzielik managed 4, followed by Kearney with 6 reps for current 1st place. We now join the action as Luke Stoltman tries to better 6 reps! He pulls out 3 good reps, but the 4th is a real struggle for him. He has 30 seconds left, and would need at least 1 more to go ahead of the German, and he does indeed do that. A good effort from him, giving him current 2nd place with only an INJURED Thor to go! That being said, Thor is one of the best deadlifters in the world, so even an injury likely won’t prevent him from winning this imo. Crazy to think that 10 years ago, a tall man like Thor would usually be terrible at deadlift. Then along comes the likes of Thor and Brian Shaw who defy the odds to become 2 of the best ever at the event. As expected then, Thor cannot be stopped even with an injured foot, and he lifts 7 reps for the win!
Event 4 – Overhead Press
155KG logs to be pressed overhead as many times as possible in 75 seconds. Yet another event that 10 years ago would have been considered bad for the taller man, but not any more! Zake went first, and he managed 2 reps, which for his first time competing at WSM is pretty impressive. Now we join the action with Gordzielik against Stoltman. Stoltman is going well, while Gordzielik is going much slower and struggling after a couple of reps. He finishes up on 4 reps, while Stoltman just keeps on going, finishing with NINE reps! A fantastic result for him, and he really needed that kind of number to keep himself in contention with Kearney and Thor up last. Kearney holds the American record for max weight, and I believe Thor holds the same record for Iceland as well. Thor is having to rely on nothing but arm and shoulder power due to his bad leg, while Kearney can use more technique. Both men join Stoltman on 9 reps, but they do it in a faster time, sending Stoltman down to 3rd position sadly.
Lets take a look at the overall points now, so we can see who will face off in the final event and who goes through to the final automatically!
Thor has qualified for the WSM Finals now, while Kearney and Stoltman will battle it out head to head for the 2nd qualifying position!
Event 5 – Atlas Stone Last Man Standing Showdown
2 years ago the WSM competition introduced this particular event and honestly I hated it. Both men have to take turns passing an Atlas Stone over a bar until one man cannot do it in the 20 second time limit. Last year they changed it to a head to head Atlas Stone run which I felt was much better and fairer too. At least this time there are only 2 men doing it rather than multiple men in a gauntlet style. So, who will win? Stoltman is very good at the stones, while Kearney has struggled with it in the past, so my money would be on Luke here. He also has the height to dump the stone over the bar while Rob has to put much more effort to get it over. Both men are going well, but definitely tiring. They just seem to keep going though! After a fantastic battle, Rob Kearney is unable to meet the time limit, and Luke Stoltman is through to his first ever WSM Final!!!
A great start to this year’s WSM competition, with the reigning champion Hafthor Bjornsson going through to the final to defend his title, and Luke Stoltman qualifying for the first time ever after having a hell of a run along with his brother in numerous Giants Live competitions! Well deserved to both of them for sure!