We are just hours away now from the 2019 WSM Finals airing on UK TV. All 5 Heats have taken place. 10 men have qualified. But only ONE can become the WORLD’S STRONGEST MAN. So before we jump into the final, its time for my predictions!
A mixed lineup to say the least this year. We have veterans like 4 time winner Brian Shaw, 3 time 4th place finisher JF Caron and the reigning champion Hafthor Bjornsson, along with Licis, Janashia and Kieliszkowski who have all made it to the final for the last 3 or 4 years (Kieliszkowski even finishing in 2nd last year). Then to round things out we have 1st time finalists Luke and Tom Stoltman, Adam Bishop and Trey Mitchell III.
Obviously an absolute favourite for the title is the defending champion Thor. He spent almost 10 years being on the podium before finally winning last year, and despite a foot injury it will take a tremendous effort from everyone else to pry the title of WSM from his massive hands.
Brian Shaw, a 4 time champion looking to equal Mariusz Pudzianowski’s 5 wins, is always going to be a threat. That said, since winning his 4th title, he just hasn’t seemed quite the same, “only” managing 3rd place in the last 2 years, whereas he was used to at least being 2nd best to whoever ended up winning. Has time run out for Shaw to take home a 5th title, or will he be hungrier than ever this year to finally solidify his place in history? He only just beat Novikov in the Heat to qualify for the final without having to do the head to head, but was that simply due to Shaw holding back, saving his full strength for the finals? Only time will tell.
Kieliszkowski looks just as good as ever, having won the World Tour Finals a second year in a row and basically breezing through his heat despite strong competition from JF Caron. He even surprised everyone with his effort in the deadlift, which is usually his one weakness. He was runner up last year, and with an injured Thor going into the finals this year, we could see another Polish WSM to continue on where Mariusz Pudzianowski left off!
Those are the men who I predict will make the podium, but you still have Janashia and Licis who could just as easily take a podium position too. Like Kieliszkowski, they both showed up on the scene around 3-4 years ago and qualified for the WSM, and have both finished as high as 4th place in that time. With some more experience now, they are always going to be a threat to the “top 3”.
As for everyone else, I don’t really see any of them making the podium. Outside of Caron, they are all first time finalists, and while they certainly earned their places, they are still behind the other men overall imo. Caron could easily take yet another 5th place finish, continuing on as one of the most consistent strongmen of the last decade, but sadly I see the 3 British athletes and Trey Mitchell III filling out the bottom spots here. But you have to remember, that finishing “last” in the WSM Final still makes you the TENTH strongest man on the planet!
Right then. Time to make my official prediction. Just WHO is going to win the WSM title in 2019? Will it be Thor? Shaw? Kieliszkowski? Someone else? Hmmm. I think, based on what we’ve seen in the heats, and given that Thor has a foot injury, we will finally see Poland take home the title for the first time since 2008 with Mateusz Kieliszkowski!