10 men have qualified, and now they will compete for the title of WORLD’S STRONGEST MAN 2020. The athletes are:
- Jerry Pritchett – USA
- Luke Richardson – Great Britain
- Kevin Faires – USA
- Adam Bishop – Great Britain
- Oleksii Novikov – Ukraine
- Tom Stoltman – Great Britain
- JF Caron – Canada
- Graham Hicks – Great Britain
- Brian Shaw – USA
- Aivars Smaukstelis – Latvia
I’ve made my predictions here, so there isn’t anything else to say beyond LET’S GO!
Event 1 – Giant’s Medley
A 125kg Anvil and a 454kg Yoke to be carried halfway down the course, then the Yoke carried the rest of the way! Fastest time/greatest distance wins! Smaukstelis against Bishop up first, and they are neck and neck going to the Yoke, but Bishop flies down the course as Smaukstelis is struggling. 22.55 seconds for Bishop, with Smaukstelis a much slower time of 34.97 seconds. Graham Hicks against Jerry Pitchett now, and this will be interesting to see. Pritchett is the faster of the two, but cannot beat Bishop’s time. Hicks drops the Yoke and looks to be injured. Hope not! 24.71 seconds for Jerry Pitchett, and only 16.19m for Hicks. Luke Richardson has a go, managing 36.70 seconds, with Faires getting 26.22 seconds. Time to rejoin the action with JF Caron facing off against Tom Stoltman, the men who came 4th and 5th last year! The Anvil isn’t heavy for these two, but a mistake from Stoltman as he drops it, losing a few seconds, BUT somehow manages to catch up and beat Caron! If he didn’t drop the Anvil he would have run away with this event. 26.92 second for Caron, with Stoltman just edging him out at a time of 26.61 seconds. Now its the turn of Novikov and Shaw, two of the favourites. Novikov runs away with the Anvil, but struggles a little with the Yoke, still managing to beat Shaw and I think he might have got second place still too. 27.03 for Shaw, and 23.79 for Novikov.
Event 2 – Max Deadlift
Graham Hicks has unfortunately torn his biceps, and that is the end of his WSM competition this year. This deadlift is a different set up to normal, with the bar being much higher off the ground, meaning we can see weights around the 500kg+ mark, something we’d only see from the likes of Eddie Hall and Thor. Opening weight is 379kg, and the world record, set by Tom Magee in 1983 (oh hey check out his wrestling match with Bret Hart that was uncovered a year or so ago!) is 535kg. Given how much stronger the athletes are in general all this time later, I can see that world record shattered here today. After 3 rounds of this, we have Smaukstelis and Richardson who only managed the opening weight, then Kevin Faires who went one better at 438kg, but no more. Everyone else managed 478.5kg, so time for the 4th round with a new weight of 509kg! Brian Shaw goes first and… doesn’t make it? Big surprise there. Now for Caron, who is an excellent deadlifter. No problem for the Canadian! Tom Stoltman takes his turn, and I can see him failing at this weight tbh. Will be nice if he surprises me though! Sadly, no surprises here. Pritchett is out next and he should get this up easy if his past deadlifting is anything to go by. Yes! Easy. Novikov now, my pick to win the entire competition. He’ll need a good deadlift to truly be WSM! Like Caron and Pritchett before him, it looked easy! Bishop is last, and while he’s good at reps, not sure what his max is. He gets the massive 509kg up, but I don’t know if he can manage an extra lift now. 4 men left to go up in weight, and its a WORLD RECORD weight of 537.5kg! Anyone who lifts this goes down in history! JF Caron is the first man to attempt this world record weight, and he could very well do it. Nope. Simply couldn’t budge it. Pritchett might be the only man left who can do it, and he’s out next. He gets it off the ground, but not past the knees. Very good attempt though. Novikov looked good at the previous weight, but will this prove to be too much? Yes! Wow! That still looked easy! If Bishop can match it, we might see just how much further he can go! Britain’s Strongest Man steps up, but the weight is too much for him as well. Great deadlifting contest!
Event 3 – Keg Toss
The Keg Toss returned at Europe’s Strongest Man, and its here at World’s too! 8 kegs, ranging from 18kg to 25kg, to be thrown over a 15ft bar in 60 seconds! Richardson went first, getting all 8 in 27.82 seconds. Smaukstelis got all 8 as well, in 24.88 seconds. Shaw, looking to score big after 2 disappointing events so far, got all 8 over in a blistering 21.75 seconds. Will take something extraordinary to beat Shaw in this type of event. Only the likes of Thor and Big Z have been capable of it in the past. Faires went after him, only managing 6 kegs in a time of 19.04. Time to join the action with Tom Stoltman. He’s perfectly built for this, but it all depends on the technique. He seems to have the technique down, and wow, he BEATS SHAW!!! 20.05 seconds! Now for Caron, who isn’t the best at this, but he’s off to a great start! 20.31 seconds, just misses out on first, but he too BEATS SHAW! Incredible! Pritchett’s time to take on the kegs, can he also beat Shaw? No. He doesn’t have the technique down, despite clearly having the power to get these over. 7 kegs for him in a time of 39.94 seconds. Bishop gets his go now, and I don’t really see him taking 1st or even beating Shaw. He is SO CLOSE to Shaw’s time though, but that 8th keg just won’t go over. 39.90 seconds for him as the 8th does finally get over the bar. That’ll be disappointing for him. Lastly is the current overall leader Novikov. He’s not the biggest man, but as we saw in the deadlift, he might be the STRONGEST. He also has a ton of speed behind him, so again, if his technique is good he might have a chance. He is getting them over with ease, but I feel his time is too slow. 8 in 26.96, and I think he could have done better had he not gone for the sideways throw with the kegs.
We are at the half way point now, and Novikov is looking good at the top of the table. Caron and Bishop currently tied for second, with Stoltman not far behind. Brian Shaw down in 6th is where he finished last year, his lowest placement ever in the Finals, so expect him to really go all out in the last 3 events to improve that position.
Event 4 – Hercules Hold
320kg to be held in place for the longest possible time! Mark Felix, the absolute KING of this event, unfortunately didn’t qualify, so it’ll be interesting to see if anyone can break his record (which he himself keeps breaking every time he does the event!). This is also kind of the perfect event to start off the second day of competition, as with the exception of Mark Felix, it is almost impossible to judge how well anyone is going to do. This can completely change the leaderboard. Faires went first, lasting an impressive 49.22 seconds. Then Pritchett, with 42.99 seconds. Bishop took his turn, only managing 28.40 seconds. 35.12 seconds for Richardson. Novikov, the current leader, with 41.73, in current third place. Smaukstelis only lasted 28.17 seconds for current last. Now we join the action once again with Brian Shaw. He had some nerve damage in his left hand and arm a few years ago and his grip has never fully recovered, so this isn’t an event he’ll enjoy, but he NEEDS the points. 34.79 seconds is a great time for him all things considering, but not what he would have wanted. JF Caron now, he might be the “Mark Felix” of the final with his legendary grip. 30 seconds in and he’s SMILING. Who does he think he is? Mick Foley after being thrown off and through the HIAC? 52.67 seconds for Caron to place him in current 1st! Can big Tom Stoltman hold out for longer than that? I wouldn’t count on it, but again, this event is rarely something you can predict. Horrible event for him, with only 21.23 seconds. And some FACTS to add to the fun: this is the first time JF Caron has won an event in the finals, despite this being his 8th!
Event 5 – Log Ladder
5 massive logs, starting at 132kg all the way up to 182.5kg, need to be lifted overhead and locked out in 75 seconds! While most of the guys here could lift the 182.5kg log, the test here is if they can do it AFTER lifting 4 massive logs before it! Brian Shaw can make up some points here, and I’d guess Pritchett will do well too. Novikov should get another high place too. First up, Tom Stoltman, as he takes this challenge alone due to Hicks being injured. First couple go up easily, but I think he’ll struggle with the 4th. So much for that, as he throws it up like it was nothing! It all comes down to the 5th log, and its up in a time of 49.45 seconds! I did NOT expect that! Smaukstelis goes up against Bishop, and if I had to guess, I’d say Smaukstelis takes the win here. Bishop is the faster of the two with pressing, but he doesn’t lock out the 3rd log the first time, allowing Smaukstelis to overtake him. The Latvian is onto the final log while Bishop struggles with the 4th, and it doesn’t look like he is going to get it up. Smaukstelis fails on the 5th. 41.24 for 4 by Smaukstelis, and 3 in 37.02 for Bishop. Shows just how impressive Stoltman’s run was! Now its the turn of Brian Shaw and Luke Richardson. Shaw SHOULD run away with this event, but then again, he should have been better in the deadlift, and should have won the keg toss. At 38 years old, is he finally started to slow down? Shaw is going slow and steady, while Richardson just barely makes the third lift. He does catch up to Shaw though who is struggling with this 4th, and seems to be holding his hand. Richardson somehow powers up that 4th and overtakes the former 4 time champion! 1:02:12 for Richardson and 4 lifts, while Shaw is down the table with only 3 lifts in a time of 27.91. That was a massive shock. Pritchett against Novikov now, and I’d be surprised if these two don’t get all 5 up. Novikov is making it look easy, while Pritchett is similar to how he is in deadlift, very slow, but very powerful. The 5th doesn’t get up for Novikov, while Pritchett does manage it, but in a slower time of Stoltman. Tom Stoltman still in 1st place in a pressing event with only 2 men to go! Faires and Caron are the final two, and while my brain tells me not to expect 5 from these two, based on everything else that has happened in this event so far, I’m just gonna have to turn my brain off and see what happens. Caron manhandles the first 2, but struggles on the third until he finally locks out after multiple attempts. The 4th is too much for him, while the 5th is too much for Faires. Stoltman wins another event in the final!
A BAD result for the Canadian, last place. He was in joint first with Novikov until this event. Novikov though with another high placing will help his cause for sure. Stoltman with that 2nd victory has to move him up as well. With one event left, lets see who places where:
My pick to win, Novikov, is looking very good going into the final with a 4 point cushion. Pritchett is outstanding as well, and should make the podium if he keeps this up. Caron has dropped down to third, and given the fact Tom Stoltman is only half a point behind him with the Atlas Stones to go, a podium finish might be out of the question for him.
Event 6 – Atlas Stones
And here we have the final event to determine the World’s Strongest Man 2020. Can Novikov hold off his challengers? Can Caron keep his podium place? Will Tom Stoltman, the current KING OF STONES snatch a podium position? All will be revealed on the next exciting episode of Dragon Ball Z! Or in the next few minutes right here! Luke Richardson has been and gone, with 3 stones in a time of 18.02. Brian Shaw went out and did 5 in 28.55 seconds, a good way for him to end his disappointing competition this year. Smaukstelis got 4 in 20.63. Faires got 4 in a slower time of 24.73. Bishop with 4 in 24.30. Now we rejoin the action with KING OF THE STONES Tom Stoltman, facing off against JF Caron. The winner of this battle is likely to make the podium over the other. Stoltman is wasting no time, getting all 5 in a super fast time of 19.89! Caron battles to the end, getting all 5 as well in 34.03 seconds. The main event is here though; Novikov Vs Pritchett. Novikov has that 4 point lead, but I’m unsure what exactly the minimum is that he needs. He’ll want all 5 anyway to make sure. Both men are going well but its Novikov who is the fastest. 4 in a fast time seems to be enough for him, but he’s going for the 5 anyway. He doesn’t get it, and neither does Jerry. Don’t think it matters for the overall winner, but what does it mean for Pritchett?
The NEW World’s Strongest Man is indeed Oleskii Novikov! Incredible competition from him, and he truly earned his position! Tom Stoltman grabs a well deserved 2nd place, with Caron FINALLY making the podium! Poor Jerry Pritchett just lost out on a top 3 place, but 4th in the world is still incredible!