5 more men battle it out for the next 2 qualifying places! They are:
- Tom Stoltman – Great Britain
- Trey Mitchell III – USA
- Oleksii Novikov – Ukraine
- Gavin Bilton – Great Britain
- Maxime Boudreault – Canada
3 names stand out immediately, with Tom and Trey being finalists last year, and Novikov who was beaten by Mitchell on the stones, but imo looked the much, much better athlete overall. Bilton is a BIG man, but needs more experience I think, while Boudreault is mostly an unknown for me.
Heat 1 – Farmer’s Walk
Those 150kg implements are back to start things off again, with 60 seconds to carry them as far as possible. Novikov MIGHT be my favourite for this event. First up though is the Canadian, Boudreault. He is the 2nd strongest man in Canada behind JF Caron who has dominated the Canadian strength scene for a long time, so its no knock on him to be second best. He’s looking good here, managing 46.34m which isn’t far off the best we’ve seen in all heats so far. Now its Tom Stoltman’s turn, and he’ll be expecting to do well no doubt, however I’m not sure how well his grip will hold out over time. A BAD pickup on the first length of the course, and again on the second, but he’s keeping going. 42.78m for him. Technique seems to have let him down here. Time for Novikov. He’s FAST and gets good pickups which is what you need in this event. And the speed he’s going at he MIGHT get to do another length over the best we’ve seen, but a couple of breaks on the last couple means he doesn’t have quite enough time to make it all the way down again. 57.54m is the best we’ve seen across all 3 heats so far and I’m not sure anyone can beat it, in this heat or the next 2! Gavin Bilton will certainly give it a try though. He is going far too slow though, and drops the implements before the line, only getting 31.50m. Lastly we have Trey Mitchell III who is out to make the final a second time, but wow, he drops them at just 10.11m. A terrible event for him.
Event 2 – Squat Lift
317.5kg to be squatted as many times with NO TIME LIMIT. Trey Mitchell III is up first. He’s doing well, making up for the first event. 7 reps so far and looking comfortable. 11 reps is where he stops, and that might be hard to beat. Bilton out next, but when trying his first rep he collapses to the ground and looks hurt. Not good. Tom Stoltman now. 8 is all he manages, which is still a big number, but might not be good enough to keep 2nd place. Boudreault gets his turn now, and he doesn’t look comfortable on the first rep, but he keeps pushing all the way to 7, which is about 5 more than I was expecting him to get as every rep looked so hard! Great performance! Lastly we have Novikov who knows exactly what he has to beat. He almost loses it on the 6th rep but powers is back up and reaches 10 reps for second place.
Event 3 – Monster Loading Medley
115kg Engine Block, 140kg Rear Differential, 100kg Tyre Rim x2, and a Wheel Hub at 115kg. They must be picked up and moved down an 8m course and loaded onto a platform as fast as possible within 90 seconds! Tom Stoltman will look to win this event, as he won the loading event in the final last year against the best in the world. Bilton went first, having somewhat recovered enough from his Squat Lift injury to finish in a time of 1:09:17, but only 4 implements. A time like that sadly isn’t going to do well for him, but big props to him for continuing on. Stoltman against Boudreault now and Stoltman is wasting no time. 39.11 seconds for him, while the Canadian gets 42.57 seconds. Both times will be hard to beat, especially Stoltman’s. Mitchell against Novikov time. Novikov is off to the fast start, but still not good enough to beat Stoltman or even Boudreault. Mitchell much slower but beats Bilton.
Going into the 4th event, where the overall leader afterwards will automatically qualify, we should check the points to see who has the advantage going into it:
Very tight at the top, with just 2 points separating the top 3 men. Any of them could make it to the final after the 4th event, but considering I *think* the next event is the dumbbells once again, my money would be on Novikov taking 1st. Mitchell will need to work hard to get himself back into a top 3 position in order to go into the Atlas Stone showdown. Bilton unfortunately has no chance of making it to the final, but it is his first time here and the experience will be crucial to him moving forward with his strongman career.
Event 4 – Dumbbell Medley
75 seconds, and the athletes have to press multiple sets of dumbbells over their head as quickly as possible, ranging from 50kg (in each hand) to 66kg, and then one final 100kg monster dumbbell! Bilton went first and did 3 pairs in 23.66 seconds. We join the action with Mitchell taking on Boudreault. Mitchell needs to beat Boudreault at the very least in this event. They both look good on the first 3 pairs, then they struggle to lift the 4th pair to their shoulders to even begin to press them out. They both run out of time and are unable to do it. Boudreault is the quicker of the two, doing it in 18.78 seconds, which is not the result Mitchell was wanting here. He JUST missed out with a time of 19.03 seconds. Stoltman and Novikov are going head to head now, with the winner potentially being the overall leader. Stoltman is surprisingly the faster of the two men, as both get all 4 pairs and move on to the single 100kg dumbbell which is where he easily beats Stoltman. Novikov knows he has won at this point, getting 8 reps in total (4 with the single dumbbell), while Stoltman gives up after not making a rep with the 100kg weight, as he knows he’s in second place and into the stone off.
Confirmation then that Novikov is indeed into the final after just missing out last year, while Trey Mitchell unfortunately is unable to qualify now. Tom Stoltman, the man with the WORLD RECORD in the stones, will face off against Maxime Boudreault!
Event 5- Atlas Stones
So it all comes down to these 8 Atlas Stones, and the fastest time to load them! Smart money is on Tom Stoltman, but anything could happen as we’ve seen in the past. Boudreault takes his turn first and he knows he MUST do as many stones as possible. I think 6 is the most lifted so far, but that likely won’t be enough to beat Stoltman. 7 up so far and he is looking FANTASTIC, then misses his first attempt on the 8th stone and is unable to get it up again. Against anyone else he would have practically guaranteed his place in the final. Stoltman now has to live up to expectations, or his place in the final goes to the Canadian. Well, as good as Boudreault looked, Stoltman is looking better. 7 stones in UNDER 30 SECONDS, which gets him the win, but he lifts that 8th stone up anyway to show off. INCREDIBLE. There is a reason he has a world record in the Atlas Stones and is the NEW King of the Stones!
There have it then! Stoltman and Novikov go through to the final, and both men look in top form. Boudreault is one to look out for next year for sure, while Mitchell will be desperate to make up for losing out this year.