4 places are occupied now for the WSM Finals, and another 2 will be filled tonight!
- JF Caron – 3rd place WSM 2020
- Luke Richardson – 2020 Europe’s Strongest Man & 9th place WSM 2020
- Robert Oberst – 8th place WSM 2018
- Mikhail Shivlyakov – 9th place WSM 2015
- Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted – 2nd WSM Appearance
Another stacked heat, with 4 of the 5 men having made the finals before, and of course JF Caron took the bronze last year. He’ll be the favourite to make it into the final, then after that… probably between Richardson and Oberst. Richardson is new and young but already very impressive having won Europe’s Strongest Man last year and made it to the final, while Oberst has been to the final twice before and is very powerful, but definitely has some bad events that have cost him in the past. Shivlyakov has been around for years now but hasn’t made the final since 2015. Melsted is still very new and in this kind of company I don’t see him going through. Gonna go out on a limb and say Caron and Richardson!
Event 1 – Loading Medley
Shivlyakov has great fitness and should do well, but Caron has been very good in past years and Richardson SHOULD have a fitness advantage due to youth. Oberst and Melsted are up first, and poor Melsted smashes the barrel into the platform and loses valuable seconds, though he manages to be neck and next with Oberst going into the frame carry. The huge hands of Oberst should help with his grip, but like so many in previous heats he is unable to finish while Melsted can’t get it off the start line. Despite not finishing that could still be a good result for Oberst based on what we’ve seen everyone else do in the other heats. Shivlyakov against Richardson now. I’m expecting both to be fast on the loading, so it’ll come down to the frame. Shivlyakov has a grip issue with the first barrel and now he’s way behind. Richardson having no issues until the final barrel and oh no, it looks like he might have torn his left biceps. Yep. That means he’s out of the competition now. Heartbreaking. Shivlyakov keeps on going and starts the frame carry but doesn’t get very far. Just Caron to go, and we don’t even get to see him, just some clips. He seems to be just behind Oberst on the frame.
Event 2 – Squat Lift
Iythor goes first and makes 7 reps and a burst blood vessel in his eye. Ouch! Now we join the action with Shivlyakov who is shaking like crazy from the start, but seems to be handling things just fine, getting to 7 easy enough and going beyond that. 10 reps before the bar rolls off his back. Great stuff! Now to see what Caron is capable of. I’d expect a good result from him, and 11 reps seems to be as many as he WANTS to do. With Oberst still to go, it might be a gamble, but I don’t think Oberst is particularly good at this type of event. We shall see! He takes a long time getting his stance right, but it doesn’t help as he can’t manage a single rep.
Event 3 – Train Push
Oberst might have done poorly in the Squat, but he absolutely has what it takes to make up the points here. However I feel just about everyone can do well, so it’ll all come down to the fastest time of course! Oberst went first and finished in 37.53 seconds. Good time, but might get beaten. Melsted is up next and builds up some good speed, beating Oberst by 0.53 seconds! Very, very close! Time to find out what Shivlyakov is capable of. His start is different to everyone else, but he speeds up towards the end, only to trip and lose a ton of seconds. 44.12 is his time, and he’ll be disappointed for sure. Caron is last, and he knows what to beat. He’s perfect build for moving heavy objects, so he might just get the win. He looks very good, but its only good enough for 3rd!
Half way through the heat, so lets see where the scores are atm!
Caron currently on top as expected, while the rest of the field is completely open! With Richardson out, it has opened everything up as there is one less person to get in-between people and split points.
Event 4 – Overhead Medley
This is an event Oberst has been waiting for, and might just be what takes him to the finals. Caron and Shivlyakov are up first. Neck and neck for the first 3 objects, but its Caron who gets the win, with Shivlyakov managing the 4th after a real struggle. Now for Melsted and Oberst, and Oberst is a beast at overhead pressing, so it’ll come down to time. No idea what Melsted is capable of, but I’d be surprised if he beat Oberst or Caron. Well, Oberst has a hard time with the second dumbbell, and gets beaten by EVERYONE. An event I thought would help propel him into the finals may end up being the event to COST HIM a place. That win for Caron also guarantees his place in the final as long as he partakes in the next event and gets a single point!
Event 5 – Pickaxe Hold
Melsted and Oberst face off once again, and I can’t call it. Very good from both of them so far going into 40 seconds! Melsted drops first, while Oberst keeps on going and finishes just under 50 seconds! That might be the chance he needs to get into the stone off and into the finals. Now for Caron and Shivlyakov. Caron can hold it and put it right back down again to save energy and get to the final. Shivlyakov will need to do at least better than Melsted to make sure he’s in the stone off. Caron for some reason is actually TRYING, while poor Shivlyakov ends up in last place.
Well, time to see how that affected the overall points, and confirm who is in the stone off.
So very close between the 3 men, but its Shivlyakov who ends up being eliminated here. Oberst made up for his poor press and squat events to get here, while Melsted has definitely surprised me and could indeed make the finals!
Event 6 – Stone Off
Oberst is first and he didn’t look that confident with his lift, but his second stone pass is much better. Both men are doing well after 3 stones, but you can tell they are both exhausted from the previous events plus the heat has to be insane too. The 5th stone looks very heavy (and it is), but both men manage it. Will the 210KG stone prove to be too much though? Oberst is running out of time, and he fails to get into the final. Meanwhile, the man I didn’t think had a chance, has made it!
JF Caron goes into his 9th final, and he is looking very good. I’m expecting another podium finish from him. Melsted was a complete surprise for me, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish in the finals!