And here we are. The 2022 World’s Strongest Man Final! 30 athletes competed in 5 Heats, and now only the 10 best are here to compete for the WSM title!
Tom Stoltman – Scotland – World’s Strongest Man 2021
Gabriel Rheaume – Canada – Canada’s Strongest Man 2021
Mitchell Hooper – Canada – World Tour Champion 2022
Brian Shaw – USA – 4x World’s Strongest Man (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016)
Oleksii Novikov – Ukraine – World’s Strongest Man 2020
Trey Mitchell III – USA – Shaw Classic Champion 2021
Martins Licis – USA – World’s Strongest Man 2019
Maxime Boudreault – Canada – 3rd at WSM 2021
Luke Stoltman – Scotland – Europe’s Strongest Man 2021
Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted – Iceland – 10th at World’s Strongest Man 2021
Event 1 – Knack Giant’s Medley
2 125kg toolboxes to be carried down the course and loaded onto a platform, and then a 455kg Super Yoke to be carried down the rest of the course. First up, its Shaw against Rheaume. Can Shaw get off to a good start to make up for his somewhat disappointing performance in the heats? Shaw gets the head to head win in a time of 39.78 seconds, but I would expect that time to be beaten by a few guys. First to try are Trey Mitchell and Melsted. Melsted is just a little quicker on the toolboxes, but Mitchell is able to pick up the Super Yoke much quicker and he is the head to head winner. His time is 32.54 seconds, so Shaw still in first atm. Now its time for Luke Stoltman against Maxime Boudreault. Luke is very fast but drops the Super Yoke towards the end, however he is still able to power it across and even beats Shaw’s time! 34.11 for Boudreault, but Stoltman did it in 28.72 seconds. He would have been even faster had he not dropped it! Now for the defending champion Tom Stoltman as he goes head to head with Mitchell Hooper. Mitchell is the faster at the start here, but the pure POWER of Tom lets him catch up on the second toolbox. Tom as a stumble on the Super Yoke and “only” manages 24.75 seconds, but its Hooper in 21.96 who might run away with the event win with that time! Finally then, its the 2019 champ Martins Licis against the 2020 champion Oleksii Novikov! Novikov gets off to the faster start, but as we’ve seen, it comes down to the Yoke. Novikov continues to stay ahead, finishing in a great time that MIGHT have beaten Hooper. Licis did it in 30.60 seconds, while Novikov did it in 24.84 seconds. Not as fast as I thought, but still good!
Event 2 – Car Deadlift
360kg car to be deadlifted as many times in 60 seconds! With so many good deadlifters, I think we might end up with multiple people tying on the same numbers rather than any outright winner. Melsted was first and got 8 reps, followed by Boudreault who got 10. Rheaume also got 8. Trey Mitchell though beat them all with 13 reps. Brian Shaw got 12 reps, which HE will be disappointed with, but is still a great number. Martins Licis also got 12. We join the action with Luke Stoltman taking his turn. Not sure he can get into the double figures but we’ll see. 8 reps in around 30 seconds, then he needs to take a break. He is then able to get out a 9th rep and no more. He’ll have to make up the points in the overhead event coming up. Next up, its Novikov, and he’ll give it everything he has to try and get to that 13th rep. He is going insanely fast, I guess hoping to lift as many as possible before tiring out. He gets 11 in under 30 seconds, and he looks good for more! His nose is bleeding due to the pressure, and he makes it to 15! That will be tough to beat! Here comes the champ to try and beat it though. He doesn’t have the speed of Novikov but he’s going well, getting to 13 with 15 seconds left. One more to get 2nd, but he runs out of time. Finally its Hooper. He knows what he has to beat, but can he do it? 9 reps in 30 seconds but now he has slowed down a ton. 12 reps with less than 10 seconds and he’s had enough. That means Novikov does indeed win outright, and Tom takes another 2nd place. Consistency is often the major factor in these competitions, so let’s hope he can keep it up!
Event 3 – Flintstone Barbell
This event hasn’t been seen since the 90’s, where Gary Taylor (WSM 1993 from Wales) took the event win and set a world record of 210kg that still stands, mostly because the event hasn’t taken place again. What’s different about this event from other overhead lifts, is that the weights are mostly 2 large rocks, and the athletes need to squat under the barbell and press it overhead from behind them. We join the event after 4 rounds. Melsted, Rheaume and in something of a surprise, Hooper, are out of the event with Hooper on 200kg and the other 2 athletes only managing 190kg. This could be a crucial event for Hooper now, as it might have cost him any chance of winning or even finishing on the podium. Time for round 5 then as the weight increases to 226kg. Luke Stoltman shockingly doesn’t make it, and neither does Maxime Boudreault. Shaw also fails this weight. Martins Licis though, he if the first to lift it and go to the next round. Mitchell fails. Tom Stoltman and Novikov both succeed! So that’s 3 men left, with the weight at 235kg now. First up is Licis, and yes, he gets it! A great lift for the former WSM! Now for the current WSM. A little confusing as he did get the down signal, but nobody is entirely sure until Magnus confirms it. Magnus is one of the strictest referees so if HE says it was a good lift, it was a good lift! Novikov is last and he too is able to lift it. Apparently he has done 240kg in training, which has clearly paid off here. And now the weight has gone up to 240kg, with Licis out first again. Its too much for him though. Stoltman next, and he makes it look EASY. Novikov looked the most comfortable on the last weight, and he’s done this in training, so you’d expect him to get it here too. And you know what? He does! Some incredible lifting here! 246kg is the next weight, but Stoltman decides to stop here without lifting, so its all down to Novikov. I’d say he’s good for this weight for sure. And the event winner is indeed Novikov as he gets it up with ease again! Event win and a world record!
We are halfway thought the Final now, so let’s see what the points look like:
2 event wins for Novikov places him in current 1st, but Tom is only 1 and a half points behind after 3 second place finishes. Licis and Hooper round out the top 4 so far, which is exactly as I predicted. Still, Mitchell, Shaw and Stoltman are all pretty close to taking either place from them.
Event 4 – Bus Pull
A massive bus just under 19 tonnes to be pulled down a 30 metre course in the quickest time! This event SHOULD suit the likes of Tom and Brian more than everyone else, but we’ve seen plenty of much smaller men do incredible well in this type of event in the past. Melsted was first, finishing in 51.32 seconds. Then Rheaume in 53.22. Mitchell Hooper finished in 49.24, but was beaten out by Luke in 47 seconds. Bourdreault came close to Stoltman, finishing in 47.20 seconds. We join the action now with Brian Shaw, who has won a bunch of vehicle pulls in his time. He manages it in 44.69 seconds to take the current lead! Trey Mitchell takes his turn next. He doesn’t LOOK at fast as Brian, but came really close, finishing in a time of 45.72 seconds! Now its Licis’ turn, and he is great at this. 42.18 seconds is his time! Tom is out next, and this should be a good event for him, but he gets off to a bad start. That being said, he picks up speed and is able to finish in 44.50 seconds to take current second place with one man left! That one man left is Novikov, and we know how good he is at everything. His technique is perfect, making up for the fact he’s the lightest man in the final. Another event win for the Ukrainian!!! 41.51 seconds!!!
Event 5 – Power Stairs
3 226kg weights to be carried up 3 steps each in the fasted time possible. Another even that should suit the taller man, but Novikov throws all of that out of the window anyway. Tom needs to try and come a couple of places ahead of the man from Ukraine here if he has any chance of retaining his title. First up was Rheaume, who only managed 5 steps in total. Melsted did one better with 6. Hooper went one better again with 7 in a quicker time than either man before him did theirs. Boudreault, the man who finished 3rd last year, gets all 9. Luke Stoltman got 7, while Mitchell can only manage 6. This is turning out to be a brutal event! We join the action with Tom Stoltman taking his turn. He NEEDS to try and finish 1st in this event. He’s facing Shaw, who has been great at this type of event in the past. And now we see the event taking place, I see they also have to duck walk the weights down a short course before they get to the steps. No wonder everyone is having a hard time! Tom meanwhile is doing great, but finishes just behind Boudreault. Shaw simply doesn’t look like the Shaw of old, getting 8 steps when he runs out of time. Licis against Novikov finish up this event, and Stoltman will be hoping Novikov is slow. A big mistake on the first weight for Novikov and that might be the lifeline Stoltman needs. Licis is making light work of this, but his time is behind both Boudreault and Stoltman. Novikov seems to have lost so much energy on the bus pull, and only manages 6 steps. That could be the moment he loses the WSM.
We have just 1 event left to decide the 2022 World’s Strongest Man. How will that previous event have effected the points?
After 3 events, Novikov was 1 and a half points ahead of Tom. Now after 5 events its the other way around! Licis looks to be in firm control of 3rd place, while Shaw, Hooper, Mitchell, Boudreault and Luke Stoltman all have a shot at the 4th place! The final event is going to be crazy!
Event 6 – Atlas Stones
It all comes down to this. 5 huge stones that need to be placed on platforms in the fastest time. This is Tom Stoltman’s favourite event, and it might just be the event that wins him the title. First up was Melsted and Rheaume, with Melsted getting 4 stones up, and Rheaume managing the same in a faster time. Luke only managed 4 stones, but it was Boudreault who managed all 5. 4 for Hooper, and that will likely mess up my prediction of him taking a top 4 place. Trey Mitchell gets all 5 up in a good time, but still behind Boudreault. We join the action with Licis against Shaw. Shaw used to be the best stone lifter on the planet, while Licis is fantastic and has beaten the best of the best including Tom in the last few years, but on this day its Shaw that takes the win in their head to head! Licis struggled on the 5th but gets it up. That might give Shaw a shot at 3rd overall! And now its time. Stoltman Vs Novikov. The whistle blows and Tom is going crazy, making Novikov look BAD at this event! 5 stones in the fasted time, and that will ensure that Tom Stoltman is STILL the WORLD’S STRONGEST MAN!!! Novikov runs out of time and only manages 4.
In the end, Tom Stoltman manages to win with 10.5 points between him and the two men tied on 43 points! Licis takes second place over Novikov which… I don’t get as Novikov had 3 first places while Licis never won an event, so not sure how they decided that. Brian Shaw finishes 4th which I honestly never saw coming. He didn’t perform on the level he did last year, but he was able to pull out a couple of great performances to ensure he didn’t fall further down the leaderboard. Hooper started well but sadly finishes in 8th. However, 8th IN THE WORLD, especially on your first time out, is an amazing achievement. I can see him taking the title to Canada for the first time ever in the next couple of years!