Britain’s Strongest Man 2022
My favourite time of the year is upon us again; World’s Strongest Man! But before we get to the finals, we have to go through the Giant’s Live qualifiers, and first up is Britain’s Strongest Man!
Tom Stoltman – Scotland – 2021 Britain’s Strongest Man & World’s Strongest Man
Luke Stoltman – Scotland – 2021 Europe’s Strongest Man & World Tour Champion
Adam Bishop – England – 2020 Britain’s Strongest Man
Pa O’Dwyer – Ireland – 2x UK’s Strongest Man
Desmond Gahan – Wales
Mark Steele – England
Ryan England – England
Paul Smith – England – 2022 UK’s Strongest Man
Shane Flowers – England
Andy Black – Scotland
Mark Felix – England – Multiple runner up at Britain’s Strongest Man
Those are the competitors, and its definitely a stacked field. Both Stoltman brothers, Bishop and Mark Felix being the biggest names, with Paul Smith, Pa O’Dwyer and Andy Black as potential upsets for the podium.
Event 1 – Shield Carry
200kg Shield to be carried as far as possible. Simple! 45.80m is the lead to far after 3 men have been, with Paul Smith in current 1st. We join the action with Flowers and Felix going head to head. Flowers barely makes it over 20m before he drops it, while Felix makes 32m. Andy Black against O’Dwyer now and both of these men are expected to go well. Andy goes down at 35m while O’Dwyer continues on and sets a new world record of 62.15m! First event and we already see a record broken, and the former record holder is still to come! In fact he’s up next, as Mark Steele will try to get back his record and beat Luke Stoltman, but some bad luck sees Steele fall over early and hopefully he’s not injured. Stoltman is currently 2nd with 50.25m. Finally we have the 2020 champion, Adam Bishop, and the 2021 champion Tom Stoltman going head to head. Tom, to no real surprise, breaks the record that was just set to win the event. 65.30m for him, while Bishop only manages 40m which will be a disappointment for him.
Event 2 – Deadlift
60 seconds to deadlift 360kg as many times as possible. I reckon 6 or 7 reps will be a winning number at this weight. Bishop no doubt the favourite going into the event, but you can never count out the Stoltman’s. 4 men have gone, with 3 of them (Flowers, Black and Felix) all on 4 reps. Now we go to the favourite in Adam Bishop against Desmond Gahan. 5 reps in 20 seconds for Bish who can take a rest before maybe going for another couple just in case. Gahan was only able to get 1 rep. 6 in total for Bishop in the end, and that will be hard to beat. Paul Smith and Luke Stoltman are up next. They’ll need to aim for at least 5 to move ahead of the 3 men sharing points with 4 reps, but I’m not sure if they’ll manage it. In fact they do worse than expected with only 2 reps each, and Luke looks in a bit of pain but it seems it might just be cramp. O’Dwyer and Tom are out last and they know what they need to do. Tom looks incredible here, getting 6 reps in 30 seconds before taking a break. O’Dwyer manages 4 reps which is a great performance for him. Tom and Adam share 1st place! We do get some bad news though as Luke Stoltman is injured and withdrawing from the competition, and Desmond Gahan is also withdrawing though they never specified why.
Event 3 – Axle Press
155kg Axle to be pressed over head as many times as possible in the 75 second time limit. The field has opened up for this event with Luke Stoltman being out of the competition, as he is one of the best pressers in the world and was no doubt the odds on favourite to win this event. Without him, it’ll probably be down to his brother to win it. 5 men have been and gone, with poor Felix and Black managing 0 reps, then Steele, England and Smith all tired with 4 reps. Shane Flowers and Pa O’Dwyer are the first men we get to see take on the event. I legit have no idea how well these two men will do on this particular event, but my money would be on O’Dwyer being the better of the two just based on his experience and years in the sport. My prediction is proving correct so far with O’Dwyer getting 4 reps while Flowers is still on 2. That’s the best they’ll manage today as we have another man on 4 reps. Tom and Bish are the final 2 men, and I think Tom will reach 5 while Adam might struggle to get to the 4 reps. He’s more of a deadlift guy than a presser, while Tom is great at both. Tom manages 4 with seeming ease, then throws up a 5th to ensure victory. Bishop puts on a great show and makes the 4th rep. Well done!
3 events down, only 2 to go. Tom has placed 1st in all 3 so far and is looking very likely to defend his title. Lets take a look at the overall points for now to see who is currently looking at a podium finish with him:
Tom is obviously moving ahead of everyone else, with O’Dwyer and Bishop battling for that 2nd position. They need to be careful of Paul Smith though, who has every chance to overtake one of them and land a podium finish for himself.
Event 4 – Sandbag Toss
We’ve seen kegs, kettlebells, gold bars and more for this type of event, but today its bags filled with sand ranging from 18kg to 28kg. They have to be thrown over the 4.6m bar as quickly as possible within 60 seconds. This is another excellent event for Tom Stoltman, so if he manages to not make a mistake I’ll reckon he’s taking another 1st place. Beyond that, this type of event is very difficult to predict as odds on favourites can hit the wall just as randomly as anyone else. Andy Black is currently leading the event with all 6 in a time of 49.17 seconds, with Felix, Steele, Smith and England all on 4, with Smith doing it in the fastest time. We join in on the action with Pa taking on the event, and he makes it look easy until the final bag doesn’t want to go over. He still has over 20 seconds to try and get it over and beat Black’s time, but he’s hit the wall and doesn’t bother wasting more energy. Shane Flowers gets his turn next, and he obliterates Black’s time by doing all 6 in 18.38 seconds! That’ll give Tom Stoltman a big target to aim for! Bishop is up next though, and he makes a HUGE mistake on the first bag, and because of that the best he can hope for atm is 2nd place. Sadly the 6th bag roves too much, leaving him in 4th place, likely to move own to 5th once Tom has his turn. A bad event for him. Lastly of course is our current champion. He manages it with ease, but takes his time and only finishes in 22.40 seconds. Maybe he just didn’t want to go all out and waste too much energy going into the final event? Who knows. Still, big congrats to Shane Flowers on winning the event and making it look easy!
One event to go, so lets check up on the points to see who is placed where after that last event:
Tom Stoltman might as well be crowned the champion now, as he’s all but guaranteed the win. Sadly, it seems Paul Smith will miss out on a podium finish, so it all comes down to Bishop and O’Dwyer for 2nd and 3rd place, but the question is, which position will they finish in?
Event 5 – Castle Stones
5 huge stones ranging from 120kg to 200kg must be lifted and placed on platforms in the fastest time possible. Tom is the king of this event, holding the world record, and I don’t see him losing at all here. With the 2 other podium places the only ones in contention, my money is on Bishop beating O’Dwyer here, and moving ahead of him for 2nd place. 3 men have been and gone; Felix, Steele and England. All of them lifted 4 stones, with Felix doing it in the fastest time. Now we see Andy Black against Shane Flowers. Both men are going well, basically tied after 4, but its Flowers who comes out on top getting the 5th stone up a little faster than Andy! Next up, its Paul Smith and Adam Bishop. Smith struggles with the first couple due to his lack of height, but does manage all 5. Bishop gets 5 up in just over 30 seconds, but that’s only good enough for third place. That gives Pa a good chance of maintaining 2nd place. He and Tom are up last, and Tom will probably do this in around 20 seconds. And he does it in around 21 seconds, while Pa gets all 4 up in I THINK a faster time than Bish to keep that all important 2nd podium place!
And that confirms it; Tom Stoltman is Britain’s Strongest Man for 2022. Pa O’Dwyer with the performance of a lifetime taking 2nd place ahead of former Britain’s Strongest Man Adam Bishop. I’ve seen Pa compete for a number of years now, and while he’s always been great in the UK’s Strongest Man competition, he’s always fallen short at Britain’s. With this great result, I wonder how he’ll do at the World’s Strongest Man!