Europe’s Strongest Man 2022
Yesterday we found out who was Britain’s Strongest Man for 2022, now to see who can win Europe’s Strongest Man!
Luke Stoltman – Scotland – Europe’s Strongest Man 2021
Oleksii Novikov – Ukraine – World’s Strongest Man 2020
Gavin Bilton – Wales – UK’s Strongest Man 2020 & 2021
Eythor Melsted – Island
Kelvin De Ruiter – Netherlands
Shane Flowers – England
Pavlo Kordiyaka – Ukraine
Aivars Smaukstelis – Latvia
Marius Lalas – Lithuania
Rauno Heinla – Estonia
Konstantine Janashia – Georgia
Pa O’Dwyer – Ireland – 2nd at Britain’s Strongest Man 2022
Bobby Thompson – USA – Guest for first event
Iron Bibi – Burkina Faso – Guest for first event
A fantastic line up for Europe’s Strongest Man! Missing from the list is the reigning World’s Strongest Man, Tom Stoltman, but he decided to skip this competition and focus on winning World’s. We’ll have to wait and see if that paid off. Luke is defending his title here and had a good chance of retaining, with the likes of Novikov wanting so badly to win after failing to qualify for the WSM final last year despite being the defending champion, and of course with the invasion of his home by Russia, he’ll want to give it his all and win for Ukraine. Janashia is someone that you can never count out as well.
Event 1 – World Loglift Championship
Time to find out who is the best presser on the planet! The weight starts off relatively low (for Strongman), then keeps going up and up until nobody can lift any more! Luke Stoltman and Iron Biby are the best of the best, with Bibi holding the current world record of 229KG, dethroning Big Z after years of nobody coming close. Bobby Thompson is right up there with those two, as the American record holder as well. Honestly its a competition between those three and nobody else. Not even sure Novikov can compete with them, but he’ll likely be ahead of the rest. We get into round 3, with 200kg, and only the top 3 I mentioned are still to go, with everyone else failing to reach this weight. Thompson is up first, gets it, but it looks like a struggle. I’m not sure how much further he can go. Stoltman out next, and if he gets this he’ll be in 1st place going on with the rest of the competition as Bobby and Biby are just guest lifters. He makes 200kg look easy. Now for Biby, and 200kg is NOTHING for him. They up the weight to 218kg, and if Bobby Thompson can get this, he’ll break his own American record. Sadly he seems to have hurt himself on the attempt. Luke, despite the fact he doesn’t need this for the rest of the competition, still comes out for the lift and gets it! He can definitely do more, but not sure if he can do 229kg as its a huge rise in weight. Biby of course manages 218kg too and yeah, its still easy for him. The weight has increased to 230kg, the magic number that Big Z always wanted to get to before he retired. Luke gives it a good attempt but its a fail from him. Was it wasted effort though, as he still has the rest of the competition to do? We’ll have to see. Iron Biby time now, and he wants this badly. If anyone on the planet can do it, its him. He makes an incredible attempt and its SO CLOSE but he just misses out. A damn shame. That means that he and Luke will share the 2022 World Loglift title!
Event 2 – Deadlift Ladder
A brutal event now, especially after the log press. 5 weights ranging from 300kg to 400kg must be deadlifted in the time limit of 75 seconds. I have no doubt that everyone here could deadlift 400kg, but after lifting all the other weights before it, and with basically no time to rest, that final 400kg lift is going to be HARD. Novikov is a great deadlifter, as is Rauno and Janashia. Going to be interesting seeing who, if anyone, can make all 5 lifts. Smaukstelis, De Ruiter, Bilton and O’Dwyer have all been, managing 3 lifts each. Rauno Heinla went one further with 4 lifts, as did Shane Flowers. We join in on the action with Janashia against Lalas. Janashia gets 4 up in the fasted time so far, while Lalas is about 10 seconds behind. Neither can budge the 400kg bar after that. Now for Novikov against Kordiyaka, and Kordiyaka is pretty much unknown to me so I have no idea how well he’ll perform here. Novikov struggles with the 4th lift but does manage it, only not in the fasted time. Kordiyaka is very slow, mostly because of the time spent putting on straps, and as a result he only manages 3 lifts in a slow time. Finally we have Luke Stoltman against Eythor Melsted. Stoltman isn’t the best deadlifter but he can still get some good points here for sure if he’s fast. Both of them are racing through the first 3, but its 4 they need for good points. The time of Janashia hasn’t been beaten, but Luke does indeed manage 4 lifts. Melsted runs out of time and is stuck on 3.
Event 3 – Carry and Drag
60 seconds to carry a 125kg anchor then drag a 350kg chain down a 40m course! Novikov is the king of speed so I expect him to do well here. Melsted, O’Dwyer and Smaukstelis have all gone with Smaukstelis in the lead with a time of 29.03 seconds. We join the action with De Ruiter, Bilton and Kordiyaka going against each other. Bilton has the weight advantage for the drag part, but he’s very slow at the carry part. De Ruiter just beats out Kordiyaka while Bilton is pretty slow finishing in a time of 42.22. Both De Ruiter and Kordiyaka beat the previous best time. Lalas, Flowers and Stoltman are the next trio. Stoltman gets off to a flyer but Flowers ends up beating the other 2 men in the end. A great race but none of them beat the time of De Ruiter or Kordiyaka. Finally we have Novikov, Heinla and Janashia. Novikov makes it seem like the anchor is made of paper, then speeds down the rest of the course to take first place. Amazing!
Now lets see the overall points after 3 events:
Novikov now controls the competition, with Stoltman still close enough to retain his title. Flowers is a surprise 3rd place atm, but Janashia, Lalas and Kordiyaka are all in contention for that podium finish still. Sadly Heinla is injured and out of the competition.
Event 4 – Power Stairs
5 huge weights, ranging from 200kg to 250kg, need to be carried up 3 steps in the quickest time possible. This event hasn’t been seen since the 2015 (I think they said) WSM Finals, so many of the men here have never done this event. On top of that, its BRUTAL, and even some of the best strongmen have failed to finish in the past, though the event was a little different as there were 5 steps and 3 weights. As for who will win this? I have no clue. Its up in the air completely, which makes it even more exciting! A handful of men have been already, and all of them have completed the course which is honestly a surprise. More surprising is the leading time of just over 30 seconds by Janashia! We join the action with Smaukstelis against Stoltman. Both men beat the leading time, but a mistake by Stoltman sends him into second place. Impressive from both men! Kordiyaka and Flowers are next to go head to head. They both go very fast and that pushes Stoltman down into 4th place, which isn’t good with only 1 event left. De Ruiter and Novikov are last up, and Novikov has a chance to really put some points between him and Luke. However Novikov only manages 5th place, giving Stoltman a much needed point over his rival.
Only 1 event to go before we crown the 2022 Europe’s Strongest Man, so lets see the points going into that final event:
Novikov still leading, but Stoltman is close enough to still be a real threat. Flowers is still holding onto that 3rd place while Kordiyaka could still over take him for a podium finish!
Event 5 – Castle Stones
We can’t finish a strongman show off without the classic stones! 5 of them weighing between 120kg and 200kg, all to be placed on platforms in the quickest time. Luke, while not quite as good as his brother Tom, is still an amazing stone lifter, but these days so many men are so it’ll be hard to predict who finishes were. My money is on Novikov taking the overall win though! 7 men have been and gone, with 6 of them all managing 5 stones. Janashia leading the way with a time of 24.02 seconds. We join the action with the battle for 3rd place; Kordiyaka and Flowers! Both men are neck and neck going onto the 5th stone, but Kordiyaka gets it up while Flowers fails and potentially injures himself. Neither beat the winning time, which might give Janashia the chance to sneak onto the podium! Finally its Stoltman and Novikov, and they have an amazing battle with Novikov beating out Stoltman in under a second, as they take 1st and 2nd place in the event and in the overall standings!
And there we have it! Oleksii Novikov is Europe’s Strongest Man for 2022!!! Stoltman finishes in 2nd, and Janashia does indeed sneak into 3rd place after a great performance in the final event!