The final heat, with only 2 more places left for the World’d Strongest Man Final up for grabs!
Luke Stoltman – Scotland – Europe’s Strongest Man 2021
Evan Singleton – USA – 2021 World Open Champion
Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted – Iceland – 10th at World’s Strongest Man 2021
Kelvin De Ruiter – Netherlands – 2021 Strongman League Champion
Jean-Stephan Coraboeuf – France – 1st WSM Appearance
Kim Ujarak – Greenland – 1st WSM Appearance
Yet another group with 4 potential athletes having a fantastic chance of taking one of the 2 spots up for grabs. Luke Stoltman and Eythor Melsted have been there before, finishing 7th and 10th respectively last year. Singleton hasn’t had much luck at WSM with injury and illness, but he’s usually always on a podium at a Giant’s Live competition. De Ruiter might not be on everyone’s radar but could certainly surprise everyone. Coraboeuf and Ujarak are the 2 rookies of the group, and while I’m not familiar with either of them, I’d find it hard to believe they can take either of the 2 final spots. For the overall group win, based on the events, I’d say Luke has the best chance of winning a group for the first time.
Event 1 – Loading Race
75 seconds to load a 125kg cannonball, then a 125kg anvil, then a 120kg sack, a 120kg keg and then another 120kg sack IN ORDER. Luke and Evan are the most likely winners of this one. First up, its the two rookies Coraboeuf and Ujarak. Ujarak is impressing me a ton here, which makes sense as he has been trained by Laurence Shahlaei. Sadly he fluffs the final sack and finishes with only 4 objects, with Coraboeuf is able to finish all 5. De Ruiter against Melsted up next, and De Ruiter is flying. Melsted makes a mistake on the anvil, though he was already behind the Dutchman. Both finish up, with Melsted in 49.69 seconds, but 39.18 seconds has De Ruiter in the current lead. Finally its Singleton and Stoltman, and they know what time they have to beat. Evan already fumbles a little on the cannonball, but he does well to keep hold of it and continue on, but Luke makes no mistakes and he takes the event win. Singleton seems to have lost all his energy and barely finishes all 5. Not usual to see that from Singleton. In fact he looks like he almost passes out afterwards and needs to be checked by the medics and cooled down. Hopefully its nothing more than overheating.
Event 2 – Deadlift Ladder
The 5 weights are back again, ranging from 300kg to 380kg, all to be lifted in the quickest time possible. Stoltman is excellent at this, and normally I’d put Singleton with him but given his current condition I have no idea how he will perform. Melsted and De Ruiter will definitely put up a fight here too. Just got word that Singleton has been taken to hospital to get fully checked out, so he will miss this event, but if he gets the all clear he can return for the rest of the heat. First up in the deadlift ladder was Ujarak, getting 4 lifts in just under a minute which is fantastic for a rookie. We join the action now with Melsted against Coraboeuf. Melsted is actually behind in this event, and doesn’t look good for too many more after the 3rd lift. Coraboeuf is going extremely well, getting 4 in a faster time than Ujarak, but running out of time before he attempted the 5th. Stoltman Vs De Ruiter now, and De Ruiter perhaps has a deadlift weakness, managing only 3. Stoltman on the other hand does 4 in the fastest time.
Event 3 – Car Walk
430kg car to be lifted and walked down a 20m course. Well at this point in time I’d normally make a prediction, but other than saying Luke should do well, I have no idea what anyone else might be capable of! Everyone else is doing drastically different in each event so far. Evan is back for this event too, so hopefully he can get a good result and work his way back up the table. Seems he actually went into anaphylactic shock during the loading race, but kept on going and only afterwards did he finally succumb to the effects! Evan is up first against De Ruiter, and this SHOULD be good for Evan, but after yesterday who knows. Evan knows, that’s who! I think he did it in UNDER TEN SECONDS! De Ruiter on the other hand is really struggling, but with some support from Singleton and the crowd he gets over the line, but I think it was after the minute mark. Oh wait, he got it on exactly 1 minute! meanwhile Singleton did it in 9.86 seconds! I don’t think anyone can beat that. Nobody in any other heat managed it either! An incredible comeback for him. Melsted takes on Ujarak next. Both men are having a hard time with this, but its Melsted who is able to recover and get over the line in just under 30 seconds. Ujarak is unable to finish. Lastly its Coraboeuf and Stoltman. The best they can hope for is 2nd and 3rd place because nobody is beating that time of Evan. Around 17 seconds for Luke, so he at least takes 2nd place. Coraboeuf finishes in over 40 seconds which I think is 4th place.
So far only Luke has remained consistent, finishing 1st place twice and then 2nd place. Everyone else has been up and down, which should make the overall points so far very interesting:
Even after missing an event, and coming second to last in the first event, Evan is still only 3 points away from a place in the stone off. If he can stay healthy he has a great chance of climbing back up the table. Luke is looking safe on top, while the stone off places are up for grabs by 4 men.
Event 4 – Log Lift
145kg log to be pressed overhead as many times in 75 seconds. Luke’s favourite event, so expect him to take another 1st place win and continue his quest for winning the group. Ujarak was up first with De Ruiter. 6 for Ujarak, but only 1 for De Ruiter and I feel that might put his hopes of being in the stone off out the window. Melsted and Coraboeuf are up now for us to join in on the action. Both are going very well, matching the 6 from Ujarak but plenty of time left to keep going. 7 for Coraboeuf in the end, with 8 for Melsted. Last up, its Luke and Evan. Luke should be able to get 9 here, while Evan might need to work harder to get close to that. Singleton struggles with the first rep, and after that he’s really not doing well. Luke gets 9 reps in under 50 seconds, then gets a 10th for the hell of it. Magnus Ver Magnusson, the head referee, has to step in and tell Evan to stop as he really looks to be in bad shape. The comeback has ended just as quickly as it started in another heartbreaking WSM moment for Evan. 2023 HAS to be his year to make the final.
Event 5 – Wrecking Ball Hold
Who can hold the 228kg wrecking ball off the ground for the longest? It won’t be Luke Stoltman, as he has ALREADY won his group and doesn’t even need a single point in this one! Ujarak was up first, lasting 36.24 seconds. Then came Singleton, who lasted 1 minute 40.34 seconds, showing that he wasn’t giving up at least. 1 minute 45.65 seconds for De Ruiter. Coraboeuf lasted 1 minute, with 1 minute 3 for Melsted, which places them into the stone off.
Luke wins the group by 3 points without having to even participate in the 5th event. Very impressive!
Event 6 – Stone Off
We have the castle stones, ranging from 150kg to 200kg, but instead of placing them on a platform, the athletes have to pass them over a bar to each other. Once they both pass a stone over to each other once, they move onto the next stone. This continues until either 1 guy fails to put it over the bar in the allotted time, or they get to all 5 stones and continue passing the heaviest stone until one man is unable to do it. Melsted is perhaps the better stone lifter, and he has the advantage, so you’d expect him to make another final. Despite looking good on the first 4, the 5th stone seems to be more than enough for Coraboeuf, and Melsted takes the win.
So the two finalists from last year are the 2 finalists again this year. Now we know all 10 athletes for the final, so we just have to wait and see who will become the WORLD’S STRONGEST MAN. Tomorrow before the event I’ll be posting my predictions as always!