Only 4 places in the final remain, with 2 going today! The 5 men doing their best to get into the final are:
- Graham Hicks – Great Britain
- JF Caron – Canada
- Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted – Iceland
- Ervin Toots – Estonia
- Bobby Thompson – USA
JF Caron has to be the favourite to go through for sure, and maybe a favourite for the overall title this year. Hicks has potential to make it into the final, but he didn’t quite look on top form for Europe’s Strongest Man, so we’ll have to wait and see. Toots on the other hand was 3rd as Europe’s, so he could definitely take one of those qualifying spots. Melsted I don’t see going through, while Thompson is far too unknown for me to say.
Event 1 – Farmer’s Walk
150kg in each hand to be moved down the course the furthest in 60 seconds! Graham Hicks is up first, looking to make his first WSM Final on his 6th attempt. Well, he’ll have his work cut out for him after dropping the implements at under 8m. Next we have Melsted, looking to take THOR’S spot as main Icelandic Strongman no doubt. Wow, another bad showing as Melsted drops them at 5.30m. Toots is out next, and hopefully he can take these implements further that what we’ve seen so far. He makes one length, then takes a lot of time to reset and pick them up again. He is unable to make a 2nd length, but is in the lead with 18.76m so far. Seems nobody atm is enjoying this event. Bobby Thompson of the USA is up next, and we’ll have to wait and see what he can do. A good pickup, and he’s going nice and fast too. He is making this look incredible easy compared to everyone else so far! 45.59m is a fantastic run, with only Caron left to try and beat it. Caron has been here 10 times now, and finished 4th last year. With all 3 podium finishes from last year being injured or retired, that makes him #1 coming into 2020! He is going well, but perhaps too slow to catch up Thompson. Nope! He makes it! 48.20m!
Event 2 – Squat Lift
317.5kg to be squatted! Melsted is up first. 5 reps from him, but I don’t think he’ll be winning the event. Hicks takes his turn. He’s a fantastic presser, perhaps the best in the world now, but how is his squat? Given the size of his legs he should be excellent, and given how fast he’s already done 5 reps to match Melsted, it all comes down to how far he WANTS to go. 10 reps, an impressive feat! Toots time! Sadly, 0 for him, and it appears he might be injured. Thompson is out now, can he beat 10? He’s looking good, edging closer to 10, and might even go ahead of Hicks! Yes! 11 reps for a guaranteed 2nd place at worst, depending on what Caron does. 8 reps so far, but he’s really struggling now. But he continues on for 11 reps to tie for 1st place!
Event 3 – Monster Loading Medley
115kg Engine Block, 140kg Rear Differential, 100kg Tyre Rim x2, and a Wheel Hub at 115kg. They must be picked up and moved down an 8m course and loaded onto a platform as fast as possible within 90 seconds! Toots has unfortunately had to withdraw from the competition. First up in this event is Hicks against Melsted. Neither are too fast, but Hicks has the advantage when Melsted struggled on the second implement. However a mistake on the final implement from Hicks allows Melsted to take the win. 52.10 for Melsted and 56.35 for Hicks. Thompson against Caron now, and I’d expect both to beat those somewhat slow times from the previous pair. They are mostly neck and neck, until Caron picks up some speed in the end and gets the win. 47.13 for Caron, and 53.06 for Thompson which is only good for 3rd, and pushes Hicks down into last place.
As we go into the 4th event, lets catch up with the scores and see who is looking the most likely to gain automatic qualification:
Well, because of Toots’ injury, the least amount of points Caron could get for coming in last in the next event would be 2, keeping him in first place overall, so he has already qualified for the WSM Final! Thompson is guaranteed to enter the Atlas Stones showdown, so the real question now becomes who does he face? Hicks and Melsted are both on 7 points, so whichever one of them can place above the other in event 4 will go on to face Thompson!
Event 4 – Log Press
Well, if ANY event could come along to help Hicks make it into the Atlas Stones event, it would be a pressing event! Thompson and Hicks are up first, and Thompson just does 1 rep to get a point, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to beat Caron. Hicks has to do as many as possible to make sure Melsted cannot beat him. The problem here is that Hicks doesn’t KNOW how many Melsted might be capable of. 9 reps later, and Hicks is looking good going into the final event, but we’ll see. Caron against Melsted now, and Caron will just need 1 rep as well to get his points and go into the final. It all comes down to Melsted and if he can beat 9 reps. He gets to 6, but is running out of time and energy, and that means Hicks gets to go into the Atlas Stones showdown!
Event 5 – Atlas Stones
It all comes down to these 8 massive stones once again. Hicks against Thompson with a place in the final on the line! Will Hicks continue the new tradition of a Brit winning the Atlas Stones? In the previous 3 events a British competitor has won and advanced to the final. But, having done 9 reps in the log press, will he have used up too much energy to beat Thompson who only did 1 rep? Hicks is up first, and while he isn’t going particularly fast, he is getting the stones up. 6 so far, can he make the 7th? Sadly, not. 6 stones is decent, but I don’t think it’ll be enough. Well, something didn’t look right there as he couldn’t pick up the first stone on his first attempt. Same thing happened with the second stone, then again with the third stone! This is a lifeline for Hicks for sure, as time is ticking away. Thompson needs 7 to ensure he goes into the final, with little time left. Unbelievable! Only 5 stones, giving Hicks the spot in the final! I was not expecting that!
JF Caron made things look easy, and is looking very good going into the final. Hicks made it through by the skin of his teeth! Some mystical force seems to be helping the British competitors get through; Oberst was unable to get the stones to stick to him in heat 1, allowing Richardson to go through. Heat 2 saw 2 men injured to allow Bishop to earn a place in the final. Heat 3 was all about Tom Stoltman and nothing going on there, but here for Heat 4 we have a repeat of the first Heat. With 2 British competitors looking to make the final in tomorrow’s Heat, you have to wonder what will happen!