World’s Strongest Man 2023 – Heat 5

8 of the strongest men on the planet have qualified for the 2023 World’s Strongest Man final. Now, the final 2 spots will be filled!

Trey Mitchell – USA – 6th at World’s Strongest Man 2022

Evan Singleton – USA – World Open winner 2023

Mark Felix – England – 4th at World’s Strongest Man 2006

Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted – Iceland – 9th at World’s Strongest Man 2022

Jean-Stephan Coraboeuf – France – 2nd WSM Appearance

Paul Smith – England – UK’s Strongest Man 2022

Yet another stacked line up, featuring 3 men who have made the finals in the past, as well as Evan Singleton who is probably the best strongman to have never qualified so far. Then you have Paul Smith who had a fantastic year in 2022 and has had some good results in 2023, so he cannot be counted out. Coraboeuf is still fairly new to the sport at this level, but as we’ve seen in previous heats, that doesn’t really matter! On top of all of that, we have Mark Felix, the oldest competitor in WSM at 57 years old, making his 18th and FINAL appearance this year. He has only made the final a few times, with his best placing being 4th way back in 2006. He’ll want to go out with a bang, but sadly I don’t think he has any chance of making one last final in this company. Melsted has managed to make the finals every year for a few years now, despite never being noticeably dominant, but always consistent. Trey is someone whose strengths put him up there with the best, but has weaknesses that seem to prevent him from always making the finals. Then we have Evan. One day shows like the Giants Live events, and he is one of the best. WSM? Something always goes wrong. Injury or illness. But if he can avoid those two things this year, I’d be shocked if he missed out on his first final. The only other question is who makes it with him? Also, something fun to keep in mind, Evan, Melsted and Coraboeuf were in the same heat last year too!

Event 1 – Loading Race

5 implements, all varying distances from the platform, need to be lifted and loaded in the quickest time possible! First up is Smith, Singleton and Mitchell. Evan is wonderful at this event usually, while Mitchell has amazing power but his grip could let him down along with his massive size. Smith isn’t the tallest strongman and that might be his undoing here. Evan is having no problems so far, while Mitchell is slower and Smith had some issues with the 2nd implement. However he manages to catch up to Mitchell for the most part, but its Mitchell who finishes 2nd while Smith cannot finish the final object. Pretty much how I would have expected things to go, and so far so good for Evan! Now for Felix, Melsted and Coraboeuf. Melsted is probably going to be the better of the 3 here, with Coraboeuf behind him and Felix struggling. They get going, and Coraboeuf really struggles on the first object , but is able to catch up to Felix a little afterwards. Melsted is one object ahead of the other two, and he finishes in a good time. Felix just misses out on the 5th object, running out of time right at the platform. Coraboeuf unfortunately only gets 3.

Event 2 – Deadlift Machine

6 barrels, loaded one at a time after a rep, making the overall weight go from 280kg to 380kg. For around 12 years or so, NOBODY could beat Felix at this event. Not sure he still has it in him to win in 2023, but he should get some decent points here. Coraboeuf was first up, getting 5 reps, and now we join the action with Felix himself! He gets to 5 just fine, but the 6th rep is really difficult, and that’s it for him. At 57 years old he is still able to beat athletes half his age! Now for Paul Smith, who isn’t one of the best deadlifters so he might struggle here. 4 hard reps, and then a long time resting, but is still unable to get the 5th rep up. Trey Mitchell now, and he is a static beast. I’m expecting at least 7 reps from him. He finishes with an impressive 8 reps, giving Singleton a big target to beat! Before him though, we have Melsted who is a good deadlifter, but unsure how many reps he’ll be able to pull out on this machine. 5 for him, and he looks very uncomfortable afterwards. Lastly then, its Evan Singleton, who is good at deadlift, certainly for max weight. He manages 6 reps, falling just behind Mitchell. Great result for Felix who ties for 2nd place with Evan, even at 57 years old!

Event 3 – Log Ladder

5 logs weighing between 125kg and 180kg must be lifted in order in the quickest time possible. Trey being such a static beast will help him here, while Melsted and Evans should be able to give him a run for his money too. Overhead has always been a poor event for Felix. First up then, its Smith against Coraboeuf. 3 for Coraboeuf, then an impressive 4 for Smith! Now we join the action with Felix and Melsted. Felix gets 1, and that’s all I was expecting from him. Melsted is going well, getting 4 in a quicker time than Smith for current 1st place, but he knows he has to try the 5th with someone like Mitchell still to come. He certainly tries it, but is unable to press it fully. Now for the main event in the pressing event; Evan Singleton Vs Trey Mitchell! Singleton is the quicker of the two, but as the weights go up, its Trey with the advantage. 4 in the quickest time so far for him, but he has to go for the 5th with Evan hot on his heels. Easy 5th for Trey, while Singleton is unable to get it up.

3 events down, and 3 to go. Lets check in on the scores!

That win puts Trey just half a point ahead of Singleton, with Melsted 4 points behind, but in a good spot for the stone off at the very least. Felix and Smith would need a miracle now just to make the stone off, while I don’t think Coraboeuf has any chance unfortunately. But of course, the next event is the dreaded Conan’s Wheel, and that could change everything!

Event 4 – Conan’s Wheel

No words needed now. Time to just dive into it and see what happens! First up was Felix, getting 470 degrees. Coraboeuf only managed 143 degrees. Smith did well with 518 degrees, which definitely helps his cause! Now to join the action with Melsted, and its not long before beats out Smith at 629 degrees! Singleton gets his turn next, and he’ll be wanting to outright win this event. Sadly, he isn’t able to beat Melsted, with “only” 598 degrees. It all comes down to Mitchell now who doesn’t look like he’s built for this type of event at all given his massive chest. He does better than I would have expected, with 523 degrees, just beating out Smith. That all means that Smith and Felix (and Coraboeuf) can no longer make it into the stone off.

Event 5 – Kettlebell Toss

7 huge kettlebells ranging from 20kg to 30kg have to be thrown over a 4.5m bar in the quickest time. Mitchell’s static power will help him here, while Singleton and Melsted should both be pretty good too. Coraboeuf was first up, only managing 2. Next we get Mark Felix taking on his final event ever at WSM! He manages a respectable 4, as this was never the best event for him. Time to say goodbye to a legend! Paul Smith next then, only getting a single bell over as his competition ends for this year. Melsted did very well with 6 in a fast time, so it all comes down to what Evan and Trey can do now! First
up is the mighty Trey Mitchell, who launches the first few into orbit! He continues on very well… and becomes the FOURTH man ever to get the 7th bell over! I think that is going to send him straight into the final! Lastly we have Evan, who needs to get all 7 in a quicker time to make it straight into the final, but I see him only having the advantage going into the stone off instead. 6 in a time just behind Melsted I believe, but the points different should mean he’s got the advantage.

Time to see the scores!

Trey Mitchell sitting nicely on top, going directly into the final! Evan and Melsted are obviously the 2 men going into the stone off, and it is indeed Evan who has the advantage there.

Event 6 – Stone Off

We have the castle stones, ranging from 140kg 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 was here last year as well, beating out Coraboeuf to get into the final, so he knows he can do it. Singleton is a fantastic stone lifter though, so this is likely going to be a WAR! Will Melsted make yet another final, or can Singleton stop him and go into his FIRST final? Both just seem to be going through the motions on the first few stones, showing just how good they both are at stones. They make it to the last stone with no real effort, so its going to come down to how many times they can pass it! The second pass on the final stone looks hard for Melsted, and the third looks even worse. However, Singleton also has a hard time of it on the third too. But it doesn’t matter as Melsted is unable to pass it again, and Evan Singleton finally, FINALLY makes the WSM Final!!!

And that is it. All 10 spots in the final have been filled, with Trey Mitchell and Evan Singleton being the final 2 men. Mitchell looked strong throughout the heat, and Singleton finally got through an entire heat without illness or injury, and while he has to work harder than Mitchell to get there, he can finally say he is a World’s Strongest Man Finalist!!!

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