World’s Strongest Man 2023 – Predictions


The Athletes

Tom Stoltman – Scotland – World’s Strongest Man 2021 & 2022

Pavlo Kordiyaka – Ukraine – Europe’s Strongest Man 2023

Oleksii Novikov – Ukraine – World’s Strongest Man 2020

Luke Stoltman – Scotland – Europe’s Strongest Man 2021

Mitchell Hooper – Canada – Arnold Strongman Classic winner 2023

Mathew Ragg – New Zealand – 2nd at World Tour Finals 2023

Brian Shaw – USA – 4x World’s Strongest Man (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016)

Jaco Schoonwinkel – South Africa – 1st World’s Strongest Man Appearance

Trey Mitchell – USA – Shaw Classic Champion 2021 & 2022

Evan Singleton – USA – World Open winner 2023

The 10 best strongmen that made it through the heats and are going to the finals! We have 3 former winners, with SEVEN WSM titles between them. A couple of former Europe’s Strongest Man winners, Shaw Classic winners, Arnold Strongman Classic winners and Giants Live winners! A helluva line up for the final, which is going to make predicting things much harder!

The Events

Fingal’s Fingers

An old event coming back for the first time in a while. This one usually favours the taller men, so expect good results from Tom Stoltman and Brian Shaw. Especially Brian who has tons of experience with it compared to the majority of the group in this final. Trey has a similar build to someone like Big Z, who had a world record in this event back in the day even against the likes of Brian Shaw, so Trey could be one to look out for as well. Then you have the likes of Novikov and Kordiyaka who are seemingly incredible at almost everything they touch, along with Singleton and Hooper. But it might all come down to that experience, which heavily favours Brian Shaw in his final WSM.

Deadlift (for reps, single weight)

No deadlift machine in the final, though I am unsure what type it will actually be. Is it a more standard bar or will it be using the massive sized weights such as the Axle deadlift? Either way, I expect some better results on this than the deadlift machine in the heats. Last year in the final it was Novikov who beat everyone, and honestly I’d say its a good prediction for this year too. Tom Stoltman didn’t look quite as his best in the heats on deadlift, however, that could have been down to the equipment. If he’s still on top form he has a good chance of winning this as well, along with Trey Mitchell who is looking very powerful this year. Hooper and Evans are two good deadlifters as well, with Hooper one of the few to get to 8 reps on the machine in the heats. Honestly I can see two or three athletes tied for 1st here rather than an outright winner.

Shield Carry

Unlike the Conan’s Wheel we saw in the heats which favours the smaller built strongmen, the Shield Carry is always better for those with long arms that can reach around further and get a better grip on the implement. Tom Stoltman and Brian Shaw should be able to get a better grip on it, but someone like Hooper or Novikov could still upset them by simply being able to move faster and gain more distance in a quicker time before they have to drop it. Kordiyaka might be a dark horse for the event too, especially with how well he did on the Conan’s Wheel at Europe’s Strongest Man, and the fact he isn’t a small man either.

Max Dumbbell Press

A first for WSM, as typically we’ve had either one weight for reps or a series of dumbbells in a ladder. Novikov has won the last 11 events with dumbbells, and I think he has the world record for a max lift too? Basically, this event is most suited to him. Brian Shaw was good as this event in his prime, and while he’s looking very good this year, I’m not sure he’ll be able to keep up with some of the other athletes. Singleton is another favourite as he too is very good at dumbbell pressing. Luke Stoltman might be someone you’d think was good here, but he always seems to struggle a little with this type of event rather than a straight up log or bar to press overhead. I can see Tom doing better than his brother. Really, other than Novikov and Singleton, its hard to say who will do well as like with Luke, big pressers on the log aren’t always the best at this particular type of lift.

Vehicle Pull

Last year Novikov won the event over some of the best vehicle pullers of all time, which shocked everyone. Typically the event suits a heavier man, but Novikov proved that technique, foot speed and sheer willpower can overcome any potential weakness! Expect him to do well here again, but so too will Tom, Brian, Trey and likely Kordiyaka as well. Winning times could be potentially beaten by less than a single second!

Atlas Stones

And finally we end on the Atlas Stones, the classic Strongman event. Tom, Brian, Trey, Evan, Pavlo, Hooper, Novikov… all world classic stone lifters who can win this event on any given day. However, it could all come down to how exhausted everyone is after the vehicle pull like last year. Novikov was utterly exhausted last year, and struggled with the power stairs that came after it, and was only able to lift 4 stones in the final event, pushing him down to 3rd place. Hopefully this year could be better as there are no power stairs, and no other event between the pulling and stones. Still, with the likes of Tom, Brian and Trey, winning the final event will be difficult for anyone else.

These are just basic predictions for the events, as we also have the newcomers Ragg and Schoonwinkel who could absolutely upend the entire competition by out performing a number of more experienced strongmen!

Who Will Win?

A tough question, so lets break it down by talking about a few of the favourites individually!

Tom Stoltman – The 2 time reigning champion absolutely has to be considered a favourite, despite taking 9 months off after winning last year, and not QUITE being on top of his game in the heats. He had to qualify through the stone off, though he also had to do that when he won WSM for the first time. All that time off will have done his body good for recovery, but not good for him keeping his max strength and conditioning. However, he still looked very good in the heats, never dropping out of the top 3 except for the Conan’s Wheel. The events in the final are MUCH better for him, with perhaps only the dumbbell press being a bit of a weakness. As long as he doesn’t drop too many points there, we could be looking at a 3 time WSM!

Oleksii Novikov – The 2020 champion hasn’t had the easiest time since winning a few years ago. He didn’t get through the heats in 2021, then last year the last few events took so much out of him that he was simply too exhausted to win. In the heats this year, he was very dominant, having qualified for the final before the kettlebell toss. That will help him save some energy going into the final, and the events in the final definitely suit him just as much as Tom. Not only that, but with the dumbbell press being in there, this could be his year once again!

Mitchell Hooper – Last year, Hooper showed up and looked like he was already the best in the world. However, once out of the heat stages and into the finals, he didn’t perform quite as he could have hoped. Since then though he has been getting better and better, winning competitions such as the Arnold Strongman Classic. Like Novikov, he dominated his heat and qualified before the kettlebell toss event. With more confidence and a year of training behind him, I’d expect him to do considerably better in the finals this year than he did last year. So much so, I’d be completely shocked if he didn’t make the podium.

Pavlo Kordiyaka – Pavlo started the year off with Europe’s Strongest Man under his belt, and then he won his heat over reigning champion Tom Stoltman. While he has a big weakness in deadlift, the other events suit him very well and he could walk away with the WSM title!

Trey Mitchell – Trey has always been big and strong, but never really made a big mark in the finals when he’s been there. This year however, based on the heats, he’s finally got everything together and could very well win it all. He has a fantastic deadlift, is a massive presser, can certainly move a vehicle, is one of the best stone lifters around, and on paper should do very well in the fingers. His grip is his one weakness, however it might not be too bad in the Shield Carry as it isn’t like a typical grip event where you have to hold onto something heavy with thin metal bars. His two Shaw Classic wins prove he can beat the best of the best in competition, so maybe this year is when he finally does it at WSM too!

Honestly, I could talk about another couple of competitors as well, but I’ll leave it at those 5. The fact I could go on is insane, as usually when it comes to a WSM Final, you have two or three favourites and then the rest, but every year the standard gets higher and almost everyone going into the final has a chance of winning. But only one can actually win, and for my official 2023 WSM prediction, I believe that the winner will be…

MITCHELL HOOPER

As I said already, last year he looked like he was the best in the world during the heats, and while he didn’t win WSM, he looked very good in a handful of events. Since then he’s trained harder, gotten more experience and more wins under his belt, and I think he’s doing to dominate a lot of the final even against the likes of Stoltman and Novikov!

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