Again in 1977, the inaugural World’s Strongest Man passed off at Common Studios in California. The contestants ran the gamut, from bodybuilders like Lou Ferrigno and Franco Columbu to powerlifters, martial artists, Olympic weightlifters, and even a single professional soccer participant. At the moment, the game is way extra specialised, consisting solely of the highest super-heavyweight aggressive strongmen on the planet. However for the primary time in seven years, it’ll once more be contested within the Golden State, from June 15-20.
Final yr’s occasion was postponed a number of months by COVID-19, and in the end passed off with out audiences in Bradenton, Florida in November. Crowds can be again at this yr’s occasion, as will loads of acquainted names on the planet of strongman. We talked with 10-time World’s Strongest Man competitor Nick Finest about what to anticipate on the 2021 World’s Strongest Man.
2021 World’s Strongest Man Roster and Occasions
The occasion will characteristic 25 athletes, break up into 5 heats. The primary three days of competitors will concentrate on basic occasions like Atlas stone loading, max deadlift, and an overhead press medley, in addition to some extra distinctive occasions, comparable to a prepare pull or the highland games-inspired log-raising occasion “Fingal’s Fingers.”
After a day without work, 10 athletes will advance to the finals, which final two days. It contains extra basic occasions just like the log elevate and keg toss, in addition to the one new occasion: Titan’s Turntable, the place rivals should rotate an vintage locomotive 180 levels whereas it is set on a turntable.
This yr’s athletes embrace:
The returning rivals have solely had 7 months to arrange slightly than the traditional full yr, however Finest says he would not see that making an enormous distinction. What might make a much bigger distinction is the addition of an additional qualifying occasion on the third day.
“The fellows who make the finals are going to should do like 11-12 occasions in lower than 5 days,” he says. “That is brutal.”
Nick’s Decide: Brian Shaw
All three high rivals from 2020 are returning: 25-year-old champion Oleksii Novikov, runner-up Tom Stoltman, and Canadian legend JF Caron. However Finest says he is eyeing the person who got here in fifth, 39-year-old four-time champ Brian Shaw, to rise to the problem this yr and take his fifth title.
At 6 foot 8 and over 400 kilos, Shaw has a definite dimension benefit over everybody within the discipline. That a lot is nothing new! However Shaw has dramatically boosted his conditioning and cardio work at excessive altitudes in his residence state of Colorado. Finest says he anticipates it paying off in a fifth title.
“I’ve by no means seen Brian Shaw on this form,” Finest says. “He is acquired abs proper now. And the occasions within the finals are geared towards what he does.”
Different Prime Contenders
Oleksii Novikov: “Novikov is among the freakiest guys you will ever see,” Finest says of the 25-year-old Ukrainian phenom and defending champ. “He is all the time acquired an opportunity.” Novikov, one of many lightest rivals within the discipline, put himself on the highway to a win dramatic style in 2020 by pulling 1,185 lbs. on the 18-inch deadlift.
Jerry Pritchett: “The situation performs to Jerry Pritchett’s benefit,” Finest says. “He is from Arizona, which has a dry warmth. Sacramento may also have a dry warmth.” Pritchett, 40, is returning for his sixth WSM, after a career-best fourth place in 2020.
Robert Oberst: “If Robert makes the finals, he may very well be very robust,” Finest says. “The primary day of finals ends with the keg toss, which I’ve seen him beat Brian Shaw in—and tease him relentlessly.” The second day of finals begins with the log elevate, a specialty for Oberst.
Travis Ortmayer: Finest says to control 39-year-old Travis “The Texas Stoneman” Ortmayer (who additionally occurs to be the star of a hilarious latest viral strongman-themed Instagram submit). Ortmayer appeared in 4 consecutive WSM from 2008-2011 and is making his triumphant return after a decade misplaced to damage and dependancy.
“He is a man who has been by means of hell and has come by means of the opposite aspect, and is again doing what he loves,” Finest says. “He is additionally the one man who will push himself to the purpose of breaking and previous. He might shock an entire lot of individuals.”
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