Here we are at the 3rd heat of the 2010 World’s Stronngest Man qualifiers and the group consists of these 6 athletes:
I’m a huge fan of Travis Ortmayer so I was very much looking forward to seeing this heat. Along with Derek Poundstone he’s probably my favourite of the current athletes on the Strongman circuit. The first event was the Medley, and disaster struck early.
After completing the first part of the course, carrying an anvil in beach hand, Sadler tore his bicep in attempting to flip the huge tyre for the first time. It was enough to see him withdraw which must have been devastating, especially as he looked to be in the shape of his life. There was no such problem as the new lean Travis Ortmayer won the first event, with a lead of over 7 seconds to second place Ervin Katona
The second event was the crowd pleasing truck pull and one man excelled above all others. Maybe it’s just me, but the truck pull seems a lot harder this year than previously – maybe it’s the weight of the truck or the slight hill that needs overcoming at the start.
Katona set a high standard with a time of 52.16 seconds and only Travis Ortmayer was left to beat him. However, Ortmayer had reportedly lost a lot of bulk in training for the high altitude setting of WSM 2010, and as such he really struggled to get the truck rolling. It was almost 25 seconds before he was able to get it moving freely and first place was all but impossible. He’d used so much energy at the beginning that he only just made it to the line, looking utterly exhausted in doing so. His time was still good enough for second, just.
Though my prediction was for Ortmayer and Katona to qualify, I expected Ortmayer to be clearly ahead, even after just 2 events.
Before we get on to the top 2, Janusz Kulaga is worthy of a mention here for completing the Power Stairs and getting that huge weight up all 12 stairs, not something most athletes have been able to achieve.
It was the Power Stairs that saw things change in this heat and was a case of more haste less speed as Ortmayer seemed to want to go quicker than his body would let him, and subsequently he stumbled a few times. Katona was more methodical and completed the 12 stairs in the quickest time, while Ortmayer could go no further than the 11th step.
This saw Katona take a 2 point lead over Ortmayer, and for the second heat in a row the favourite was looking a bit shaky.
The 4th event was the Deadlift and this showcased someone who will be making headlines in a few years, mark my words! It wasn’t Travis Ortmayer who struggled again, only managing 4 lifts.
With a fantastic 9 reps, it was Lithuanian Vytautas Lalas who won the Deadlift, pushing Katona into 2nd place with his 8 lifts. It was a tremendous performance from the newcomer and a well deserved maximum points.
Sharing points for 4th place meant that Ortmayer fell even further behind Katona, and now had Lalas in 3rd place, and chasing him down with only half a point between them. Could we be on the verge of having one of the favourites not make the final?
At the Giants Live event in Kiev in the summer Derek Poundstone broke the World Record for the Dumbbell press – managing 9 reps with that massive 95 KG dumbbell.
While Katona and Lalas came close with 8 reps, it was Ortmayer who went one better an actually equalled Poundstone’s World Record with 9 repetitions. Ortmayer did something that has always made Poundstone so good at this event, he was able to use both his left or his right arm to lift the dumbbell. I actually thought he could have gone one better and beaten the World Record, but maybe he was conserving energy for the last event, knowing that he needed every point he could get in order to qualify for the final.
Thanks to that great victory Ortmayer both gained on Katona as well as pulled away from Lalas, and looked set for a place in the final, along with Katona.
It seems all the excitement had come in the previous events as Lalas won the Loading Race, with Ortmayer and Katona coming in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The heat ended with the top 3 being very close together, in fact the comeback of sorts from Ortmayer meant the he was second to Katona by only half a point and ahead of Lalas by just one point.
While my predictions of Ortmayer and Katona qualifying came to fruition, it wasn’t in the order I had guessed and for a while I feared Ortmayer may not qualify at all, Lalas is definitely one to watch out for next year. Heat 4 sees the return of 2009 winner Zydrunas Savickas, which is always guaranteed to be an interesting viewing experience!