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Here we are at the 3rd heat of the 2010 World’s Stronngest Man qualifiers and the group consists of these 6 athletes:

Kostiantyn Ilin
Ervin Katona
Janusz Kulaga
Vytautas Lalas
Travis Ortmayer
Darren Sadler

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.

Darren Sadler's competition ends 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

Medley Results

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.

Ervin Katona pulling the huge truck

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.

Truck Pull Results

Though my prediction was for Ortmayer and Katona to qualify, I expected Ortmayer to be clearly ahead, even after just 2 events.

Standings after the Truck Pull

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.

Katona v Ortmayer

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.

Power Stairs Results

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.

Standings after the Power Stairs

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.

Vytautas Lalas wins the Deadlift

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.

Deadlift Results

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?

Standings after the Deadlift

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.

Travis Ortmayer equals the World Record

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.

Dumbbell Press Results

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.

Ortmayer beats 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.

Loading Race Results

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.

Final Standings

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!

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In the UK World’s Strongest Man (WSM) starts tonight, not sure about the rest of the world. On Bravo at 8pm is the first of 3 Giants Live competitions that usually talk about being qualifiers for the main WSM competition, even though we then see qualifiers from elsewhere. Confused? Yeah, me too, and the people involved in WSM probably too!

I haven’t updated it in months as I was scared of spoiling the competition as I did last year. There were so many visits to my blog from people searching Zydrunas Savickas that it didn’t take a genius to figure out who had won. Fast forward to this year and I can’t resist blogging about something I love so much, but to avoid having the result spoiled for the second year I won’t be looking at stats or comments until the final has been televised on New Year’s Eve.

For those wanting to see TV broadcast dates in the UK and US, take a look at the official website.

So, looking ahead to the 2010 competition, and what will we see?

Winner
I have my favourites, those being Derek Poundstone, Terry Hollands and Travis Ortmayer. I believe any of these is capable of winning but I can’t look past 2009 winner Zydrunas Savickas. When he’s on form, which is most of the time, he’s unstoppable as we saw last year. There’s no Mariusz Pudzianowski this year, at least that’s what I last read a few months ago, when he stated he’d not being competing in WSM but concentrating on his MMA career instead. Brian Shaw is another one to look out for, coming in third last year and he looked very strong in doing so. My heart says Poundstone, my head says Savickas.

Can anyone beat Hollands in the plane pull?
I asked this question to Kevin Nee at WSM Experience 2010 and he agreed that Hollands was perfectly built for this event and incredibly hard to beat. One thing to bear in mind is that last year he won the event even after injuring his hand in the Giant Farmer’s Walk, so watch out everyone, the plane could be taking off this year!

The Brits
If he’s fully recovered from his injury then Terry Hollands has to be the favourite of the Brits for success, though he’s struggled to match his 3rd place in 2007. Lauence Shahlaei finished 9th in last year’s competition but he surprised me by even reaching the final, and did fantastically well coming to second to Pudzianowski in the aforementioned Giant farmer’s Walk. Always close to the final and sometimes reaching it is dead lift specialist Mark Felix and we also need to look out for Darren Sadler, who despite being one of the shortest competitors in WSM, was a whisker away from making last year’s finals

That’s all for now – please leave a comment on any of the upcoming posts and I’ll promise to read and respond to them when I know who’s been crowned World’s Strongest Man 2010.

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Last Sunday I had the pleasure to be in attendance at the first ever World’s Strongest Man Experience which took place at the Seni exhibition in London’s Excel Centre. There to compete were Zydrunas Savickas, Terry Hollands, Kevin Nee, Jimmy Marku, Mark Felix, Stefan Solvi Petersson, Darren Sadler and Tomasz Nowotniak. There were two contests – one on the Saturday which Savickas and the one I saw on the Sunday.

There were 5 events: Farmer’s Walk, Dumdbell Press, Dead Lift, Overhead Log Press and Atlas Stones – the traditional finishing event for any strongman competition. The arena was packed, with every seat taken and people standing, such was the demand to see the WSM athletes in action. Unfortunately Kevin Nee had to pull out with an injury but kept us entertained by answering questions that were plucked from the audience by host and commentator Caroline Pearce, who you might remember as Ice from Gladiators. It’s worth noting that she did a far better job than Zoe Salmon did in the 2009 WSM in malta – we hope she’ll be back for the 2010 competition.

Zydrunas was on fine form and repeated his victory from the Saturday to beat Terry Hollands into the runner up spot place for the second day running. Everyone put in a great effort and the crowd were very vocal in their appreciation, some had even come over from Lithuania to support fellow countryman Zydrunas Savickas.

We were also treated to two judges with fine WSM credentials, those being 2001 WSM Svend Karlsen and two-time winner Geoff Capes, both of whom answered questions while the events were being set up and the athletes were resting. All through the weekend the competitors were on the World’s Strongest Man stand, meeting fans and having photos taken, whilst also signing autographs. I couldn’t get close most of the afternoon, such was the demand to see these guys!

I’m going to get in touch with WSM to get full results as I was so into the action that I forgot to write down the results as I went along! When I publish those I will also post more photos that I took, but I’ll leave you with a couple to whet your appetite! World’s Strongest Man Experience 2010 was a huge success and I really hope we see more events like this – once a year is just not enough, and the chance to see the action live is something I urge every WSM fan to experience.

Zydrunas Savickas

Caroline Pearce interviews Kevin Nee

Mark Felix

The Big Z, Kevin Nee & some buff dude!!

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Ever watch World’s Strongest Man on television and wish you could be there? Yeah, me too, but it’s not always easy to get to the exotic places they hold the annual competition. Anyone within travelling distance from London’s ExCeL will now have the opportunity to see the stars of World’s Strongest Man in late May.

World's Strongest Man Experience

On Saturday May 29th and Sunday 30th, the first ever World’s Strongest Man Experience will be taking place at the ExCeL as a part of SENI 2010 – The International Combat Sports Show. Courtesy of WorldsStrongestMan.com, here is some blurb:

Make sure you don’t miss out on your chance to see The first official ‘The World’s Strongest Man’ Experience! Experience the power of WSM over two hours of explosive head to head battles in the all-seater ‘Power Pit!’ arena, hosted by 2001 World’s Strongest Man, Svend Karlsen!

Those taking part in the event are:

Zydrunas Savickas (Lithuania)
World’s Strongest Man 2009, 3-time World’s Strongest Man runner up and 6-time Arnold Strongman Classic Champion

Terry Hollands (England)
3rd place at World’s Strongest Man 2007, England’s Strongest Man 2009, Britain’s Strongest Man 2007 and UK’s Strongest Man 2005

Mark Felix (England)
4th place at World’s Strongest Man 2006, runner up in All-American Strongman Challenge 2010 and Rolling Thunder Champion 2009 & 2008

Kevin Nee (America)
8th place at World’s Strongest Man 2007, runner up in All-American Strongman Challenge 2007 and 4th at America’s Strongest Man 2006

Darren Sadler (England)
3rd place in England’s Strongest Man 2009, 3rd place in Britain’s Strongest Man 2007 and Under 105kg World Strongman Challenge Champion 2006

Laurence Shahlaei (England)
9th place at World’s Strongest Man 2009, England’s Strongest Man 2009 and 4th place in Britain’s Strongest Man 2008

Jimmy Marku (England)
UK’s Strongest Man 2009, Britain’s Strongest Man 2008 and England’s Strongest Man 2008, 2007 & 2006

Sebastian Wenta (Poland)
Runner up World’s Strongest Man 2007, Highlander Challenge World Champion 2008 & 2007 and runner up Europe’s Strongest Man 2007

The events announced thus far are:

  • Dumbell Press
  • Car Deadlift
  • Farmers Walk
  • Shield Carry
  • Atlas Stones

Savickas has to be the favourite, especially with events like the Dumbell Press and Car Deadlift, though he’ll be up against arguably the world’s best WSM Deadlifter in the form of Mark Felix. The Shield Carry, most recently seen in the Super Series last year, is a nice nod back to World’s Strongest Man competitions of old and the Húsafell Stone.

Tickets are £25 each (less for children and there are family reductions) and can be bought from ticketmaster. I am unfortunately busy on the Saturday but will be there on the Sunday and I’ll hopefully see you there! I’m thrilled, after watching these guys on television for years, to be getting the opportunity to see them perform live – hopefully this is just the first of many more events like this.

For more information head over to the World’s Strongest Man Experience page on WorldsStrongestMan.com.

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