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Archive for the ‘Louis-Philippe Jean’ Category

The 6 athletes competing in heat 4 were as follows:

Nick Best
Warrick Brant
Louis-Philippe Jean
Agris Kazelniks
Zydrunas Savickas
Laurence Shahlaei

Nick Best is someone I’d heard about, especially in the Arnold Strongman Classic, but never seen perform – this was about to be rectified. In fact, he set the fastest time in the Giant Farmers Walk of the 3 people in his race.

Savickas draws first blood

Of course when reigning champion Zydrunas Saviacks is around no lead is guaranteed to stay for long as he blasted his way to victory, beating Best’s time by over 8 seconds, with Englishman Laurence Shahlaei coming in a close second. This was similar to the same event on last year’s final where Savickas and Shahlaei finished 1st and 2nd then too.

Giant Farmers Walk Results

The second event was the Squat Lift and it was interesting to see that Savickas had some strapping on his left thigh. According to Shahlaei this group contained the 6 best squatters in the world so for him to retain his unbeaten record in this event was going to be difficult. In fact Best, Brant and Kazekniks all managed 10 reps, only to be beaten by The Big Z who got 11.

Shahlaei ties with Savickas

Shahlaei was last to go and while he managed to remain unbeaten he couldn’t beat Savickas and scored 11 reps too to share first place with the current World’s Strongest Man.

Squat Lift Results

Savickas now led the group, but only by one point to his nearest rival Shahlaei, who in turn was a handy 3.5 points ahead of Best. Somewhat surprising was Canada’s Strongest Man, Jean, and a finalist in last year’s World’s Strongest Man, being in last place.

Standings after the Squat Lift

The Africa Stone proved to be a nightmare event for Laurence Shahlaei as he only managed 54.2 metres. It looked like he never got his hands properly linked and therefore his grip was always weak and at risk of allowing the stone to slip, which it eventually did.

Best does Best

It was Nick Best who up ended winning this event with a great distance of 79.4 metres. A distance that made second place Savickas look short with only 62.1, though I think he may have been playing the strategic game and only trying to get past Jean to grab second place and valuable points. Savickas, nothing if not always consistent.

Africa Stone Results

After three events Savickas was clearly in the lead but Best was breathing down Shahlaei’s neck for the runner up spot and the second qualifying place – just half a point separated them.

Standings after the Africa Stone

The 4th event was the Overhead Lift and an event that may have Laurence Shahlaei kicking himself for the next 12 months. After managing 5 lifts he said he’d had enough, though it looked like he could have done more.

Savickas cruises to victory

Enter Savickas and an almost effortless 8 reps, most of them using just his arms alone. With Jean getting 7 reps it meant Shahlaei had to share the points for 3rd place with Brant, where as if he’d got that 6th rep he’d have secured all the points for 3rd place for himself. The shocker was Nick Best, who couldn’t manage one single lift.

Overhead Lift Results

Savickas now had an almost unsaleable lead and there was a handy 4 point gap from Shahlaei down to Best. Things were looking very good for these guys to qualify for the final once again.

Standings after the Overhead Lift

The Deadlift hold proved t be the turning point of this heat as the athletes had to hold up a car for the longest time possible. Shahlaei managed to hold on for just over a minutes before letting the car go, visually frustrated that he hadn’t got a better time.

Best is best, again!

Nick Best proved his worth again by holding on for a phenomenal time of 1 minute and 18 seconds – in fact he had to be told that he’d won before he’d let go! Thanks to a great performance from Jean, Savickas was pushed down to 3rd place.

Deadlift Hold Results

Savickas had now done enough to qualify for the final and defend his crown, but the battle for second place was hotting up as Best trailed Shahlaei by just a single point. Shahlaei would have to get an equal or better performance than Best because if Best beat him, even by just one place, then thanks to a track back and Best’s two victories, it would be the American that would take the second qualifying spot.

Best v Shahlaei

In the showdown between Shahlaei and Best it was Shahlaei who went off the quicker of the two but he was soon caught by Best who loaded the 3rd barrel quicker than Shahlaei. This would end up being the deciding factor as neither managed the 4th barrel. These two ended up as the 1st and 2nd place athletes in this event, with Best taking the honours.

Loading Race Results

In a cruel twist of fate Shahlaei and Best did end up the same points with Best qualifying thanks to his two previous victories compared to Shahlaei’s one. If Shahlaei had have got that 6th lift in the Overhead Lift he’d have been in second alone, and gone through to the final. Savuickas won the group, as everyone would have expected him to do.

Final Standings

Savickas did look to be a little troubled by his quad injury, but enough to stop him winning the group comfortably. He seemed to hold back on some events, but like the mighty Mariusz Pudzianowski he is known to save some energy for the final, and that’s where he puts in 110%. Shahlaei was bitterly disappointed not to make it through but he’s young enough to come back for a good few years yet. Best on the other hand is the oldest competitor at 40 and did very well to qualify for the final in his first World’s Strongest Man appearence.

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The World’s Strongest Man 2009 final was broadcast 4 days ago (in the UK), so now it’s time to look a bit closer at the numbers and see what we can gleam from that. First of all let’s look at the points scored by all competitors across all the events. You can click the image for a bigger, more legible version.

World's Strongest Man 2009 Final Results

One thing that stands out immediately is the 3 event victories by eventual winner Zydrunas Savickas, and when you see that he was runner up in a further 2 it’s clear that he was destined to lift this year’s trophy. If it wasn’t for such a poor performance in the Boat Pull, where he placed 8th, then his lead would have been even more than the 5 points it ended up being.

Of the 4 events that Savickas didn’t win, there were 4 different winners, which just go to show how open the field was this year. While it’s surprising after the last 6 years that Mariusz Pudzianowski was only victorious in 1 event, it’s just as surprising to me, given his form in last year’s final, the Giants Live Tour and his heat, that Derek Poundstone didn’t win any of the 7 events. In fact I’m surprised that Poundstone only finished 4th. Was he performing at his highest level or were the others just that much better on a more consistent basis?

Although he suffered from the flu during the heats, and it’s possible he hadn’t recovered by the time of the final, Travis Ortmayer was so good across all the other events that just one place better in the Giant farmer’s Walk, where he came last, would have seen him overtake Poundstone for 4th place overall. In fact a few more places better and he’d have climbed up to 3rd place and snatched Brian Shaw’s podium place. Speaking of Brian Shaw, what a fantastic performance in his first ever World’s Strongest Man final. The other competitors just have to hope there is no Boat Pull in World’s Strongest Man 2010 or that’s a guaranteed 10 points for Shaw – he’s that good.

The first 6 places are not too far apart, but the gap between Terry Hollands in 6th and Phil Pfister in 7th was a massive 12.5 points. Phil Pfister is no first timer at World’s Strongest Man, if you remember he famously beat Mariusz Pudzianowski in 2007 to become the champion. The level of competition was furiously high for World’s Strongest Man 2009, and Pfister’s points haul is clear evidence of that.

After looking at the numbers I was interested to see how the positions changed from event to event as the final progressed, so I plotted all the numbers into Excel and this is what we get. As before, click the image for a bigger version.

World's Strongest Man 2009 Final Progress

What stands out straight away is that only 2 competitors stayed in the same position throughout the duration of the final; Zydrunas Savickas in 1st, and Louis-Philippe Jean in 10th. In fact there wasn’t a great deal of position changing, most notable is Dave Ostlund’s gradual decline from his 2nd place finish in the Fingal’s Fingers to his eventual 8th place finish.

Travis Ortmayer dropped considerably after coming last in the Giant Farmer’s Walk but you can see how he claws his way back to 5th place after the Overhead Lift, where he stayed until the very end. Looking at the graph, after his disastrous (by his standards) 6th place finish in Fingal’s Fingers, Mariusz Pudzianowski was the most consistent performer. Had he performed better in that first event the whole competition could have gone a very different way, the psychological factor can never be under-estimated in World’s Strongest Man.

It’s interesting to see that after the Boat Pull the only position changes were that of Lauence Shahlaei overtaking Dave Ostlund for 8th place after the Deadlift, and then Ostlund retaking that 8th position again after the Atlas Stones. Those two aside, the positions for the 8 competitors stayed the same from the after the Boat Pull to the end.

If I can get access to the individual event results from previous competitions then I’d like to analyse those in a similar fashion. If you have those results then please email me or leave a comment. Any feedback, as always, is gratefully appreciated – I hope you enjoyed this different look at the World’s Strongest Man 2009 final, I know I did!

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So here we are, the culmination of 5 gruelling heats and the showdown we’ve all been waiting for. Would Pudzianowski get his 6th title? Would Poundstone go one better than his 2nd place of last year? Would Savickas improve on his three 2nd place finishes? Would Hollands or Shahlaei be the first Brit to win since Gary Taylor in 1993? So many questions, but only one thing was certain – in 60 minutes time we would know who the World’s Strongest Man 2009 champion!

Here are the 10 men in this year’s final, in order of how they qualified:

Derek Poundstone
Louis-Philippe Jean
Zydrunas Savickas
Brian Shaw
Mariusz Pudzianowski
Phil Pfister
Laurence Shahlaei
Travis Ortmayer
Terry Hollands
Dave Ostlund

Gone was the Medley as the first event from the heats, and straight into one of the toughest events in World’s Strongest Man – Fingal’s Fingers. What became clear right from the start is that with only an hour of broadcast time, which included advert breaks, we weren’t going to see all the guys compete in every event – in fact in a lot of the events we didn’t see most of the competitors’ efforts.

I had perennial favourites Dave Ostlund, Phil Pfister and Brian Shaw pegged as the front runners in this event and to a certain extent I was right, with Ostlund coming in 2nd and Shaw 3rd. However, up against Savickas, Phil Pfister could only manage 7th place. Savickas blew the field away by coming in first and beating Ostlund’s time in a new world record of 28.69 seconds.

Fingal's Fingers - Savickas v Pfister

The full results looked like this: 1st – Savickas, 2nd – Ostlund, 3rd – Shaw, 4th – Ortmayer, 5th – Poundstone, 6th – Pudzianowski, 7th – Pfister, 8th – Hollands, 9th – Shahlaei & 10th – Jean.

The 2nd event was the Giant Farmer’s Walk which saw some guys struggle quite badly, to the point where I wondered if the huge weights were too much. They were carrying 25 stone in each hand, maybe a drop down to 22 or 23 stone would have seen more people finish in a decent time and make the gaps between their times smaller. Pudzianowski dominated with a time of 25.05 seconds which was over 5 seconds faster than 2nd placed Poundstone. Worth a mention was Shahlaei in 3rd place, which in itself was a fantastic performance.

Giant Farmer's Walk

In the above picture you can see Terry Hollands coming in 2nd in his round of 5 competitors – he was in 1st but about 15 metres from the finish he stopped, allowing Poundstone to overtake. While Hollands did finish, we saw later that his hands has been torn to shreds by the handles of these huge weights.

Full results: 1st – Pudzianowski, 2nd – Poundstone, 3rd – Shahlaei, 4th – Savickas, 5th – Pfister, 6th – Hollands, 7th – Shaw, 8th – Jean, 9th – Ostlund & 10th – Ortmayer.

Points table now looked like this: 1st – Savickas (17), 2nd Poundstone (15), 2nd – Poundstone (15), 4th – Shaw (12), 5th – Ostlund (11), 6th – Shahlaei (10), 6th – Pfister (10), 8th – Hollands (8), 8th – Ortmayer (8) & 10th – Jean (4).

Terry Hollands pulling a plane!

If you had just injured your hands, can you even begin to imagine using the same hands to pull on a massive rope whilst tied to a plane in an attempt to pull that 44 tonne plane? That’s what Terry Hollands did in a time of 38.19 seconds – that was over 2 seconds quicker than Savickas in second which even by fully fit standards is astonishing. Add in the injury factor it’s almost impossible, but Hollands did it.

Full results: 1st – Hollands, 2nd – Savickas, 3rd – Ortmayer, 3rd – Shaw, 5th – Pudzianowski, 6th – Poundstone, 7th – Pfister, 8th – Ostlund, 9th – Shahlaei & 10th – Jean.

Points table now looked like this: 1st – Savickas (26), 2nd – Pudzianowski (21), 3rd – Poundstone (20), 4th – Shaw (19.5), 5th – Hollands (18), 6th – Ortmayer (15.5), 7th – Ostlund (14), 7th – Pfister (14), 9th – Shahlaei (12) & 10th – Jean (5).

The 4th event was the Overhead Lift but the coverage only allowed us 3 brief glimpses of the action and a total of 3 lifts – this event was obviously sacrificed for the necessary time taken up by advert breaks.

Full results: 1st – Savickas, 2nd – Poundstone, 2nd – Pudzianowski, 4th – Ortmayer, 5th – Shaw, 6th – Jean, 6th – Pfister, 8th – Ostlund, 9th – Hollands & 9th Shahlaei.

Points table now looked like this: 1st – Savickas (36), 2nd – Pudzianowski (29.5), 3rd – Poundstone (28.5), 4th – Shaw (25.5), 5th – Ortmayer (22.5), 6th – Hollands (19.5), 7th – Pfister (18.5), 8th – Ostlund (17), 9th – Shahlaei (13.5) & 10th Jean (9.5).

The 5th event was an event that is a bit of a throwback to World’s Strongest Man competitions of old – the Boat Pull. It is what it says – the competitors have to pull a boat up an incline using a very thick rope. Pudzianowski made up some important points here as he gained 2nd place compared to Savickas in 8th. The event was won by Shaw, and very impressively too.

Brian Shaw wins the Boat Pull

Full results: 1st – Shaw, 2nd – Pudzianowski, 3rd – Ortmayer, 4th – Hollands, 5th – Pfister, 6th – Shahlaei, 7th – Poundstone, 8th – Savickas, 9th – Ostlund & 10th – Jean.

Points table now looked like this: 1st – Savickas (39), 2nd – Pudzianowski (38.5), 3rd – Shaw (35.5), 4th – Poundstone (32.5), 5th – Ortmayer (30.5), 6th – Hollands (26.5), 7th – Pfister (24.5), 8th – Ostlund (19), 9th – Shahlaei (18.5) & Jean (10.5).

Savickas beats Pudzianowski

This is not something we are accustomed to seeing – Pudzianowski on his knees, a beaten man. However, that is exactly what happened in the Deadlift as he and Poundstone tied 2nd with 9 lifts, while Savickas grabbed maximum points with 11 lifts. It was looking like the Lithuanian’s title to lose now, with only the Atlas Stones to go.

Full results: 1st – Savickas, 2nd – Pudzianowski, 2nd – Poundstone, 4th – Hollands, 4th – Shaw, 6th – Ortmayer, 7th – Shahlaei, 8th – Ostlund, 9th – Jean & 10th – Pfister.

Points table now looked like this: 1st – Savickas (49), 2nd – Pudzianowski (47), 3rd – Shaw (42), 4th – Poundstone (41), 5th – Ortmayer (35.5), 6th – Hollands (33), 7th – Pfister (24.5), 8th – Shahlaei (22.5), 9th – Ostlund (22) & Jean (12.5).

The last event, as ever, was the Atlas Stones and one in which Savickas could win his first title, or Pudzianowski could win his 6th. With only a point between them, there was also a battle between Shaw and Poundstone for the 3rd podium spot.

Savickas puts down The 5th Stone

The Atlas Stones was won by Travis Ortmayer, as is to be expected, but Savickas got 2nd while Pudzianowski came 5th which meant that for the first time Zydrunas Savickas was the World’s Strongest Man. Shaw coming 4th in this event also meant he kept hold of 3rd place over all. Terry Hollands made an impressive late surge to come 3rd in the Atlas Stones – I truly believe there is a World’s Strongest Man title in this man’s future.

Full results: 1st – Ortmayer, 2nd – Savickas, 3rd – Hollands, 4th – Shaw, 5th – Pudzianowski, 6th – Poundstone, 7th – Pfister, 8th – Ostlund, 9th – Jean, 10th – Shahlaei.

The final standings for the World’s Strongest Man 2009 were as follows:

1st – Zydrunas Savickas – 58 points
2nd – Mariusz Pudzianowski – 53 points
3rd – Brian Shaw – 49 points
4th – Derek Poundstone – 46 points
5th – Travis Ortmayer – 45.5 points
6th – Terry Hollands – 41 points
7th – Phil Pfister – 28.5 points
8th – Dave Ostlund – 25 points
9th – Laurence Shahlaei – 23.5 points
10th – Louis-Philippe Jean – 14.5 points

This was one of the most stacked finals I have ever seen, with a higher level of strength than there has possibly been in any other strongman event before. I was disappointed that we only saw 40 minutes of action thanks to the advert breaks – either increase the length of the broadcast or reduce the number of competitors down to 8 like they used to have. However, if they decide to release a FULL version of the final on DVD, with some footage from the heats, then count me in for a copy.

We never got to see Savickas presented with his trophy, but we did at least see him with it:

Zydrunas Savickas - World's Strongest Man 2009

I’m counting the days until World’s Strongest Man 2010 and I’m looking forward to seeing guys like Poundstone, Ortmayer and Hollands come back and challenge for the title – all are capable of winning.

Now the final has been broadcast I can point you in the direction of a few treats on the official World’s Strongest Man website:

Interview with the World’s Strongest Man 2009 – Zydrunas Savickas
Blog published from Malta during World’s Strongest Man 2009
Photo gallery from World’s Strongest Man 2009

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