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Archive for the ‘Stefan Solvi Petersson’ Category

One of the brightest prospects in Strongman, Stefán Sölvi Pétursson, agreed to answer some questions, and this it what he had to say.

How has 2011 been for you so far?
2011 has been good so far training wise. I have been hitting pb’s on few events so things are looking great.

You are best known for being a professional Strongman, was that always your dream or did you want to be something else when you were younger?
I wanted to be alot of things when I was a kid and strongman was one of them. At the age of 4 I saw Jón Páll, Magnús Ver and Hjalti Árnason doing a strength exhibition at a local grocery store. That gave me a spark that I still feel today and is the reason why I do this sport.

Iceland has had two 4 time champions, who do you consider the better out of Jón Páll Sigmarsson and Magnus Ver Magnusson? For the record, in my opinion Jon Pall Sigmarsson is the greatest strongman ever, the perfect combination of strength and personality that made him so good to watch.
You are putting me in a difficult spot there 🙂 No comment although I’ll say Jón Páll is my idol and has been since I was 4 years old.

How did it feel to be crowned Iceland’s Strongest Man (first in 2009 and again in 2010), a title won by both Sigmarsson and Magnusson in the past?
Felt good. I compete to win.

Just what is it Iceland that produces such great Strongmen?
Viking warrior heritage. Only the strongest survived Iceland’s harsh enviroment during the 1000+ years we have been on this soil.

2010 was your first time in the World’s Strongest Man final, having gone out at the group stages in 2008 and 2009. What was different in 2010, that saw you step up to the next level and compete amongst the World’s elite?
I went to Zydrunas Savickas in Lithuania for training camp in august. Training with him and spending time with him helped me tremendously.

You didn’t just compete in the final, you came in 4th, which is an amazing performance for someone in their first WSM final. How did it feel to do so well and do you think you can do better in 2011?
Getting 4th place felt good but many guys were fighting injuries or coming out of serious ones. But then again that is part of the game so I was happy but still feel like I have so much room to improve. And regarding to 2011 I’ll just say that I want better results and to get stronger and better each year so 2011 is no diffrent. It will be hard but I’ll fight.

When I announced on Twitter that I was going to be interviewing you, Matt (@njstrongman32) said he gives you 3-5 years till you become World’s Strongest Man. What’s your reaction to that?
I’m happy with that of course and would like to thank him for believing in me.

What event is your speciality?
I’m striving for the sport of strongman to be my speciality. But I can be good at stones and want to be the best.

Who do you think is the greatest Strongman ever, the greatest competing today, and apart from yourself, who do you think represents the future of World’s Strongest Man?
But I The greatest strongman ever in my heart is Jón Páll Sigmarsson. But in reality it’s Zydrunas Savickas. I like to believe I am part of the future for WSM. But there are many extremely strong, powerful and talented guys out there. One name stands out today and that is Brian Shaw. I also believe Terry Hollands can do great things as well as Johannes Arsjö and Vytautas Lalas. We have a great guy coming up in Iceland as well in Hafthor Julius Bjornsson just to name some, there are so many more.

Who is your best friend on the Strongman circuit?
We are all friends but I stay most in touch with Johannes, Brian and Terry.

Outside of Strongman, what do you do to relax?
Listen to music, hang around with friends and eat good food.

For anyone out there wanting to follow in your footsteps and become a Strongman, what advice would you give them?
Always remember why you love the sport and that it is for fun.

Sorry, one last question. While watching the final I calculated that you should have got 6 points (5th place) for the Giant Log Lift but were only awarded 5. You should have ended up on 33 points but were only awarded 32. Were you aware of this and was there an explanation why? I wrote about it here.
I had no idea about that. I don’t check out the points really unless I’m fighting for the win.

Thanks to Stefán for taking the time to answer these questions and I’m looking forward to seeing him compete in 2011, and especially in the Atlas Stones – can he become the world’s best?

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As I did last year, I am going to look a little more closely at the points that were earned in this year’s World Strongest Man Final and see what we can gleem from that. So welcome aboard the geek train as we do the 2010 World’s Strongest Man Final ‘by numbers’!

World's Strongest Man 2010 Final Results - Individual Events

As always, click on the above image to see a bigger version, which when numbers are involved is always handy. Aside from the first event where he came a lowly 6th, it’s Zydrunas Savickas’s consistent high scores that handed him the title of World’s Strongest Man 2010. After the Loading Race he won 3 events, came 2nd in another and 3rd in the Atlas Stones. That’s a similar story to Brian Shaw, who also won three events, 1 tied with Savickas, and came 4th in 2 and 3rd in one. They both ended up on the same points and Savickas must have won the competition based on having more 2nd place finishes than Shaw.

Mikhail Koklyaev competed very well in all events, and never achieved less than 5th place, twice coming 2nd and once in 3rd. The three podium winners placed well in all events and as such were quite a way ahead of Stefan Solvi Peturrson in 4th place and the rest of the field. Stefan also performed admirably for a first time finalist and if he can improve on his obviously weak events like the Deadlift and Loading Race then he’ll be a challenger for a podium place in 2011.

Last year there were 5 different event winners, but this year only Savickas, Shaw and Ortmayer won an event. Of course that may have been different if they’d included the Plane Pull because even a Terry Hollands with sub-par training would be favourite to take that victory. You also wouldn’t want to bet against Travis Ortmayer in the Atlas Stones had he not been injured in the Giant Log Lift. In fact, if Shaw hadn’t made that mistake in the Loading Race then he’d have won that event and not only would he have won World’s Strongest Man 2010 but only he and Savickas would have won events, which just goes to show how dominant those two were, amongst a field of injury riddled Strongmen.

When you look at the events involved, there was also no Boat Pull like we saw last year. This is one that Brian Shaw destroyed everyone in last year and one in which Savickas only placed 8th in. Conversely, there was no Farmer’s Walk this year, and as strange as that felt, it’s an event that Savickas win last year and Shaw only came 7th in. It does seem that although the events were different to last year, they were well balanced in their choosing and catered for everyone’s strengths and weaknesses.

I think we’ve dissected those points enough, now let’s look at how people’s position’s changed as the competition progressed.

World's Strongest Man 2010 Final Progress

The most obvious change to me is Travis Ortmayer who is neck and neck for first place for two events but then he plummets after his injury. Interesting that although he was injured he only got overtaken in the last event when Stefan Solvi Pertursson managed to get 2nd place in the Atlas Stones. I think that’s testament to both Ortmayer’s determination and never say die attitude while injured, and the injury affected Hollands and Poundstone not being able to catch him up. While Best and Katona were actually ahead of Hollands and Poundstone I never expected either them to get high enough points scores to catch Ortmayer after his 18 point haul in the first 2 events. That’s not to take away from their amazing efforts, but in the arena of World’s Strongest Man there are some athletes that just stand out as super-human performers above the rest, and for Best and Katona that’s not a level they are at, yet.

Eventual winner Zydrunas Savickas only took the lead after the 4th event, and 3rd place Mikhail Koklyaev was actually ahead of him for the first half of this year’s final. In fact he and Shaw were the only 2 athletes to stay in the top 3 all the way from the first event to the last, with Savickas struggling in 6th and then 4th place for the first 2 events.

If you look at the purple line at the bottom on the far left, that’s where Stefan Solvi Petturson started the final, in last place. Then if you trace that line it starts to rise, and after the 4th event he’d pulled himself up to 5th place. It was then that magnificent performance in the Atlas Stones that saw him go ahead of Travis Ortmayer, who himself finished in 5th place for the 3rd year running.

That about wrap’s up the 2010 World’s Strongest Man – it’s been fun writing about it and it was a great competition. I re-watched the 2001 World’s Strongest Man final last week and it’s given me the motivtion needed to write some blog posts on previous competitions, so expect some of those soon. I was also considering doing my own WSM Hall of Fame. The official World’s Strongest Man Hall of Fame can be found here and so far they have inducted Svend Kalrsen and Mariusz Pudzianowski. I have no delusions of grandeur as to how mine will be perceived but it’s a bit of fun and my way of acknowledged the greats of this much over-looked and amazing sport. As always, I welcome your thoughts, so I’ll see you in the comments!

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World’s Strongest Man (WSM) 2010 was the first year without the legendary Mariusz Pudzianowski since 2001, and his absence then was because he was in prison for assault. For anyone who has watched WSM over then last decade you’ll know that Pudzianowski has been the man to beat, winning it a record breaking 5 times. Last year he did get beaten, and this year that man is now the man to beat; Zydrunas Savickas, World’s Strongest Man 2009.

Before we get going on the actual final I think it’s worth mentioning that the coverage, while good, needs to be longer. Even though there were only 6 events as opposed to usual 7, we still saw too little footage. An hour slot with advert breaks is just not enough, and it either needs to go back to BBC (now that Bravo is gone that could be an option) or it needs a 90 minute slot, at least. The only time we got to see Derek Poundstone was for a fleeting second during a run down of the Overhead Log Lift.

Keeping with the UK coverage and Zoe Salmon was much better as a presenter this year, and seemed to be asking better questions and being every bit the presenter and less of the cheerleader role she seemed to adopt last year. At World’s Strongest Man Experience and at Giants Live it was Caroline Pearce who took over the presenting role, and I’d be interested to now what the reasons were for going back to Zoe Salmon for the finals.

Right, on with the final and all that happened. I’ll not be doing screenshots of results and leaderboards for this as with 10 competitors there would just be too many! I’m going to include my own Excel powered creations – I bet you can’t wait!

The 10 finalists, in order of when they qualified, were as follows:

Brian Shaw
Stefan Solvi Petursson
Derek Poundstone
Terry Hollands
Ervin Katona
Travis Ortmayer
Zydrunas Savickas
Nick Best
Jason Bergmann
Mikhail Koklyaev

The first event of World’s Strongest Man 2010 was the Loading Race, but unlike in the heats, it was out of the sand and into the water. So not only did the athletes have to haul themselves and the sandbags through the water, but wet through those 120 KG sandbags would increase in weight to 150 KG, just to make it all that much harder.

Ortmayer v Hollands

We joined the action with Mikhail Koklyaev in the lead and Derek Poundstone sitting in 5th out of the 6 competitors who had gone previously. At this point I knew Poundstone’s injury must be affecting him and that his chances of challenging for WSM 2010 were minimal, and I was gutted. His injury was revealed in a video on Youtube which you can watch below.

The first race we actually got to see was Terry Hollands against Travis Ortmayer and the Texan was on form as he blew away Hollands and Koklyaev’s previous best to sit in first place with a time of 58.72 seconds. Then came the turn of Shaw and Savickas, and Big Brian Shaw looked set to win but he let go of the last sack too early and it fell to the floor, meaning he had to pick it up again. This mistake meant he slipped to 3rd place and lost valuable points. Surprisingly defending champion Zydrunas Savickas struggled and actually ended up falling into the water and only managing to load 2 sacks and come in in 6th place. Would Big Z be losing his title as the World’s Strongest Man?

Loading Race Results & Standings

The second event was the keg toss which saw Terry Hollands come unstuck when it appeared he was too close to the bar he was trying to get the kegs over and eventually only managed 6 barrels, one less than the 7 that Derek Poundstone got over. This was further proof that injuries, and lack of training due to those injuries, were playing a big part in this year’s competition.

The Keg Toss

Mikhail Koklyaev had set a great time of 27.61 seconds to get all 8 kegs over, which was bettered by both Travis Ortmayer and Zydrunas Savickas, the latter setting an astonishing time of just 21.19 seconds. Then came Brian Shaw, and overcoming the impossible he set a time of 20.75 seconds to beat Savickas and win the event. Just then I mis-typed and wrote beast instead of beat, but Shaw’s performance was beast like, and incredibly impressive.

The Americans were topping the table after 2 events with Ortmayer and Shaw sharing the lead on 18 points. Koklyaev was an impressive 3rd – impressive for his first time at World’s Strongest Man but not wholly unexpected given his successful past in power lifting and his previous performances in the Arnold Strongman Classic. Seeing Poundstone in 9th place was disappointing, and at this point I realised I would have to wait until 2011 for him to be crowned World’s Strongest Man, and the same could be said for Hollands in joint 6th place.

Keg Toss Results & Standings

The 3rd event saw the return to World’s Strongest Man of an old favourite, the Giant Log Press, and a fierce competition between some incredibly powerful athletes. It was good to see that despite being injured, Derek Poundstone was able to secure 3rd place with a lift of 185 KG. However, this event was really only about 2 people; Zydrunas Savickas and Mikhail Koklyaev. These two went lift for lift, with Savickas looking the more comfortable of the two it has to be said. This guy doesn’t use his legs, but relies on his unimaginably strong shoulders and arms to lift this branch-less trees!

Koklyaev Lifts 202.5 KG

202.5 KG was the weight at which both Koklyaev and Savickas were able to complete, and then it was on to 210 KG, which I’m sure if lifted would be a new world record, the 3rd or 4th of this event so far. I may have to re-watch the final to get clarification on that but I’m sure the old World Record fo the Giant Log Lift was somewhere well below 200 KG.

Savickas Lifts 210KG

With 210 KG loaded onto that log, it proved too much for Koklyaev, while Savickas lifted it above his head with as little effort as the previous weights. The Big Z won the event and clawed back some much needed points. Some more performances like this would be needed if he was to retain his title.

Another happening of note during this event, and not a happy one, was Travis Ortmayer injuring his ankle. For a guy that was sitting in joint first place after the first 2 events, this was a travesty, and you could see how disappointed he was. Before and during, World’s Strongest Man 2010 was claiming it’s victims in high quantity. I just hope all these guys can recover to full strength as quickly as possible.

Giant Log Lift Results & Standings

Now this is the point where I think World’s Strongest Man made a mistake with the points. Before the Giant Log Lift Stefan Solvi Peturrson was on 7 points, and he came in 5th in this event, on his own with nobody sharing the points. This should give him 6 points and a new total of 13 points, as I have done above.

Stefan's Missing Point!

As you can see from the official results and standings, Stefan should have been on 13 points after 3 events and not 12. This mistake was not rectified as the events progressed and though it makes no difference to the final positions, Stefan actually earned one more point than he was credited with!

That mistake aside, Brian Shaw remains in first place, but now tied on points with World’s Strongest Man newcomer Mikhail Koklyaev. Closing in, and looking more like the champion from last year, is Zydrunas Savickas, as the top of the leader board starts to get very close and crowded.

Next up was the Whiskey Barrel Carry which I am still a little confused about. It involves a wooden frame with a huge barrel attached to each side. Now the commentators referred to the total weight as 350 KG, however, each of the barrels had 300 KG stamped on the side, which would have made 700 KG in total. I’m inclined to think the commentators were correct as surely 700 KG would just be too heavy to pick up and carry along the course?

Whiskey Barrel Carry

My heart went out to Travis Ortmayer as he tried so hard, but with his injury from the previous event he could only manage 6.4 metres. The desperation and anguish was hard to see as he his fists came crashing down on the barrels in frustration. Here’s a guy who trained so hard for World’s Strongest Man 2010, losing a lot of bulk to prepare for the high altitude conditions, and a freak injury was the thing that was going to stop him reaching his dream. Although you’d excuse him if he did, Ortmayer didn’t come last, as Jason Bergmann only carried the barrels a distance of 2.2 metres.

This was the event where Zydrunas Savickas started to get back into championship contention as he won his second event in a row. He didn’t just win, he beat Nick Best’s time by over 6.5 seconds, which to put it into perspective is over 20% faster, and this from a guy who had an injured quad muscle! But how about Nick Best in second place – not bad a for a guy in his first ever World’s Strongest Man final. Stefan Solvi Petuursson in 3rd was also a terrific performance, and showing us that Viking Power is still very much alive.

Whiskey Barrel Carry Results & Standings

We were now in a familiar position, with Zydrunas Savickas leading the pack, though Shaw and Koklyaev were still chomping at his heals. These three, barring any disaster, were the likely podium finishers – just in what position each would sit was still to be determined. This is also where Stefan Solvi Peturrson’s missing point comes into play as WSM had him with 20 points and tied for 5th place, but with that missing point he’s now actually on 21 points, and in 5th place on his own, with Nick Best in 6th place.

The 5th event saw the guys lifting a car in a shoot out to see who could get the most reps in a deadlift competition. With no Mark Felix all eyes would surely be on Zydrunas Savickas to win a 3rd event in succession. The seriousness of Derek Poundstone’s injury was never so evident as in this event where he finished in last place with just 1 rep. I have no doubt he’ll be battling with the best next year, but to see a guy who finished 2nd in 2008, and almost won, struggling so badly, was hard to watch.

 

Ortmayer v Koklyaev in the Deadlift

The different injuries affect people in different ways and often depends on the type of event. This was evident in the deadlift, as both Hollands and Ortmayer battled through injuries, and lack of training from a previous injury in Holland’s case, to put in a great effort of 8 reps to share 5th place. Mikhail Koklyaev managed 10 reps and set the target for the final paring Shaw and Savickas to beat. It seemed like more of a struggle for Shaw, who at 6′ 6″ has a long way to pull that car up, but both he and Savickas ended up with 11 reps, sharing the points for first place.

 

Deadlift Results & Standings

The top 4 didn’t change position after the deadlift, but Nick Best was slowly climbing the leader board after a shaky start. Jason Bergmann looked very impressive in the heats but wasn’t bringing that level of performance to the final, that or the rest of the field were just that doing that much better.

So, 5 event done and it was down to The Atlas Stones to determine who would be crowned World’s Strongest Man 2010. At this point it looked like a head to head between Shaw and Savickas. No disrespect to Koklyaev but these are 2 of the best Stone lifters in the sport, and with Hollands, Ortmayer and Poundstone injured there weren’t any word renowned stone lifters left to challenge those 2. For the rest of the field it was an event that was going to maybe lift them a place or two, but certainly was being fought for pride.

Savickas v Shaw in the Atlas Stones

That moment captured above is the moment that Brain Shaw won the Atlas Stones, but not World’s Strongest Man 2010. That honour went once again to Zydrunas Savickas, who finished on the same amount of points but won on track back, having won more events than Shaw. Could it be that the mistake Shaw made in the very first event, and the points he dropped, lost him the chance to be called the World’s Strongest Man? Savickas came third in the Atlas Stones, and that was because Stefan Solvi Peturrson, the man with the missing point, had a storming event and managed to get all 5 stones up in just over a second slower than Shaw, but almost 1.5 seconds faster than Savickas to grab second place. It seems we have a new man on the Atlas Stones scene, and he hails from Iceland, as so many great stone lifters in the past have. Jason Bergmann was determined to prove me wrong and came in a very good 5th place. You know an injury is bad when Travis Ortmayer, The Texas Stoneman, only manages to lift 3 stones and ends up in 9th place. All credit to Terry Hollands, who obviously nowhere near 100% fit, still got all 5 stones up, though 6th place would have been something of a personal disappointment for him.

Atlas Stones Results & Final Standings

There’s no doubt that injury deprived us of an even better final, but the battle between Shaw and Savickas, with Koklyaev not far behind, was the story of 2010 and was right down to the wire, as close as it can possibly get. With more experience behind him I have no doubt that Brian Shaw is a future World’s Strongest Man, in fact if you read back you’ll see he was my pick for champion this year. Savickas had a slight injury, but still won, and that’s saying something – to call this guy strong is like saying Jon Pall Sigmarsson was outgoing, the guy is a behemoth of power! Looking at the rest and the stand out permanence for me is Stefan Solvi Peturrson, who got 33 points, not the 32 he was credited with. In his first final he came 4th, and beat Zydrunas Savickas, and 7 other of the strongest men in the world in the Atlas Stones. He also has the charisma and energy we’ve come to expect from an Icelander competing in Strongman, and is definitely a name for the future.

That’s it for another year (for the WSM finals anyway, there;s plenty more Strongman competitions coming up in 2011), World’s Strongest Man 2010 was a great competition to watch, in both the heats and the final. I’m hoping a DVD can be produced so we can see the final in full and maybe some more action from the heats too.  I will be back with some further analysis of the final, but in the meantime I’d love to hear your thoughts on the final and what I’ve written.

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I have the inlaws arriving in a matter of minutes so a detailed update will come at a later date. For now it’s a big congratulations to Zydrunas Savickas for winning World’s Strongest Man 2010 and repeating the success of last year. Huge congratulations to Brian Shaw who came in second and on the same points but lost out on count back.

Zydrunas Savickas - World's Strongest Man 2010

The  biggest disappointments for me were injury based; Derek Poundstone came in 9th which was disastrous by his standards. Travis Ortmayer came in 5th for the 3rd year running, but sustained an ankle injury half way through the final. Then there was Terry Hollands who came in 8th, obviously still feeling the effects of his bicep injury.

Now I am not avoiding spoilers then please leave lots of comments and let me hear your thoughts on this year’s competition. Who impressed you the lost? Who did you expect more from? Did the right man win? Did the competition suffer without Mariusz Pudzianowski?

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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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