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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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28 year old Brian Shaw burst onto the Strongman scene in 2005 and made it to the World’s Strongest Man heats in 2008. In 2009 he came 3rd in the final and just last year he came 2nd to Zyrdunas Savickas. At 6′ 8″ he’s hard to miss, but Brian is as friendly as he is strong, and as such agreed to answer a few questions. Here’s what he had to say.

Congratulations on your superb performance in the 2010 World’s Strongest Man Final – how did it feel to come so close to winning and only lose on count back?

The way the 2010 WSM ended was very tough. To end in a tie on points and loose on a countback was a bad feeling. Now that it is over and done I have tried to take the positive points out of the contest and I will be working to improve for this years WSM.

How many times have you watched the video of the Loading Race and wondered ‘if only’?
Watching the loading race was very hard. I really did think that bag was going to stay on the platform and everytime I watch it somewhere in my mind I know that cost me my first WSM title.

In 2008 you failed to make the final and then went on to come 3rd in 2009 and 2nd in 2010. What did you do differently to make such a huge improvement?
I have learned so much since 2008. I actually cut about 10-12 lbs going into WSM that year which was a huge mistake! I know a lot better how to train for WSM and I am comfortable with the contest format which also helps a lot.

Brian Shaw winning the Boat Pull at World's Strongest Man 2009

Photo courtesy of www.theworldsstrongestman.com

Was Strongman something you always wanted to become involved in, and if not, what made you decide it was for you?

I watched WSM from when I was very young. At that time I never knew I would be able to compete in WSM. I decided to start when I was 24 after I finished playing basketball and needed something to pour my competitive fire into. It was a very natual fit for me and has been awesome.

You were the Strongman Super Series Overall Champion in 2009 and 2010, are you confident of making that 3 in a row this year?

Winning the WSM Super Series the last two years has been great and I am looking forward to defending the title in 2011.

What one event would you be confident of beating anyone in the world in?
Right now I feel like I have a few events that I can win in any contest but my best event is the Atlas Stones. Lots of other guys have tried to lay claim to the title king of stones, or best in the world at atlas stones but I never have. I just go win the stones and let my performance do the talking. My track record in the past two years really speaks for itself on the stones.

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?

I really dont know who I would say is the best strongman ever. There have been several guys who have been very dominant during their careers in this sport. I would name a few as being Bill Kazmaier, Jón Páll Sigmarsson, Magnús Ver Magnússon, Mariusz Pudzianowski, and Zydrunas Savickas. There are several other men who are close to these guys but in their respective era’s they were very dominant.

As far as the future of strongman I think it is very bright. There are a number of guys who will be battling it out for the next 5 years.

You were my pick to win World’s Strongest Man 2010, and you are my pick to win World’s Strongest Man 2011. What will you do to make sure you go one better this year?

Well thank you very much for the vote. I learned a lot from the past two years about WSM and what it will take to win WSM. This year I plan on doing less contests to make sure that I train properly for WSM and come in ready to win.

Who is your best friend on the Strongman circuit?

I am friends with a lot of the guys. I talk a lot with Dave Ostlund and Jason Bergmann in the USA. Overseas I talk with Terry Hollands, Stefan Solvi the most.

What do you see yourself doing after Strongman? With your height and size, would you ever consider a career in pro wrestling?

I am not sure what I will do after strongman. I still have a lot of goals to achieve so when I get those done I will think about what comes next.

Outside of Strongman, what do you do to relax?

I like to do a lot of things for fun. Movies, hanging with friends, going out to eat, etc.

For anyone out there wanting to follow in your footsteps and become a Strongman, what advice would you give them?

Train hard. There is no substitute for hard work. Anything worth having will be worth working for!

Catch up with Brian at his official website: shawstrength.com, on Twitter (@shawstrength) and on his Facebook Page.

Thanks to Brian for answering our questions, and so quickly! We wish him the best of luck for 2011, where we think he’ll be crowned the 2011 World’s Strongest man – what do you think?

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According to Laurance Shahlaei’s official website he stands 6′ 2″ tall and weighs 140kg, but more importantly he’s England’s Strongest Man 2009 and the 9th Strongest Man in the World as of World’s Strongest Man 2009. Laurence was kind enough to take the time answer a few questions, and here is what he had to say.

Laurence winning the Squat Lift in his WSM heat

Did you watch World’s Strongest Man as a child and who were your favourites?

Yes I did. I have been a huge fan of WSM (World’s Strongest Man) since I was very young. Back then my favourites were Gerrit Badenhorst and Magnus Samuelsson

How did you get into the world of Strongman?

After watching BSM (Britain’s Strongest Man) and WSM in 2004 I got the bug and decided that’s what I want to do so I joined a gym in the January 05 and entered my first comp in the summer.

Can you remember your first Strongman competition and how did you do?

Yes, it was a novice contest with over 30 athletes taking part. I came 8th and was happy with my performance. I had never done any strongman events before the show.

How did it feel to just miss out on the World’s Strongest Man 2008 when you came 3rd in your heat?

I was a little down but it was good for me not to make the final first time as I was much more motivated to improve for 2009.

You won England’s Strongest Man 2009 – was that a tough competition for you and what was it like to be crowned champion?

This was a great win for me as I won by a large margin over some of the best guys in the UK but it was a little disappointing because Terry Hollands and Mark Felix didn’t compete so until we have all the top guys in one contest we won’t know who is the best.

In your heat of the World’s Strongest Man 2009 you dominated to win very easily – what was going through your mind when you saw just how much better you performed than the other 5 guys?

At WSM 08 I told myself to just focus on one event at a time and that’s what I have been doing ever since so I didn’t try to think of how great I was doing. At this level if you start thinking your great you can get lazy and the guys are so good you can go from 1st to last very quickly. My goal was always to place high on the first 4events as they were good events for me and I knew I needed to perform well on them to make the final.

You came 9th in your first World’s Strongest Man final in Malta in 2009, how do you think you did and where could you have done better?

To be top 10 in the world is fantastic but it’s still 8 places lower than my goal so as much as enjoyed it there is still lots of work to do. I need to really improve throwing, stones and my over head to beat the top guys as these are events I am dropping a lot of points on.

You have improved probably more than any other Strongman on the circuit in the last 12 months, can we expect the same progression in the next 12 months and what are your goals for the future?

Thank you. As long as I don’t get any bad injuries I will keep improving for a few years yet. My ultimate goal is to win WSM. I would also love to compete in the Arnolds.

Who in your opinion is the greatest Strongman of all time?

Mariusz Pudzianowski. He took the sport to a new level and he has won WSM more times than anyone else.

Thanks for your time and congratulations on a great performance at World’s Strongest Man 2009.

Thanks 🙂

Big thanks to Laurence once again, and for more information you can visit biglozstrongman.com – the home of Laurence Shahlaei, future World’s Strongest Man?

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