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Archive for the ‘Heats’ Category

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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So this is it, the 5th and final heat which will determine the last 2 competitors who will make it through to the final of The World’s Strongest Man 2009. Shown on Bravo TV in the UK on Monday 1st February and with these 6 guys vying for those 2 qualification places:

Andrus Murumets (Estonia) – 2nd in Europe’s Strongest Man 2007
Christian Savoie (Canada) – Canada’s Strongest Man 2009
Dave Ostlund (America) – 4th in World’s Strongest Man 2008
Florian Trimpl (Germany) – Germany’s Strongest Man 2009
Jarek Dymek (Poland) – Europe’s Strongest Man 2005
Terry Hollands (England) – 3rd in World’s Strongest Man 2007

I have to admit that going into this heat I was a little worried about Terry Hollands. He didn’t do very well in last year’s final and I know he’d been plagued by injury last year – had he overcome that injury and could he compete with the likes of Dave Ostlund? The first event as always was The Medley, which saw Dave Ostlund come 3rd in his mini-heat of 3, and 5th overall – not a great start.

World's Strongest Man Heat 5 - The Medley

In the photo above is Andrus Murumets winning the first event in first ever appearance in World’s Strongest Man – great effort. In second is Terry Hollands who you may notice is walking sideways – I’m almost sure that if he’d have gone backwards like the other guys he would have won. Christian Savoie came in 3rd, Florian Trimpl 4th and Jarek Dymek 6th.

The second event was the Truck Pull and one that Terry Hollands was the favourite for. He didn’t disappoint, finishing the course in just 40.50 seconds which was not only the fastest time in this heat but was fastest time of anyone in any of the heats – a Herculean effort which was proving my doubts unfounded.

Terry Hollands in the Truck Pull

Savoie, Ostlund and Murumets came in 3rd, 4th and 5th and though they were 5 seconds behind Hollands they were only within just over a second of each other. Trimpl came in 5th with a time of 57.43 seconds, leaving Dymek in last having only managed to pull the truck 16.2 meters.

After 2 events Terry Hollands was in first place with 11 points, Murumets and Savoie in 2nd with 9 points, Ostlund trailing in 4th with 6 points, Trimpl in 5th with 5 points and Dymek was in last place with just 2 points.

The 3rd event was the Dead Lift and Terry Hollands had a lot to live up to because the 3 Brits in the previous heats (Mark Felix, Darren Sadler and Laurence Shahlaei) had all won the Dead Lift in their heat.

Terry Hollands wins the Dead Lift

As you can see, Terry Hollands became the 4th Brit in this year’s World’s Strongest Man heats to win the Dead Lift and was the only man in this heat to complete all 7 reps. Murumets, Ostlund and Savoie all managed 6 reps coming in 2nd to 4th respectively, while Dymek and Trimpl managed 5 reps to come in 5th and 6th.

The 4th event saw a straight shootout between Hollands and Ostlund for the top spot, with Ostlund gaining the advantage in his favourite event, and one that he is known for being the best at. While he completed all 5 fingers Hollands stopped at 4 – knowing he was beaten and that the 4 previous guys had all only managed 4 (3 in the case of Savoie) fingers in a slower time than his, Hollands played the smart game. This is something which co-presenter Zoe Salmon put to Terry Hollands in quite a patronising way when she declared You’re quite smart, for a Strongman! I think the least said about that the better! Dymek, Murumets, Trimpl and Savoie made up the places from 3rd to 6th place.

Fingal's Fingers

After 4 events Hollands was way out in 1st place with 22 points, Murumets in 2nd with 17 points, Ostlund in 3rd with 16 points, Savoie in 4th with 15 points and Trimpl and Dymek shared 5th place with 8 points.

The 5th event was the Keg Toss which saw none of the 6 competitors get all 8 kegs over the bar. Dymek came closest with 7, with Hollands, Murumets and Ostlund sharing 2nd place with 6. Trimpl and and Savoie came in 5th and 6th with 5 and 4 kegs respectively.

Jarek Dymek poised to in the Keg Toss

After 5 events Terry Hollands had qualified for the final with Murumets and Ostlund left to fight it out for the second qualifying spot with only the Atlas Stones to go. It was Ostlund who ended up winning, with Murumets, Savoie and Hollands coming 2nd to 4th – all 4 men managed all 5 stones. Trimpl and Dymek could only manage 4 stones to come in 5th and 6th.

Dave Ostlund wins the Atlas Stones

With all 6 events completed the final table looked like this:

World's Strongest Man Heat 5 Standings

Not sure what the tiebreaker was that Ostlund won, it wasn’t shown on TV! They actually said on the broadcast that he won via track back which I assume means that because he won more events he went through. Anyway, another dominant performance from a Brit, as Terry Hollands and Dave Ostlund go through, which leaves the full line up for next week’s World’s Strongest man 2009 final looking like this:

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

That’s a pretty awesome final and there are so many guys in good form. I’d say the winner is between Poundstone, Savickas, Pudzianowski and Hollands – add in an Ortmayer recovered from flu and who knows? Excited about next week’s final? You bet, and then some!

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The penultimate heat of the 2009 World’s Strongest Man was shown on Bravo TV) in the UK this past Monday and the line up looked like this:

Agris Kazelniks (Latvia) – 1st World’s Strongest Man appearance
Ettiene Smit (South Africa) – 1st World’s Strongest Man appearance
Johannes Arsjo (Sweden) – Sweden’s Strongest Man 2009
Laurence Shahlaei (England) – UKSC England’s Strongest Man 2009
Richard Skog (Norway) – Norway’s Strongest Man 2009
Travis Ortmayer (America) – 5th at World’s Strongest Man 2008

My predictions going into this were that Ortmayer and Skog would come in 1st and 2nd, by a long way – so let’s see how that prediction turned out.

First event was the Medley which saw Johannes Arsjo come in first, narrowly beating England’s Laurence Shahlaei who put in a great performance to come 2nd. I have to admit that during last year’s heats I wasn’t that impressed with Laurence and was probably overly harsh. He said in an interview with Zoe Salmon after the Medley that he had come back a lot stronger this year and so far he was proving that to be correct.

Zoe Salmon interviews Laurence Shahlaei

Despite suffering from flu, something that they mentioned on the programme and he confirmed to me himself, Travis Ortmayer finished in 3rd with Skog, Smit and Kazelniks finishing 4tf to 6th respectively.

Laurence Shahlaei pulling a truck!

Yes that is another photo of Laurence Shahlaei, this time in the truck pull….which he won! yes, the man who I disregarded last year had just picked up 11 points from the first 2 events. In this case he beat Richard Skog into 2nd and Travis Ortmayer into 3rd, again. Arsjo came 4th, Kazelniks 5th and Smit 6th.

With this amazing show of strength Shahlaei was 2 points clear of Arsjo in 2nd, with Ortmayer and Skog in 3rd with 8, and Kazelniks and Smit in 5th with 3 points each. An impressive start for the Englishman, in only his 2nd World’s Strongest man, but could he continue this awesome pace?

The simple answer to that is yes, and then some. Shahlaei was the only one to complete all 7 reps in the Squat Lift to take home maximum points again. This was looking like a performance of domination to rival Derek Poundstone in Heat 1! Smit, Kazelniks and Arsjo trailed in 2nd with 6 reps, Skog 5th with 4 lifts and a flu riddled Ortmayer languished in last place with just 2 lifts.

Laurence Shahlaei the Super Squatter!

While Shahlaei was having an amazing heat, the brightest prospect in World’s Strongest Man, Travis Ortmayer, was looking to be on the way to missing out on a place in the final.

The 4th event is one that usually sorts the men from the boys, though none of these guys would ever be classed as boys! Guess what? Yup, Laurence Shahlaei won again! This was as good a performance as I’d seen by anyone in any of the heats – the new standard bearer for UK World’s Strongest Man was making himself known and his name is Laurence Shahlaei. Ettiene Smit was just over a second behind in 2nd place with Travis Ortmayer getting another 3rd place, ahead of Kazelniks in 4th, Skog in 5th and Arsjo in 6th. All 6 completed the course in under 35 seconds with Shahlaei needing only 21.87 seconds, a very fast time by anyone’s standards.

The Car Walk

After just 4 events Laurence Shahlaei had 23 points and had qualified for the final! Arsjo, Ortmayer and Smit all had 13 points and Skog had 12. With Kazelniks on 10 points anyone of the other 5 athletes had a chance of grabbing that 2nd qualifying place.

Disaster struck in the Keg Toss as Travis Ortmayer hit a wall at 6 kegs, in an event where he usually excels. this was only enough to get him another 3rd place, while Etienne Smit won and was the only guy to get all 8 kegs over the bar. Arsjo came in 2nd, Kazelniks and Skog in 4th with 4 and last was Shahlaei who having already qualified didn’t exert himself too much, wisely.

Weeeeee!

Going into the last event Smit was on 19 points, Arsjo on 18 and Ortmayer on 17. Ortmayer, known as the Texas Stoneman, lived up to that name by winning his favourite event. It was to be his day as Etienne Smit struggled and could only manage 3 stones to finish in 6th place. Skog in 2nd and Arsjo in 3rd with 4 stones each, Kazelniks in 4th with 4 stones and even Shahlaei threw 3 stones up to finish in 5th.

Ortmayer WINS!

Ortmayer got that 2nd qualifying place at the last moment. Hopefully he’ll have recovered from his flu by the time the final comes around and his full potential can be reached. Massive congratulations to Laurence Shahlaei who was a class apart from the rest of the field on the day and did himsef and England proud – onto the finals! the placings for this 4th heat finished as follows:

Shahlaei and Ortmayer Qualify!

the 5th and final heat is on Bravo TV next Monday and features ‘Big’ Terry Hollands, the 3rd place Strongman at World’s Strongest Man 2007.

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Very late with this blog post and for that I apologise, though to make for it this is the first post on the all new The 5th Stone blog! My own personal blog was becoming too World’s Strongest Man oriented so a break-away was necessary. It’s a bit generic at the moment but fear not, customisation is coming!

Heat 2 of World’s Strongest Man 2009 was on Bravo TV (in the UK) this past Monday and saw the appearance of 5-time champion Mariusz Pudzianowski, bidding to make it six! The rest of the field looked like this:

Phil Pfister (America) – World’s Strongest Man 2006 (beating Pudzianowski into 2nd)
Alexander Klyushev – 1st World’s Strongest Man appearance
Darren Sadler (England) – 3rd appearance at World’s Strongest Man
Ervin Katona (Serbia) – 1st World’s Strongest Man appearance
Jimmy Laureys (Belgium) – 1st World’s Strongest Man appearance

As always the first event was the Medley which saw Pudzianowski and Pfister pitted against each other, and in a show of intent from Phil Pfister who beat the reigning champion by almost 2 seconds.

Pfister beats Pudzianowski

The other 4 competitors were a long way off, though only 5 seconds separated 3rd to 6th place. Katona managed 3rd place, Sadler 4th, Laureys 5th and Klyushev in 6th.

The 2nd event was the truck pull, and though he didn’t win, it’s worth highlighting newcomer Ervin Katona’s performance. Reminiscent of the Truck Pull of days gone by, Katona threw down the rope in front of him and just pulled the truck using his weight and brute strength and he strode into 3rd place with the truck attached to the harness – old school!

Truck Pull - Ervin Katona style!

Once again Phil Pfister won the event, and once again Mariusz Pudzianowski could only manage 2nd. Jarek Dymek did mention back at the Giants Live Qualifying Tour that Pudzianowski had badly injured his arm – was this affecting his performance in this qualifying heat? Sadler again finished in 4th but the bottom positions were reversed as Klyushev was 5th and Laureys 6th.

After 2 events Pfister led Pudzianowski by 2 points with 12 points. Katona was 3rd with 8, Sadler 4th with 6 and Klyushev equal 5th with 3 points.

Officially the shortest and lightest competitor in World’s Strongest Man 2009, Darren Sadler didn’t let that stop him putting in an awesome performance in winning the Dead Lift, even beating the mighty Mariusz Pudzianowski by nearly 2 seconds en route to completing all 7 reps in 35.19 seconds. For the 3rd event running Katona came 3rd, Klyushev was 4th and Laureys was 5th. Pfister, in his notoriously worst event, only managed 3 reps to come in 6th.

Darren Sadler wins the Dead Lift

Pudzianowski was at the top of the leader board where he liked to be, 3 points ahead of Pfister as we head into the 4th event; The Car Walk. In 75 seconds the competitors had to carry the 451Kg car 25 yards – quickest time wins. Simple, right? For Phil Pfister it seemed to be as he got back to winning ways, grabbing the maximum 6 points – just squeezing past Pudzianowski. Klyushev, Katona and Sadler also finished the course to get 3rd, 4th and 5th places respectively but Laureys collapsed, unhurt, after just a few meters to get 6th place.

Phil Pfister in this season's 'red number'

Thanks to the Car Lift, Pfister had 19 points and was in 2nd place, now only 1 point behind Pudzianowski. Katona was 3rd with 15, Sadler 4th with 14, Klyushev 5th with 10 and Laureys 6th with 6 points.

None of the competitors could come anywhere near Derek Poundstone’s 9 lifts in the Dumbbell Press from Heat 1. Pfister guaranteed his place in the finals, by getting another 1st place with 6 lifts, though he shared that 1st place with Klyushev. Sadler was 3rd with 4 lifts while Pudzianowski and Katona shared 4th place with 3 lifts. Laureys languished in last place, not managing even 1 lift.

Pudzianowski comes 4th in the Dumbbell Press

Pfister was now through to the final and barring a disaster Pudzianowski would be too, though statistically Sadler could qualify too. Though Pfister didn’t need to try, he did, and demolished the other 5 with a time of 24.88 for all 5 stones. Pudzianowski managed all 5 stones in a time of 33.91 seconds, giving him 2nd place and the other place in the final with Pfister. The others all managed 4 stones with 3rd to 6th being Sadler, Katona, Klyushev and Laureys.

Phil Pfister Wins!

After 6 gruelling events the final standings looked like this:

WSM 2009 Heat 3

Interesting to note that while he was consistent enough to get 2nd place and qualify for the final, Mariusz Pudzianowski didn’t win one single event. Is he injured, is not on good form, or was he just taking it easy and saving himself for the final? Time will tell.

Heat 4 is on Monday 25th January here in the UK and sees Giants Live rivals Richard Skog and Travis Ortmayer facing off again.

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As a reminder, here is the Heat 1 report. Last night on Bravo TV was the Heat 2 of the World’s Strongest Man 2009, with the following 6 competitors hoping to come in the top 2 and qualify for the final.

Brian Shaw (America) – 2nd World’s Strongest Man appearance, finished 3rd in his heat last year
Mark Felix (England) – Arguably the best Dead Lifter in all of World’s Strongest Man
Marshall White (America) – 1st World’s Strongest Man appearance
Martin Wildauer (Austria) – 1st ever Austrian in World’s Strongest Man, also his 1st appearance
Stefan Solvi Petursson (Iceland) – Twice Iceland’s Strongest Man in 2008 and 2009
Zydrunas Savickas (Lithuania) – Runner up in 2002, 2003 and 2004

Affectionately referred to as the ‘Heat of Death’, and with Savickas, Shaw and Felix in it that’s understandable, and even Petursson, as Iceland’s Strongest Man has been making a name for himself. The first event was the Medley which saw the returning Savickas take the victory and all 6 points. Not the most athletic looking, it would be easy to discount Savickas’s chances but anyone who has seen him before will know that his stature hides a great deal of athleticism. His experience came into play as he and Brian Shaw came to the platform with the last keg at the same time but Savickas made sure his keg went down base first so he could release his hands before Shaw.

Zydrunas Savickas gets maximum points

Felix came in 3rd, with Wildauer, Petursson and White making up the 4th – 6th positions. The second event was the Truck Pull, where contestants have to pull a 20 tonne truck 25 metres with a time limit set at 75 seconds. Brian Shaw and Zydrunas Savickas blew the rest of the guys away by over 8 seconds, which saw Shaw winning the event in a time of 42.19 seconds, just edging Savickas’s time of 43.53 into 2nd. The rest of the guys were Petursson in 3rd, Wildauer 4th, Felix 5th and White 3rd.

At this point Savickas and Shaw were joint 1st with 11 points. Felix, Petursson and Wildauer were joint 3rd with 6 points, and White was in 6th place with just 2 points.

Mark Felix wins the Dead Lift

Just 3 tenths of a second separated Mark Felix and Zydrunas Savickas as both set times for getting all 7 lifts, but it was the Englishman who came out on top with a time of 31.36 seconds. Brian Shaw and Martin Wildauer also managed all 7 lifts to come in 3rd and 4th, with Petursson coming in 5th with 6 lifts and White last with 4 lifts.

Old favourite Fingal’s Fingers was the 4th event, and once again it came down to Savickas and Shaw, with the Lithuanian just edging beating Shaw, this time by less than 3 tenths of a second. Only Marshall White could match these two to complete all 5 Fingers to come in 3rd, with Petursson, Felix and Wildauer all managing 4 Fingers. Apologies if this sounds like a Kit Kat eating contest, I assure it wasn’t!

Fingal's Fingers

After 4 events Savickas was 1st with 22 points, Shaw in 2nd with 20 points, Felix in 3rd with 14 points, Petursson in 4th with 11 points, Wildauer in 5th with 10 points and White in 6th place with 7 points.

The 5th event was the Keg toss which saw the competitors on the beach throwing Kegs over a bar which was 16.5 feet from the ground – high, especially when throwing a keg over your head and behind and when said Keg gets heavier with every two Kegs! Petursson, Savickas and then Shaw was the order for 1st, 2nd and 3rd – all managing to dispense of the 8 Kegs. Wildauer and White managed 5 and Felix only managed 4. Savickas and Shaw, with 16 and 25 points respectively, had at this point qualified for the final with one event still to go. Petursson (17), Felix (15) and Wildauer (12) were battling for 3rd while White (9.5) was just fighting for pride but had made a good showing in his first appearance in World’s Strongest Man.

Atlas Stones

Though both had already qualified, the fight between Savickas and Shaw was for who would top the group – won by Savickas who managed all 5 stones in 28.20 seconds, Shaw just a step behind in 29.27. Petursson got 3rd in this event and 3rd in the heat, while White managed 4th. Felix was in 5th, after lifting 6 stones! The first fell off the platform so he had to lift and place it again! Wildauer came in 6th, the only man not get all 5 stones, managing only 4.

After 6 events, the final placings looked like this:

World's Strongest Man Heat 2 Final Placings

Though Savickas wasn’t as dominant as Derek Poundtone’s in Heat 1, his group was far stronger than Poundstone’s was and Savickas managed the Atlast Stones with zero problem, something that comes back to haunt Poundstone time and time again. Brian Shaw went one better than last year and was rewarded with a place in the World’s Strongest Man 2009 final.

Heat 3, on Bravo in the UK on Monday 18th January sees defending champion Mariusz Pudzianowski along with Alexander Klyushev, Darren Sadler, Ervin Katon, Jimmy Laureys and 2006 Champion Phil Pfister. Pudzianowski and Pfister are clear favourites here, in my mind at least. I’ll be rooting for Englishman Darren Sadler and I need to find out more about Katon and Laureys! 2 heats in and World’s Strongest Man 2009 is already setting out to be one of the very best.

Official World’s Strongest Man website can be found here – vote for who will join Pudzianowski in the World’s Strongest Man Hall of Fame.

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It was only when I was looking back at old blog entries that I remembered that we actually know the lineups for the World Strongest Man 2009 heats thanks to Official World’s Strongest Man website and I have actually published them already in a previous post here.

In the 2nd heat on Monday 11th January (shown on Bravo TV at 9pm GMT in the UK) we have:

Group B
Brian Shaw
Mark Felix
Marshall White
Martin Wildauer
Stefan Solvi Petursson
Zydrunas Savickas

My initial prediction was for Zydrunas Savickas to come 2nd in the finals to Derek Poundstone. Sticking with that it’s between Shaw, Petursson and Feliz for that 2nd qualifying spot. Patriotically I’d love Mark Felix to go through, but as good as his dead lift is, he is sometimes too inconsistent to get enough points over all 6 events.

I admit to not knowing enough about White or Wildauer to know how they will fair.

The rest of the heats look like this:

Group 3
Alexander Klyushev
Darren Sadler
Ervin Katon
Jimmy Laureys
Mariusz Pudzianowski
Phil Pfister

Group 4
Agris Kazelniks
Ettiene Smit
Johannes Arsjo
Laurence Shahlaei
Richard Skog
Travis Ortmayer

Group 5
Andrus Murumets
Christian Savoie
Dave Ostlund
Florian Trimpl
Jarek Dymek
Terry Hollands

I’ll look at the remaining heats in more detail as we get nearer to each one being broadcast – there are some mouth-watering match-ups ahead. Just look at Group 3, Mariusz Pudzianowski vs. Phil Pfister – it’s the 2006 World’s Strongest Man finals battle all over again!

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On watching the first show of World’s Strongest Man 2009 on Bravo TV it became evident that there was some confusion as to who had qualified for what and how. We were told that the top 3 competitors from each of the three Giants Live Tour events would qualify for the World’s Strongest Man 2009, with 2008 winner Mariusz Pudzianowski making it a round 10. However, what unfolded was that in fact there would be 5 heats with 6 competitors, with the top 2 going through to the final from each heat. Those heats would be made up of people who had come in the top 3 at the Giants Live Tour events AND those that failed to make the top 3. This all poses the question as to what exactly the top 3 competitors in the Giants Live Tour events were qualifying for? Nothing, it would seem! That said, I’m just happy to see all this World’s Strongest Man programming on television, no matter what the qualifying implications!

World's Strongest Man 2009

Anyway, on with the show, and this first heat consisted of the following 6 competitors:

Derek Poundstone (America) – runner up in World Strongest Man 2008 and winner of the 2009 Giants Live Mohegan Sun Grand Prix
Jimmy Marku (England) – UK’s Strongest Man 2009
Louis-Philippe Jean (Canada) – Two time Canada’s Strongest Man
Kevin Nee (America) – Youngest ever World’s Strongest Man competitor at World’s Strongest Man 2005, aged 20
Kostiantyn Ilin (Ukraine) – I have no stat to put here 😦
Sebastian Wenta (Poland) – 2nd at World’s Strongest Man 2007

Derek Poundstone won the first two events getting a maximum 12 out of 12 points. In the first event, the Medley, he put in a time of 38.71 seconds, over seconds ahead of 2nd place Jimmy Marku. Jean put in a good showing to take 3rd while Wenta and Ilin took 4th and 5th places respectively. Plagued with nagging bicep injuries, Nee was the only man not to finish the course, managing just 18.6 metres.

Poundstone was just as dominant in the Truck pull, finishing the course in 42.66 seconds, which was over 7 seconds faster than 2nd place Ilin. Jean again finished in 3rd, Wenta in 4th and Nee in 5th. Jimmy Marku was last with a time of 1 minutes 7.47 seconds, but he at least finished the course – in last year’s qualifiers he didn’t manage to even move the truck!

At this point Poundstone had a commanding lead with 12 points, with Jean (8), Ilin (7), Marku (6), Wenta (6) fighting for that 2nd qualifying place and Nee trailing in last place with just 3 points. Unfortunately, before the Squat Lift, Sebastian Wenta had to pull out due to back injury.

The third event, the Squat Lift, saw a winner not called Derek Poundstone as Jimmy Marku took the victory. Neither could manage the maximum 7 lifts but Marku got 6 lifts in a quicker time than Poundstone. Nee and Ilin managed 6 lifts for 3rd and 4tg, with Jean bringing up the rear with 5 lifts.

The Car Walk was the 4th event and saw Derek Poundstone back to his winning ways, destroying the other guys with a time of 19.09. In a post-event interview he remarked how he thought he could shave a 3 seconds of that time to go quicker in the final! Jean finished 2nd, some 8 seconds slower than Poundstone but over 20 seconds quicker than the 3rd and 4th placed Nee and Ilin. Jimmy Marku could only manage 12.4 metres to finish in last place.

With 23 points Derek Poundstone had already guaranteed his place in the finals, with 2 events still to go! With only 4 points splitting them up, Jean, Marku, Ilin and Nee could all take that 2nd qualifying place.

The 5th event, the Dumbell Press, is one that Derek Poundstone holds the world record in, so maximum points were looking very unlikely for anyone else! As expected, Poundstone won with 9 lifts, though it looked like he got of added another 4 or so to that title, had he needed more than 9 to win. Ilin with 8 and Jean with 6 took points for 2nd and 3rd but neither Marku nor Nee could manage even one lift. Kevin Nee had retire injured after this event, leaving just four.

Going into the traditional last event, the Atlas Stones, Marku and Nee were out of the running and it was between Jean and Ilin to get the 2nd qualifying place. It turned out to be Jean’s day as he put in an awesome performance to win the event, the only man to lift all 5 stones. Poor Ilin had an accident with the first stone which hit him in the head opening up a nasty gash.

That elusive 5th stone

Derek Poundstone only managed 4 stones, that 5th stone still the Achilles heel in his almost perfect arsenal. Jimmy Marku also managed 4 stones but did it more for fun than anything else as he was out of the points already. The following shows the final standings for Heat 1, with Derek Poundstone and Louis-Philippe Jean going through to the World’s Strongest Man 2009 Finals.

Poundstone and Jean Qualify for the finals!

On this form Derek Poundstone should be looking to take the World’s Strongest Man 2009 title, as long as it doesn’t come down to the Atlas Stones, which he still has trouble with. Particularly in the Atlas Stones, Jean showed he’s very worthy of his place in the finals. Heat 2 will be next Monday, January 11th, where we know that 1 of the 6 competitors will be England’s Mark Felix, arguably today’s best dead lifter in the World’s Strongest Man arena.

At the end of yesterday’s shows we were told about a competition to win a World’s Strongest Man goodie bag on the Bravo TV website – here is the link to that competition – good luck if you enter. For all official World’s Strongest Man news then the official website can be found here.

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