Archive for the ‘World's Strongest Man 2010’ Category

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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With all 5 heats done with, we now know the 10 guys who will make up the final of this the 2010 World’s Strongest Man, and they are:

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

Though many would say it’s never wise to best against Savickas, with no actual money involved I am taking into account current form and injuries, and predicting that the 2010 World’s Strongest Man will be Brian Shaw. In second place will be Zydrunas Savickas and in 3rd will be Derek Poundstone. Guys like Bergmann, Hollands, Koklyaev and Ortmayer will be the next level of challengers with Best, Petursson and Katona bringing up the very close rear.

The final is broadbast on UK TV on Bravo at 2pm, and then repeated at 8pm. I’m not sure when I will get to watch it but I am very much looking forward to it and think it could be one of the most open finals in years.

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Heat 5 saw UK’s own Rob Frampton, originally just a reserve, take the place of Johannes Arsjo and become part of the last group of 6 athletes vying for qualification to this year’s final.

Rob Frampton
Jason Bergmann
Mikhail Koklyaev
Dave Ostlund
Christian Savoie
Mark Westaby

Speaking of Westaby, he’s the oldest man in the competition at 45, not Nick Best as I stated in my previous blog post. We kick things off with the Medley, where returning Jason Bergmann won the first of 2 races. I have to admit then when I predicted Koklyaev and Ostlund to qualify I forgot all about Bergmann. This is a man who came 9th in 2008 but because of his absence last year he slipped my mind! Terrible when you consider I have no problem recalling the battles between Geoff Capes and Jon Pall Sigmarsson from 25 years ago!

Ostlund wins as Koklyaev fades

In the second race Koklyaev started off very fast and looked like a clear winner, but 2 flips from the end he tired badly, enough to let Ostlund and Westaby pass him. Ostlund’s time was enough to win this first event, while Bermann was beaten into 3rd by 2nd place Bergmann.

Medley Results

In the Squat Lift it was the two Englishmen, Frampton and Westaby, who led the way early on, managing 8 lifts each.

Bergmann destroys the competition

Then came the turn of Jason Bergmann, and with blood streaming from his nose, he achieved an amazing 12 lifts, which was more than anyone had done in all 5 heats. Koklyaev followed Bergmann and stopped at 9 lifts – this was enough to secure 2nd place, as 12 or 13 was obvioulsy just too much for him so there was no point wating energy even trying.

Squat Lift Results

Doe to Ostlund only managing 2 lifts and coming last, Bergmann was clearly out in front with 3 comptitors battling for that elusive second place.

Standingas after the Squat Lift

The Africa Stone proved very diffuclt for some and Koklyaev almost ended his competitrin prematurely when he fell backwards and the huge stne almost landed on him, but lucily he was ok. Westaby and Bergmann were as close as 10cm apart, with Bergmann edging ahead by that snmallest of margins.

Savoie wins, in spite of his bad grip

As can be seen in the photo above, Christian Savoie had the kind of grip that you usually see with people who don’t get very far down the course, so you can imagine my surprise when he went on to win! It really was a remarkable performance, and a show of super-human strength and determination to go that far with no inter-linked fingers.

Africa Stones Results

Noy much changed on the leaderboard, Bergmann was still way out in the lead and Westaby was second, and looking like he may be in with a chance fo qualifying for his first final.

Standings after the Africa Stone

The Metal Block Press was the 4th event and saw Dave Ostlund stand out from the rest of the field as he cleared the first 3 very quickly, but then couldn’t manage the World Record breaking 150 KG 4th block.

Koklyaev struggles with block 4

We then saw Koklyaev beat Ostlund’s time as he lifted the first 3 block with relatrive ease, and it looked like he was going to break the World Record but he just couldn’t lock his arms and almost dropped it on his head! Unfortunately this event is not planned for the final so the World Record will stand for a while longer.

Metal Block Press Results

Koklyaev’s win saw him rise to2nd place and realise some of that championship potential that many of us have been talking about. Poor Mark Westaby suddently found himself in 4th place and a place in the final was slipping away.

Standings after the Metal Block Press

The Deadlift Hold saw Rob Frampton hold up that huge car for 1 minute and 14 seconds which in Heat 4 would have seen him beat Zydrunas Savickas.

Jason 'Superman' Bermann

What we then saw from Jason Bergmann was one of the most amazing feats of strenth that I have ever seen, as he held onto that car for a massive 1 minute and 27 seconds, almost 10 seconds more than his nearest rival Koklyaev, a damn good time in itself.

Deadlift Hold Results

Bergmann had now qualfied for the final and unless Ostlund had a miracle up his sleeve, it looked like Koklyaev was going to join him.

Standings after the Deadlift Hold

So, onto the last event, and to see who would make it through to the final with Jason Bergmann.

Koklyaev v Ostlund

Ostlund won, but Koklyaev came in a very close second place. With Westaby and Savoie alos getting all 4 barrells up this was probably the best performance of any group in the Loading Race of all 5 of these heats.

Loading Race Results

Though Ostlund won the event, it wasn’t enough for him to get 2nd place and Koklyaev still managed to beat him by 2 points and join Bergmann in the final of World’s Strongest Man 2010. Though Westaby and Frampton only came in 4th and 6th respectively, they both gave it everything and proved they deserved to be competing with the World’s elite.

Final Standings

So that’s all the heats over – next stop is the final and we crown the 2010 World’s Strongest Man.

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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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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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