Archive for the ‘Giants Live’ Category

You are probably expecting the 2nd leg of the Giants Live Tour from Kiev but I screwed up there – I forgot to series link World’s Strongest Man on Sky+ so last night’s show didn’t record. At the time of writing it hasn’t yet appeared on the online Sky Player but the first show from South Africa is on there, so I am hopeful. Otherwise it is repeated on Sunday at 6pm, so one way or another I will post a catch-up blog of that competition.

Giants Live

Onto tonight’s show which is the 3rd and final leg of the Giants Live Tour and comes from Wembley Arena, England, not America as I suspected. I’m actually going to write this blog post as I watch the show, with some well timed pausing of the footage, of course! So, on with the show, let’s first see who’s competing.

First thing we are told is that as well as giving us another 3 qualifiers for the WSM finals, we will also be crowing Europe’s Strongest Man, which would indicate no Americans competing tonight.

Zydrunas Savickas (Lithuania)
Terry Hollands (UK)
Krystof Radzikowski (Poland) – From Mariusz Pudzianowski’s training camp
Mark Felix (UK)
Sergey Romanchuk (Ukraine)
Alex Curletto (Italy)
Louis Phillipe Jean (Canada) – Billed as a ‘Guest Lifter’, so obviously can’t win Europe’s Strongest Man!
Jimmy Marku (UK)
Stoyant Todorchev (Bulgaria)
Rob Frampton (UK)

First event is the Last Man Standing Axel Press – World Record for this is 189 Kg by Derek Poundstone. Mariusz Pudzianowski is guest commentating with Colin Bryce. First impression of Radzikowski is that he is a beast, with huge muscles – he cleared 173 KG with ease, obviously learning well at Pudzianowski’s camp! Then came Savickas who made it look even easier!

Krystof Radzikowski

After both Radzikowski and Savickas cleared 189 KG the weights were increased to 193 KG, a new world record attempt. Radzikowski went first and failed, by lack of technique rather than lack of power.

Zydrunas Savickas with a New World Record

However, with a new World Record (his 46th World Record!) of 193 KB, Zydrunas Savickas wins the first event to get maximum points!

Last Man Standing Axle Press Results

A disappointing result for Mark Felix but he’s always preferred dead lifts to overhead presses. Terry Hollands is trailing not far behind the leaders but on the form of the Axle Press alone it looks like Savickas could prove to be unbeatable.

Next up is the Farmer’s Walk, with 159 KGs in each arm and a 40 metre course, 20 metres each way. Stoyant Todorchev just completed the course in 20 seconds by literally running with those huge weights in each hand. Mark Felix looked like he may have a chance of beating that time but tired towards the end to go into second, so far.

Savcikas v Radzikowski

Savcikas v Radzikowski was the big showdown, but neither could beat Todorchev’s time, though Savickas did get a respectable second place.

Farmers Walk Results

Radzikowski was the big mover, dropping from 2nd to joint 4th, and we hear he may have a broken finger. It’s looking good for the Brits with Hollands and Marku in 2nd and 3rd respectively,though both are trailing Savickas quite considerably after only 2 events.

Standings after The Farmers Walk

Third event is the Medley which consists of flipping a 400 KG tyre three times and then carrying 3 100 KG sacks down the course where they are deposited onto a platform. Both strength and fitness needed here. Radzikowski had no problem flipping the tyre but couldn’t get even one of the sacks onto the platform – it seems his broken finger is really hampering his performance, as is to be expected. Speaking of which, the last sack seems to have led to an injured bicep for Jimmy Marku and we later learn it’s a torn bicep and he’s out of the competition.

Hollands v Felix

The Battle of Britain saw Hollands beat Felix to go top of the leaderboard for this event. Terry Hollands is immensely agile for such a big man, his past in rugby no doubt helping him there. Savickas took another win as he beat Hollands time by less than 0.2 seconds. Big Z is deceptively fast for a guy of his stature.

Medley Results

At this point I think we may as well crown Zydrunas Savickas the 2010 Europe’s Strongest Man, and on this form he looks likely repeat his victory at the World’s Strongest Man Final in South Africa!

Standings after The Medley

Next up is the Car Deadlift and a chance for Mark Felix to move up a spot or two, being the world renowned Deadlifter that he is. Quite odd to see Rob Frampton in the company of regular WSM competitors after seeing him mainly on the UK circuit. Though not looking like winning any events, he’s not looking out of place.

Mark Felix en route to Victory

With 16 reps Mark Felix has gone storming into the lead, with only Savickas or Hollands to come. Hollands is looking far more comfortable than Savickas and only does what he needs to, beating Savickas by just 1 rep, and that’s all he needed. Felix’s 16 was just too much.

Car Deadlift Results

As good as Terry Hollands is at the Atlas Stones, the 5th and final event, I don’t think he’s going to be able to catch Savickas up. Felix is looking good for 3rd place and should be joining the two men ahead of him in the WSM finals.

Standings after the Car Deadlift

Typically Felix does the Atlas Stones bare chested and gets off to a flying start. Wow, he completed it in 12.47 seconds – that was mega fast – I’ll be shocked if Hollands or Savickas can beat that, but in the absence of Travis Ortmayer, if anyone can it will be these two.

Terry Hollands injured during the Atlas Stones

Hollands has blown his bicep picking up the second stone – I hope that’s not a bad injury. Savickas cruises to the end, coming in behind Felix and Todorchev in 3rd place.

Atlas Stones Results

Europe’s Strongest Man 2010 is Zydrunas Savickas, and by a margin of 7.5 points, thanks in some part to the injury sustained by Terry Hollands in the final event. Injury aside, there’s no doubt that Savickas remains the man to beat.

Overall Standings

The commentators speculated that Hollands and Marku may not make it to the WSM finals which would be disastrous for British hopes, especially in the case of Hollands who regularly makes the final 10 and aims for a decent place each year. Earlier this week I wrote a blog post talking about the qualifying groups that had been published on the official WSM website and the fact that Terry Hollands had been placed in Group 2. I only hope that this is an indication of Terry’s fitness and ability to compete and that he doesn’t get substituted out because of the injury.

The first heat of the this year’s World’s Strongest Man qualifiers is on Sunday, Boxing Day, at 8pm on Bravo and features Brian Shaw and Mark Felix, to name just 2 of the 6 competitors in that group. To say I’m excited is an understatement – bring on WSM 2010!


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Giants Live

Last night was the first of 3 Giants Live contests which are billed as qualifying competitions for the World’s Strongest Man Finals. It was held at the MTN Expo Centre in Johannesburg and featured the following athletes (I’m guessing 2 were reserves as only 10 competed):

Mark Fellix (UK)
Terry Hollands (UK)
Konstantian Ilin (Ukraine)
Mikhail ‘Misha’ Koklyaev (Russia)
Brian Shaw (USA)
Richard Skog (Norway)
Stefan Solvi Petursson (Iceland)
Andre Sweemey (South Africa)
Gerrit Van Staden (South Africa)
Vuyani Mseswa (South Africa)
Franki Sheun (South Africa)
Ettiene Smit (South Africa)

As soon as the show started my excitement for this year’s World’s Strongest Man started to increase – it’s been a Christmas tradition for me for over 3 decades, and 2010 should be one of the best. The first event was The Farmers Walk, one that always sorts the men from the boys. The big showdown was between two of the largest athletes on the WSM circuit, Terry Hollands and Brian Shaw. Hollands destroyed Shaw, completing the circuit more than 6 seconds faster than Shaw.

Farmers Walk: Terry Hollands beats Brian Shaw

However, it was maybe a tactic employed by Ettiene Smit and no one else, that arguably handed South Africa’s Strongest Man the win and maximum points. While everyone else put the big weights down at the end of the first straight, Smit turned round with them still in his hands, and that extra bit of time gained meant he was able to complete the course over 2.5 seconds quicker than his closest rival Terry Hollands.

Farmers Walk Results

I have to admit that as this point I was thinking that Brian Shaw hadn’t properly recovered from getting hepatitis earlier in the year as he certainly didn’t seem to be in the form that took him to 3rd place last year.

The second event was The Log Lift and we didn’t get to see much footage from most of the competitors, something that was to become a common theme – a casualty of trying to fit 6 events into 42 minutes of footage. For me there were two big things to come out of this event, and this photo is one of them:

Mikhail Koklyaev Breaks the African Record

Before this event the African Record for the Log Lift was 185 KG, and afterwards it was 190 KG and the new record holder was a very happy Mikhail Koklyaev, who even did a celebration dance, a sight to behold! Also worth noting was Terry Hollands coming in joint second place with a lift of 170 KG, and further proof that his overhead lift has improved a lot, and a possible Achilles heel could be no more.

Log Lift Results

After that record breaking lift, Mikhail Koklyaev was now in first place, with Hollands and Shaw trailing him. These are the three you’d expect to be leading the pack, but possibly not in that order.

Standings after the Log Lift

Event 3 was the Car Deadlift and the smart money was on Mark Felix, a man who is very rarely beaten in any kind of deadlift. However, after Brian Shaw and Terry Hollands had both matched Felix’s 8 lifts, the Koklyaev Show continued.

Koklyaev Wins the Car Deadlift

Koklyaev put in 9 lifts to go ahead of the other 3 guys, but as Hollands looked to have another go, the smiling giant from Ukraine pulled out another rep to increase his total to 10, while Hollands settled for 8, and joint second place.

Car Deadlift Results

After three events Koklyaev was looking good in first place, but he had Hollands and Shaw chasing him down and keen to take that lead from him. The rest of the competitors were beginning to drop back and the under-performing Richard Skog was in a disappointing 10th place.

Standings After the Car Deadlift

For the first time since the opening event the benchmark was established by someone other than the big three, with Stefan Solvi Petursson setting a time of 36.31 seconds for launching all 8 of the kegs over the bar in the Keg Toss.

Petursson Tossing Kegs!

Terry Hollands came a bit unstuck from the start as he stood too far from the bar and hs very first keg fell short. He only managed to get 6 of the 8 kegs over in the allocated 60 seconds. It all looked good for Petursson until Brian Shawn put in a super-human effort and blitzed the Icelander’s time by over 10 seconds, launching all 8 over the bar in just 26.10 seconds! It was a performance so dominant that it reminded me of his winning effort in the 2009 WSM Finals when he blew the field away to win the Boat Pull.

Keg Toss Results

That win for Shaw took him ahead of Hollands and into second place – still 4.5 points behind Koklyaev, but closing the gap.

Standings After the Keg Toss

The 5th event was a spin on the Husafell Stone, as the competitors had to carry a huge stone shaped like the continent of Africa, hence the name; The Africa Stone. The event has a history of troubling all but the mightiest of Strongmen, and was an event that the late great Jon Pall Sigmarsson excelled at. This time though, it won’t remembered for a moment of glory.

Koklyaev Falls with the Africa Stone

After just a few metres, Koklyaev fell to the floor, the Africa Stone luckily falling clear of his body. No explanation was given but the commentator did speculate that he’d actually lost consciousness for a moment. The blistering heat could have had something to do with it as interviews with athletes showed they were sweating by the bucket load in the high temperatures.

This was another event won by Brian Shaw, as Terry Hollands started to fade, only managing 8th place.

Africa Stone Results

With Koklyaev and Hollands scoring so badly, Shaw raced into the lead and looked set to win this leg of the Giants Tour, with just the Atlas Stones to come.

Standings After the Africa Stone

The big showdown in this, the last of 6 events, pitted Brian Shaw and Mikhail Koklyaev against each other in a battle for victory in the Atlas Stones.

Shaw v Koklyaev in the Atlas Stones

Apologies for the bad quality photo, but this is the moment Brian Shaw placed the 5th stone (great name for a blog!) on its platform and won not only the event, but also the 1st leg of the World’s Strongest Man 2010 Giants Live Tour. Terry Hollands put in a great performance just edging out Koklyaev into 3rd and gaining a valuable second place for himself.

Atlas Stones Results

Brian Shaw ended up winning by an impressive 6.5 points, but it may have been a different story had Koklyaev not had that unfortunate accident during the Africa Stone. Not to take anything away from Shaw though, he was in magnificent form and after a slow start he soon took control of this competition. He looks a like an early favourite for success in the 2010 World’s Strongest Man finals, which the top 3; Shaw, Koklyaev and Hollands qualify for.

Final Standings

The next leg of Giant’s Live is in Kiev, and is televised on Bravo in the UK tonight at 8pm. I’ll be looking forward to seeing if the likes of Derek Poundstone and Travis Ortmayer will be competing, though I suspect they’ll only feature in the 3rd leg of the Giant’s Live Tour if that is held in the US, which one of the three legs usually is.

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In the UK World’s Strongest Man (WSM) starts tonight, not sure about the rest of the world. On Bravo at 8pm is the first of 3 Giants Live competitions that usually talk about being qualifiers for the main WSM competition, even though we then see qualifiers from elsewhere. Confused? Yeah, me too, and the people involved in WSM probably too!

I haven’t updated it in months as I was scared of spoiling the competition as I did last year. There were so many visits to my blog from people searching Zydrunas Savickas that it didn’t take a genius to figure out who had won. Fast forward to this year and I can’t resist blogging about something I love so much, but to avoid having the result spoiled for the second year I won’t be looking at stats or comments until the final has been televised on New Year’s Eve.

For those wanting to see TV broadcast dates in the UK and US, take a look at the official website.

So, looking ahead to the 2010 competition, and what will we see?

I have my favourites, those being Derek Poundstone, Terry Hollands and Travis Ortmayer. I believe any of these is capable of winning but I can’t look past 2009 winner Zydrunas Savickas. When he’s on form, which is most of the time, he’s unstoppable as we saw last year. There’s no Mariusz Pudzianowski this year, at least that’s what I last read a few months ago, when he stated he’d not being competing in WSM but concentrating on his MMA career instead. Brian Shaw is another one to look out for, coming in third last year and he looked very strong in doing so. My heart says Poundstone, my head says Savickas.

Can anyone beat Hollands in the plane pull?
I asked this question to Kevin Nee at WSM Experience 2010 and he agreed that Hollands was perfectly built for this event and incredibly hard to beat. One thing to bear in mind is that last year he won the event even after injuring his hand in the Giant Farmer’s Walk, so watch out everyone, the plane could be taking off this year!

The Brits
If he’s fully recovered from his injury then Terry Hollands has to be the favourite of the Brits for success, though he’s struggled to match his 3rd place in 2007. Lauence Shahlaei finished 9th in last year’s competition but he surprised me by even reaching the final, and did fantastically well coming to second to Pudzianowski in the aforementioned Giant farmer’s Walk. Always close to the final and sometimes reaching it is dead lift specialist Mark Felix and we also need to look out for Darren Sadler, who despite being one of the shortest competitors in WSM, was a whisker away from making last year’s finals

That’s all for now – please leave a comment on any of the upcoming posts and I’ll promise to read and respond to them when I know who’s been crowned World’s Strongest Man 2010.

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