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Archive for the ‘Heats’ Category

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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There was one change in the participants of heat 2; out was Alexander Klyushev and in his place was Italy’s Alex Curletto, giving us the following line up:

Terry Hollands
Hennie Jordan
Alex Curletto
Derek Poundstone
Richard Skog
Robert Szczepanski

Going into this the two favourites were overcoming injuries; Hollands a bicep tear and Poundstone a quad injury. This didn’t seem to stop Terry Hollands in the first event, the Giant Farmers Walk.

Hollands v Poundstone in the Giant Farmers Walk

Not only did Hollands leave Poundstone in his dust, but he won the event, taking maximum points and showing no signs of being anything but 100%. Poundstone on the other hand couldn’t even finish the course, stopping at just over 36 metres having torn his hands to shreds carrying those huge weights. It was a Mariusz Pudzianowski training camp member who came in second place, as Robert Szczepanski split the two favourites.

Giant Farmers Walk Results

I always fine it hard watching Hollands and Poundstone compete against each because I want to support Hollands being a fellow Brit and a phenomenal strongman competitor, but I’ve been a huge fan of Poundstone since his burst onto the scene a few years ago with such immediate success. The second event certainly questioned my loyalties as the Power Stairs once again pitted Hollands and Poundstone in a head to head battle.

Hollands v Poundstone in the Power Stairs

For the second event in a row Hollands bested Poundstone and won the event, and again Poundstone couldn’t finish, climbing just 9 of the 12 stairs. It was also the second event running that Szczepanski slit the pre-heat favourites to take second place. Richard Skog, the man that showed so much potential 2 years ago, could only managed 4 stairs t finish last.

Power Stairs Results

At this point I was glad that Hollands was doing so well but I was seriously worried that Poundstone would not make it to his 3rd World’s Strongest Man final, fearing that Szczepanski would instead take that second qualifying spot.

Standings after the Power Stairs

Fate played it’s cruel hand in the dead Lift as Szczepanski appeared to injure himself without managing one rep. It was yet another disappointing event Skog, as he too strangely didn’t manage one repetition.

Derek Poundstone in the Deadlift

It was during the Deadlift that Derek Poundtone finally won an event, though I wonder if Terry Hollands was just being strategic. Hollands was 5th to lift and with absolute ease he rolled out 5 reps, one more than the previous best of Alex Curletto. I’m sure he knew Poundstone would beat that I think he gave up the possible one point of winning knowing he would still be 3 points ahead and he could conserve much needed energy. While Poundstone did beat him with 6 lifts, he didn’t look as comfortable as Poundstone, not by a long way.

Deadlift Results

The unfortunate injury to Szczepanski coupled with a first victory, meant that Poundstone moved into second place and for the first time looked like he may qualify the final. Hollands was looking good in first place and was on the form of his life.

Standings after the Deadlift

The 4th event, The Africa Stone, is when the tide started to join as Terry Hollands struggled to even lift the huge Africa Stone.

Terry Hollands struggles with The Africa Stone

His bicep injury reared its ugly face as his best effort was a disappointing 36.3 metres. It was the underperfrming Richard Skog who won the event, making it 4 metres more than second place Derek  63.4 metres. After the event Poundstone said he was disappointed not to complete 75 metres, but his torn callouses from earlier affected him.

Africa Stone Results

The bad result for Hollands meant that Poundstone was able to erode away the lead and get to within one point of the massive Brit. Both were almost guaranteed a spot in the final, but pride would have them both wanting to top the group and win the heat.

Standings after the Africa Stone

Next was the Metal Block Press and a chance for a new world record as the 4th block was 150 KG, 5 KG more than the current world record held by Derek Poundstone.

Derek Poundstone attempts a world record

It was the world record holder himself who attempted the 4th block first, but after balancing it on his head for a few moments he let it drop, content, well settling at least, for 3 blocks in a super fast time. Last to go was Terry Hollands who had a bit of fun when he picked up the 4th block but didn’t make a serious attempt to press it – he just wanted to make Poundstone sweat, and he did!

Metal Block Press Results

Going into the last event Hollands and Poundstone were tied at the top, both now having enough points to get them through to the final of World’s Strongest Man 2010.

Standings after the Metal Block Press

Determined to prove me wrong it was Richard Skog who won the final event, the Loading Race, but it was the battle between Hollands and Poundstone that provided the most entertainment. Hollands started off the quicker but Poundstone caught up and overtook the bigger man. Instead of winning by a long margin, Poundstone waited for Hollands and attempted to put down the last barrel at the same time as, but ended up beating him, by just a fraction of a second.

Loading Race Results

While Hollands started off looking supreme, it was Derek Poundstone that ended up winning the group, as both go through to the final, with Richard Skog coming just missing out on 3rd. Skog did realise a bit of the potential that I saw 2 years ago and I still think he could be a force in the future.

Final Standings

I have to admit, that although both Poundstone and Hollands qualified for the final, neither looked in the type of form that will see them beating Brian Shaw on his current form, or the form Zydrunas Savickas brings to the table during every competition. I hope both can take it to the next level for the final, but only time will tell.

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Over on the official WSM website they have the list of athletes who make up this year’s qualifying groups, all hoping to come first or second in their group and make it through to the final. Let’s take at those groups and I’ll be adding my predictions of who will go through. British athletes are in red.

Group 1
Mark Felix
Solvi Petursson
Sergii Romanchuk
Brian Shaw
Ettiene Smit
Stoyan Todorchev

Last year I predicted Brian Shaw wouldn’t make it to the final, this year I predict he’ll come first in his group and be the first qualifier for the 2010 World’s Strongest Man Final. I don’t recall Romanchuk or Todorchev, which means they are new or they didn’t make an impression previously. Petursson can be very good on his day but I think this could be the year that we see Mark Felix back in the final 10.

My Picks: Brian Shaw and Mark Felix

Group 2
Terry Hollands
Hennie Jordan
Alexander Klyushev
Derek Poundstone
Richard Skog
Robert Szczepanski

Barring a catastrophe, Poundstone will make it to the final after winning this group in style. The question of who will join him is a harder one to answer. If Hollands is fully fit then he’s the favourite, but with no Truck Pull for this group there are no guaranteed points for Big Tel. Skog underperformed last year but showed a ton of potential in 2008, and like Klyushev will pose a serious threat to Hollands and that second qualifying spot. Jordan and Szczepanski are unknown quantities at this point.

My Picks: Derek Poundstone and Terry Hollands

Group 3
Kostiantyn Ilin
Ervin Katona
Janusz Kulaga
Vytautas Lalas
Travis Ortmayer
Darren Sadler

Ortmayer will be the dominant winner of this group, which is no slight on the other 5 guys, just an indication of how good a fully fit and motivated Travis Ortrmayer can be. After competing last year with flu and still finishing 6th overall, the Texas Stoneman had a point to prove. I’d love nothing more than to see Sadler join him in the final, but once again I don’t think this will be his year. I see a battle between Katona and Ilin for second place with Katona taking the 6th qualifying place in the final.

My Picks: Travis Ortmayer and Ervin Katona

Group 4
Nick Best
Warrick Brant
Louis-Philippe Jean
Agris Kazelniks
Zydrunas Savickas
Laurence Shahlaei

Savickas qualifying is a forgone conclusion, and in a compoaritively weak field, this could be a chance for Shahlaei to make it through to his second consecutive WSM Final, and to be honest it’s hos to throw away. This is the kind of group that Felix, Hollands and Sadler would kill to be in.

My Picks: Zydrunas Savickas and Laurence Shahlaei

Group 5
Johannes Arsjo
Jason Bergmann
Misca Koklyaev
Dave Ostlund
Canada’s National Champ
Mark Westaby

Great to see the big farmer Mark Westaby in the qualifiers, but he’ll have to be in the form of his life to get into the final. i see another clear winner here in the form of Misca Koklyaev, a man who I tipped for a podium last year before he got injured. Behind him there’s no looking past Dave Ostlund. I’d love to Google Canada’s National Champ but won’t do so for fear of finding spoilers for the WSM competition.

My Picks: Misca Koklyaev and Dave Ostlund

There are the groups, and there are my picks, which would give us a final consisting of these ten athletes:

Brian Shaw
Mark Felix
Derek Poundstone
Terry Hollands
Travis Ortmayer
Ervin Katona
Zydrunas Savickas
Laurence Shahlaei
Misca Koklyaev
Dave Ostlund

It’s clear to see that the organisers of World’s Strongest Man 2010 see 5 clear favourites on the form of Shaw, Poundstone, Ortmayer, Savickas and Koklyaev. It’ll be hard for anyone to beat Savickas but it’s something Poundstone did at the 2010 Arnold Strongman Classic and I still believe that if anyone can do it will be him.

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