CATEGORIES: WSM NEWS. | | by Rob Pratt

The Epic Rivalry Continues

Last year, Brian Shaw earned his third title at The Commerce World’s Strongest Man 2015. That win tied him with his legendary compatriot Bill Kazmaier for the most wins by an American since the competition first began in 1977. Today, he has a newborn son who he’d like to bring a new trophy home to, but that would require a week’s worth of peak performance in Botswana, Africa, starting August 13th.

Usually, it’s Zydrunas Savickas standing in Shaw’s way, who has not three but four WSM titles to his name. Thus far, he has never let Shaw earn two-in-a-row. It’s nothing personal. The massive Lithuanian simply likes to win! And he’s looking leaner and meaner than ever, tipping the scales at 173kg (381.4lbs).

Unfortunately, despite his best intentions, Big Z was unable to compete at Europe’s Strongest Man 2016. And it is with great sadness that he’ll not be competing at Commerce’s WSM 2016, either. We hope rest helps him overcome, granting himself time to heal from injury and leaving this month’s focus on our other superb competitors.

Thor wsm 2016

Speaking of which, there has always been a third man in between this epic rivalry; he’s someone who has been on the podium for the past four consecutive WSM events. Yes, it may be up to Iceland’s Hafthor Julius Bjornsson to stave off a fourth win by Shaw. This year, he’s determined not only to best Shaw, which he has done before in 2012 and 2014, but to do so by earning his first World’s Strongest Man title.

Britannia Rule the Weights!
Yet after having won Europe’s Strongest Man back-to-back, Thor was recently dethroned by England’s Laurence Shahlaei, who set a new world record on the Car Walk. Sweden’s strongest man, Johannes Arsjo, also competing at this years WSM, tied Thor on points after beating Shahlaei on the Atlas Stones. Rankings broke the tie and held him back to 3rd. That means the competition in Botswana will be an incredibly tight race.

Nevertheless, after congratulating Big Loz Shahlaei on his win, Thor said, “…it only made me stronger and hungrier to reach my goal to become The World’s Strongest Man!” If he bears any additional parallels to The Mountain he portrays on TV, he’ll be on the winning end by this season’s end. Perhaps the Iron Throne will be his, after all.

There’s another man from the U.K. standing in Thor’s way, however. A man who pulled a certain “impossible” 500kg deadlift (1102.31lbs) for a new world record on July 9th  2016 at the World Deadlift Championships: Mr. Eddie Hall.

All in all, things are looking good for English fans of strongman, who turned up by the thousands to cheer for Eddie in Leeds. Despite it being a tumultuous time for British politics, one thing is always certain in the U.K.: strength. Competing against Hall in Group 3 is countryman Adam Bishop, while Mark Felix (who won his group last year) and Luke Stoltman find themselves against the aforementioned Johannes Arsjo in Group 1. Even Terry Hollands is back in the fray!

WSM 2016 The World Over
We’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg, as Botswana will be a temporary home for strongmen from five different continents!

The USA and GBR are equally represented with seven athletes a piece, despite Jerry Pritchett’s (USA) disappointing injury a few weeks ago. Canada’s Jean-Francois Caron is a strong starter who is sure to keep Big Loz on his toes in Group 4. Africa is indeed representing itself well with South Africa’s Gerhard Van Staden and Nigeria’s Frank Okalome in the mix. New Zealand’s strongest man Colm Woulfe and Georgia’s Konstantine Janashia compete with many more strength athletes from around the world, from Australia, Slovenia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Poland.

With a heaping amount of world class strongmen and most of the world’s greatest sure to compete, it can be said with confidence that The Commerce World’s Strongest Man 2016 should not be missed. The full line up is right here on our website with information about events and groupings.

Each group will feature their own unique challenges… but no one is safe from the Atlas Stones. I know you share in our excitement!

Please stay tuned to for more information on WSM 2016 such as competition dates, broadcast dates and channels.

This post was written by Dane Curley.