This is regarded by many as the signature event of the World’s Strongest Man competition. The Atlas Stones has latterly been used as the final event of WSM, culminating in thrilling finishes between Magnus ver Magnusson and Manfred Hoeberl in 1994, Phil Pfister and Mariusz Pudzianowski in 2006, and Pudzianowski and Zydrunas Savickas in 2009, to name but a few.
The stones were first seen in WSM in the 1986 contest in Nice, and at that time their weight ranged from 95kgs to around 140kgs for the final, fifth stone. The stones were loaded onto ‘waist-high’ (approximately 125cms) barrels, all of equal height. As the event has evolved however, it has undergone significant changes. Whilst the number of stones has remained constant at five, their weight has been increased. To illustrate this, in the 2008 final in Charleston, West Virginia, the final stone weighed in excess of 180kgs. Crucially, rather than all the stones being placed onto barrels of equal heights, today they are loaded onto platforms which decrease in height. The first, and ‘lightest’ stone goes onto the tallest platform, and vice versa. The height of the tallest platform is approximately 180cms, and the shortest is 125cms.
In the early 2000’s, you could regularly expect to see Magnus Samuelsson at the head of affairs on the Atlas stones, winning the event in the final in both 2001 and 2003, with Mariusz Pudzianowski also doing the ‘double’, by winning the stones twice, in 2004 and 2005. Other victors include Raimonds Bergmanis, Phil Pfister and Sebastian Wenta. However, where once the question was whether anyone would lift all five stones, at the present time, it is increasingly becoming a matter of how quickly it can be done. In the 2008 final for example, all ten of the athletes loaded all five stones, with the Norwegian Arild Haugen managing the feat in an astonishing 19.85 seconds. The Atlas Stones remains the event that everyone wants to win.
July 4, 2011 | by WSM