It’s hard to watch that final 200kg+ Atlas Stone inch its way up to the top of the barrel without anxiously holding your breath. It’s the most iconic event in World’s Strongest Man and it’s evolved with the competition, with heavier stones and higher lifts. In recent years’ viewer’s anxiety has gone from “How many stones will he lift?” to “How quickly can he lift all five.” It’s a perfect mix of technique, cardio and power. World’s Strongest Man’s iconic event first appeared in the competition in 1986 but it has a history stretching back much further.
What’s in a name?
The most enduring image in World’s Strongest Man fittingly took its name from the Greek titan of endurance (And astronomy). After losing a war against the Greek gods, Atlas was condemned by Zeus to hold up the heavens for all eternity to keep him out of more trouble. He was shown in sculptures carrying a gigantic celestial orb, where the Atlas Stones take their name from.