The New Faces of World’s Strongest Man 2017
Each World’s Strongest Man competition brings with it the chance for new legends to be created, new records to be broken and new rivalries to develop.
The new competitors are keen to leave their mark on the sport and they’ll be eager to find out how their skills compare to the best in the world. Will they step up perform at a higher level than ever before or go home wiser, ready to try again next time?
Make sure you know who to watch, and what events they think they’ll make a statement on. Here’s the lowdown athletes stepping up to compete in this year’s competition.
Tom Stoltman’s journey into strongman competitions began with him watching his older brother – fellow World’s Strongest Man competitor, Luke Stoltman – training in the gym. It inspired the younger Stoltman brother to “lift heavy weights and get big.”
Getting big clearly worked. At 6’6 and 342 lbs, Stoltman man is one of the bigger men in WSM. He says his frame makes the Atlas Stones his perfect event. However, has a tall man he says squatting is hard – and that it feels like he has to lower for miles to hit parallel!
As this is his first appearance 22-year-old Stoltman is soaking up the atmosphere of competition next to his idols. But don’t take that as a suggestion he’s just here to take part. Stoltman plans to leave his mark on the sport and at 22 he has plenty of time to do so.
Canadian newcomer Jimmy Paquet makes his first appearance at World’s Strongest Man after just five years of training. The 24-year-old began training at 19 alongside fellow four-time WSM finalist JF Caron. Since then he’s been an active competitor, performing in competitions on average 20 times a year.
Paquet’s biggest achievement in his strongman career is finishing 2nd in Canada’s Strongest Man 2016. This year he’s looking forward to making it through the heats in WSM and showing off his squatting prowess. He says he’s rarely beaten in the squats and in the loading race.
Paquet’s advice for anyone considering strongman training is “Get ready to work hard and to go through pain… a lot of pain.”
Iran’s Peiman Maheripourehir has already got his home nation’s attention. In his second professional competition Maheripourehir defeated notable Iranian strongmen including Mohammad Ezatpour and Ramin Farajnejad and set new national deadlift record (437kg). He’s now looking to make a statement on the global stage.
Maheripourehir is the first Iranian to compete at WSM since Reza Gharaei qualified in 2006 but he’s not feeling the pressure yet. “I’ve been working hard for this since I was a teenager. It feels wonderful to be here and I’ll reach the finals no problem. I’m fit.”
The 29-year-old trains in Tehransar Gym in Tehran and has also competed in powerlifting competitions, recently winning the 2015 World Powerlifting Championship in Russia.
Although 25-year-old Rob Kearney is one of the smaller athletes competing in this year’s World’s Strongest Man this year the Massachusetts native feels he’s the dark-horse of the competition and is looking forward to turning some heads.
Kearny used strongman training to challenge his strength and energy once he realised a career in American Football was out of his reach. “I’ve always loved strength sports and every child dreams of being a professional athlete,” Kearney says.
He prepares for major competitions with high volume and high intensity training, believing that the competition should be easier than the training.
Kearney is also the first openly gay athlete to actively compete World’s Strongest Man. He says he’s received a lot of support from other competitors and fans around the world. “Strongman is really like a big family; it’s one of the only sports where you will be competing against someone and cheering them on at the same time.”
Nigerian stand-out, Olu Fadesire, was fascinated by strongman training from a young age. “I grew up watching Strongman back in the day and fell in love with it,” says the 29-year-old. “Competing at WSM is a huge achievement.”
He works as a bodyguard for high net-worth individuals in Nigeria and trains around his job. “I finish at work in the evening and go to gym after. When I’m working at night, I train in the day.”
He’s often known as Olu Strong, a nickname he picked up after he found people outside Nigeria found ‘Fadesire’ hard to properly pronounce.
Fadesire’s goal for this year’s WSM is to beat his personal records and learn from the other athletes. Once his competition days are over Fadesire hopes to open a strongman gym in Nigeria and nurture future champions.
These athletes might be new to World’s Strongest Man but they’re not new to competition. They’re all hungry to prove themselves on the biggest stage and show they belong with – and can surpass – the best in the world.