Strongman Competitions 2013
As we head into May, the 2013 strongman season is well under way, with a host of contests already completed and some outstanding performances from the cream of World’s Strongest Man talent. March saw the Arnold Classic going to a debutant, but a man well known to WSM fans, 2012 WSM runner-up, Vytautas Lalas. Second place went to 2011 WSM winner Brian Shaw, with a fine showing as he continued his recovery from a serious nerve issue which plagued him in 2012. Russian all-rounder and the third place finisher in WSM 2010, Mikhail Koklayev, took the final podium place.
Meanwhile, in the Strongman Champions League, Krzysztof Radzikowski won the opening event, the Iceman Challenge (Lapland), with Tomi Lotta and Laurence Shahlaei taking second and third respectively. At the second SCL contest of the year (FIBO), Lalas carried his fine form into Germany, winning ahead of Hafthor Bjornsson. Radzikowski put in another solid performance to finish in third.
The Giants Live contests, which can ensure qualification to WSM, have also begun, and they are some of the hardest fought of all. The promise of a WSM spot is what everyone is chasing, tempting competitors to travel the globe in order to get a chance to realise this objective. For its first event of 2013, Giants Live returned for a second successive year to the Melbourne FitX event, with the top three finishers earning their places at WSM 2013. American Derek Poundstone, who somewhat surprisingly failed to make the WSM final in 2012 for the first time since 2008, made the 10,000 plus miles trip. His compatriot Nick Best, a WSM finalist in 2010, also made the long journey, as did the Englishman and twice WSM competitor, Jack McIntosh. They were joined by the finest athletes from the southern hemisphere, including WSM competitors Frankie Scheun, Eben Le Roux and Warrick Brant.
It was Poundstone who emerged victorious, in spite of having torn his right biceps only one week earlier at the Arnold Classic. Best took second place, although he also picked up an injury along the way. Rounding out the top three was the South African, Scheun, which additionally meant that he claimed the title of the Southern Hemisphere’s Strongest Man 2013. Those three men can now begin to prepare in earnest for WSM in the autumn, knowing that they have already booked their places.
Moving Into April, another qualifying process was also under way, with the top two finishers receiving invitations to the Giants Live Europe’s Strongest Man contest, to be held at Headingley Carnegie on June 29th. Additionally, the first four in the standings would be invited to the Giants Live British Open in Gateshead on the 3rd August. This was an all-British affair on April 7th, with a host of WSM competitors, including McIntosh, Mark Felix, Eddie Hall and Graham Hicks all in action. Experience told in the end, and Felix, a veteran of seven editions of WSM, came out on top, winning three of the six events (Hercules Hold, Deadlift and Stones). McIntosh was a worthy runner-up, 4.5 points behind Felix, and both now progress to Europe’s Strongest Man in the summer. Hall ended the day in third place, with Hicks one place further back.
For Felix, it has been a positive start to the year, after a number of injuries in 2012. In addition to his triumph here, he took second place at the All-American Strongman Challenge in January and sixth place at the Arnold Classic in March, with yet another stunning display on the Hummer Tyre Deadlift as his personal highlight in Columbus.
In Las Vegas, Callie Marunde and Nick Best held the ‘Sin City Strongman Challenge IV’. For the top two finishers, a place at a Giants Live contest was up for grabs. It was another tremendous contest, with the American Robert Oberst taking the win after six events. Canadian Scott Cummine was a worthy runner-up, and both of these men will now head to Europe for Giants Live in the summer. Oberst also took third place at the All-American Strongman Challenge at the start of the year, whilst Cummine has been a multiple winner of Western Canada’s Strongest Man. Both men now get the chance to show what they can do internationally, with a WSM place now in their sights.
Even at this relatively early stage of the strongman year, it is clear that some of the best known World’s Strongest Man competitors have hit the ground running, finding form immediately, which bodes extremely well for WSM 2013.