I’ve always loved watching World’s Strongest Man (WSM). As a kid, I was fascinated by these monstrous looking men and their incredible feats of power. Watching WSM 2011, I was amazed by how much things have progressed since I watched it when I was young. Firstly, these strongmen really are proper athletes; all look trim and explosive, and have good endurance as well as brute strength. Gone are the large guts and excess weight. Additionally, the events and commentary have also evolved. Each strongman is assessed prior to the competition to provide statistics on their grip, endurance, explosiveness etc. During some events, the strongmen will also wear heart rate monitors so you can see how and when their heart rate peaks during the gruelling challenges.
This year the competition was fierce, but I was really pleased to see that we had 5 British competitors in the heats, including:
- Terry Hollands
- Laurence Shahlaei
- Mark Felix
- Robert Frampton
- Jack McIntosh
Both Terry and Laurence qualified through the heats to get into the final, and I was really proud when they ended up battling for a place on the podium in the final round (the Atlas stones). Terry beat Laurence in the stones, and secured a third place position in WSM 2011. Laurence was clearly gutted to be just outside a podium spot in 4th place, but he’s much improved on his previous competitions and will hopefully build on this success for a newly revitalised campaign in 2012.
The winner of WSM 2011 was American Brian Shaw (pictured above); a well deserved winner that broke the winning streak of Lithuania’s Zydrunas Savickas. Zydrunas struggled in some of the events, but looked unbeatable in others temporarily adding another World Record to his collection until he was beaten time wise by Derek Poundstone. Both Shaw and Savickas were neck and neck until the final event, and an astonishing performance on the Atlas stones sealed Brian Shaw’s victory.
I’m looking forward to watching a lot more of the Strongman competitions this year, and I’ll be watching Hollands, Shahlaei and McIntosh with interest to see how they progress.