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Worlds Strongest Man 2018

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Wayne G Rowley View Post
    Ok thx. Did they say what area ???


    I heard it's Manilla, April 28 - May 6


    • #22
      Originally posted by Neil Mitchell View Post

      I heard it's Manilla, April 28 - May 6


      • #23
        Peiman Maheripourehir, of Iran, has confirmed receiving an invite for his second appearance at World's Strongest Man.


        • #24
          Brian Benzel has an invite.

          Mark Felix likely to go if Laurence Shahlaei isn't recovered in time.


          • #25
            Dennis Kohlruss of Germany will be heading to World's Strongest Man 2018. He will be the first German representative since Florian Trimpl in 2009.


            • #26
              Rongo Keene (Australia / New Zealand) has earned an invite to WSM 2018.


              • #27
                The list of 30 has been released.

                Benzel & Smith as alternates.

                No Pritchett, Pacquet, Savatinov or Woulfe.

                The Lalas Brothers are in.


                • #28
                  Roster looks good this year, minus those we already knew would be absent (Hall, Arsjo etc), most of the top guys will be in the Philippines.

                  Great to see some top names returning after a few years out of the comp such as V Lalas, Hicks and Radzikowski. Also some exciting debutants such as Sanou, Derks, Keene, M. Lalas, Kohlruss and Smaukstelis. The latter few have all been performing to a consistently high level in the SCL.

                  That being said a few big names are absent. Hopefully Pritchett and Savatinov were invited because they should be there. Maybe they decided to focus on the Arnold comps. Heinla is definitely in the top 30 strongmen in the world but I wonder if previous incidents are at play here. Also a shame to see no Gunnarsson who seems to be improving every year and was very unlucky not to make the final last year. Finally not sure why Zageris has been overlooked again. Should have been a finalist a few years ago if it wasn’t for that stupid double points rule and has frequently beaten a lot of regular SCL guys who have been invited.


                  • #29
                    Group 1
                    M. Belsak (SLO)
                    H. Bjornsson (ISL)
                    R. Kearney (USA)
                    M. Lalas (LTU)
                    P. Maheripourehir (IRI)
                    L. Shahlaei (UK)

                    Load and Carry
                    Circle of Strength
                    Arm Over Arm
                    Log Lift
                    Atlas Stones

                    Group 2
                    A. Bishop (UK)
                    A. Derks (USA)
                    J. Els (RSA)
                    J. Hansson (SWE)
                    V. Lalas (LTU)
                    B. Shaw (USA)

                    Load and Carry
                    Kettlebell Toss
                    Arm Over Arm
                    Dumbbell Medley
                    Atlas Stones

                    Group 3
                    G. Hicks (UK)
                    D. Kohlruss (GER)
                    R. Oberst (USA)
                    C. Sanou (BUR)
                    Z. Savickas (LTU)
                    L. Stoltman (UK)

                    Load and Carry
                    Kettlebell Toss
                    Squat Lift
                    Bus Pull
                    Log Lift
                    Atlas Stones

                    Group 4
                    J-F Caron (CAN)
                    M. Felix (UK)
                    M. Forsmark (SWE)
                    R. Keene (AUS)
                    M. Licis (USA)
                    K. Radzikowski (POL)

                    Load and Carry
                    Circle of Strength
                    Arm Over Arm
                    Dumbbell Medley
                    Atlas Stones

                    Group 5
                    N. Best (USA)
                    T. Hollands (UK)
                    K. Janashia (GEO)
                    M. Shivlyakov (RUS)
                    A. Smaukstelis (LAT)
                    M. Kieliszkowski (POL)

                    Load and Carry
                    Kettlebell Toss
                    Bus Pull
                    Dumbbell Medley
                    Atlas Stones

                    No last man standing this year, instead after 5 events 2nd v 3rd in a playoff in the Atlas Stones.


                    • #30
                      Looking forward to this year’s WSM, unlike previous years the groups are looking really tough to predict and there are some real ‘group of deaths.’ Thought I would include the annual prediction. Apologises about length.

                      Heat 1
                      1. Bjornsson – This is a really tough group but Thor should ease through, he’s the big favourite to win his first WSM title after his recent wins at the Arnold and ESM.
                      2. Kearney - Possibly a surprise pick to advance, but had some really good results last year (including winning the GL America) and I think the events really suit him.
                      3. Shahlaei – If he’s fit and recovered from his recent injuries he should be favourite to qualify behind Bjornsson. However, he hasn’t competed in a while and if he’s not back to his best it will be an uphill challenge.
                      4. Belsak – Like Shahlaei another previous finalist who I could easily see securing the 2nd place. Has dominated the SCL but the standard of the competition isn’t what it is here. His performance at ESM last weekend was nothing to write home about, albeit in a very top field. He also looked great at the Arnold Australia.
                      5. M. Lalas – Looking forward to seeing what he can do in his first WSM. Won a number of SCL comps a few years ago but haven’t seen him compete much recently so not sure of his form.
                      6. Maheripourehir – Shows the strength in depth of this group that I have Peyman in 6th. Came close to qualifying for the final last year and if he’s in similar form can certainly challenge again.

                      Heat 2
                      1. Shaw – Like Thor should qualify with relative ease. Will be Thor’s main challenger like he was at the Arnold.
                      2. V. Lalas – Another hard group to predict who gets 2nd. On paper it should be Lalas but his injury record isn’t great. After his injury at ESM there might be a question mark if he makes it to WSM let alone makes it through the heats unscathed. If he can stay fit however, he should make the final.
                      3. Bishop – In this group he could make the final if Lalas slips up. He looked great at BSM earlier this year. That being said he is coming back from an injury himself.
                      4. Hansson – A really solid up and up and coming strongman. Pushed Arsjo all the way in the Giants Live comp late last year and beat Savickas. If he’s in top form and others struggle he could be a dark horse for the final.
                      5. Els – Really good at the ‘movement’ type events and is improving each year after coming to strongman late. Has the potential to take points off the favourites in certain events.
                      6. Derks – Only putting him here because I don’t know a lot about him. Did great to place third at the GL comp behind Best and Kearney but might be more of a learning experience in his first WSM.

                      Heat 3
                      1. Savickas – Might not be at his best anymore but his result in the GL finals last year suggest that he’s still one of the best in the world. Should make it to the finals and be in the hunt for the podium.
                      2. Hicks – has been in great form this year. Looked so strong at BSM and was in the hunt for another podium at ESM after being sick. Looks like his best opportunity to make the final.
                      3. Sanou – Looked so strong at Log Lift champs and GL finals. Could place behind Savickas. As someone that is new to the sport, inexperience and a lack of technique hampered him in the past. A lot will depend on how much he has learnt in the last year.
                      4. Oberst – Since his comeback he has been looking back to his best. With his experience and if he’s on form there’s no reason why he can’t make a return to the final.
                      5. Stoltman – A hard one to call. His previous performances at WSM, where he was close to making the final, suggest a top two place is in his grasp. That being said his performance at BSM early this year was little underwhelming, albeit in a really strong field.
                      6. Kohlruss – Has been one of the better performers in the SCL so I am glad he has an invite. It’s nice to see a German back since the days of Ide and Werner. Making a final might be too much of a stretch in his first WSM.

                      Heat 4
                      1. Licis – Has been improving every year and should make the final relatively easily. If on form a podium is a real possibility.
                      2. Caron – Probably the easiest group to predict the top 2. Caron is so consistent and another final (and possible top 5) looks on the cards.
                      3. Razikowski – Similar to Lalas the big question mark is injury after ESM. Unlike Lalas I think his group is tougher. This is a shame because his WSM record is a little disappointing, he has only made the final once. Looked dominant in the first SCL of the year but find it hard to pick him above Licis and Caron.
                      4. Felix – His 7th place at BSM this year suggests that age might finally be catching up with him, although Felix has proved me wrong before. Events look slightly better for him than the ones he had last year but will be a struggle for him in this group.
                      5. Forsmark – Another underrated strongman who has been runner up to Arsjo at Sweden’s strongest man 4 years in a row. Like his compatriot, Hansson, could surprise but it will be hard for him to advance in such a strong group.
                      6. Keene – Don’t know too much about Keene but he looked impressive in the Arnold Australia. Like other first-time competitors he will probably use this comp as a learning experience for next year.

                      Heat 5
                      1. Janashia – This looks like the group of death. Janashia should make the final though. His form is looking great after his second place at ESM.
                      2. Kieliszkowski – Also looks in great form after podiuming in ESM, winning the last three events. Will lose points on the deadlift but should be able to make up for it in the other events – particularly the loading and bus pull.
                      3. Shivlyakov – In most other groups I would have him advancing. Especially after his podium at the Arnold. Really hard to pick 2 out of these 3.
                      4. Hollands – Doesn’t appear to have lost too much strength after slimming down. His 3rd at BSM and 6th at ESM demonstrate he is still one of the top strongman. In some of the other groups I could see him advancing but in Heat 5 it will be tough.
                      5. Best – Does not feel right having Best this low, especially because like Janashia and Kielszkowki he made the final last year. I just think it will be too hard for him to repeat that feat in this group.
                      6. Smaukstelis – Has performed well in the SCL and won a comp last year (although his compatriot Zageris won more and is conspicuously absent). Has a lot of potential but will find it tough in this group.


                      • #31
                        Even harder to predict this year given the playoff on the Atlas Stones between 2nd & 3rd, I get that it's a TV show and for entertainment purposes they need to do something with the 6th and final event in the heats. Personally, I don't like them tinkering with the format but if they are insisting on doing so, I Nos. 2-4 doing the stones for double points is the best way to do it.

                        Group 1:- Not sure what this circle of strength is whether it's static or some sort of Conan's Wheel type implement.
                        Group winner - Thor Bjornsson, this is his year, I've been saying this for maybe the last three years but Bjornsson has worked so hard to get himself ahead of everyone else that the wins at The Arnold Classic & Europe's Strongest Man mean that he is the clear favourite to win WSM 18, and he should win this group.
                        Runner-Up. Really hard to call, don't an Arm-Over-Arm being used as much these days unfortunately, I actually think it's a good event. I'll go for Belsak to get 2nd.
                        Shahlaei has been working his way back from injury, coming back at WSM isn't easy.
                        Lalas & Maheripourehir, I don't see history repeating this year for Peiman in nearly pulling off a shock and getting to the final, for Lalas this is a totally different environment to SCL.
                        Belsak, below standard performance at ESM, maybe he was carrying an injury or the log-lift took it out of him

                        Group 2:-
                        Group Winner - Brian Shaw. I think Shaw has peaked and at the same time is now trying to catch a Thor who's hitting his peak, Shaw is going to be the main challenger to Thor.
                        Runner Up - Lalas. He's had a tough time with injuries, and I know he picked up a calf injury at ESM. In saying that, I think if Lalas is anything near his best he gets second.
                        The rest - They're just too inconsistent, I'll go with Hansson to get third and take on Lalas in the Atlas Stones.

                        Group 3:-
                        Group Winner - Zydrunas Savickas. Strength legend, but I think his dream for another WSM isn't going to happen. Still one of the World's best.
                        Runner Up - Toss up between Hicks, Oberst or Sanou. The overhead events could see points shared between them all, so we're talking about who is the best stone loader of the three. I'll go with Hicks, because he's improved so much, oh and he's British.
                        I know Stoltman is British too, I like the guy, but I think this might be too much for him. Kohlruss, all about the experience of WSM this year for him

                        Group 4:-
                        Group Winner - J-F Caron. Doesn't get enough plaudits for me, in another era he'd possibly have a major title.
                        Runner Up - Martins Licis. I think this guy will be WSM at some stage, he's what 27 or 28 years old, still improving, not much between him and J-F.
                        Toss of a coin for 3rd, Forsmark is a very good strongman who has had Arsjo in his path domestically for some time.
                        Felix, keeps fighting the age barrier, but I think there's just too much depth in WSM now for him to make another final.
                        Radzikowski, a poor WSM record, a bit injury prone, if he can get through the 5 events uninjured, then yes, he should make the final, but you just can't call it with him.
                        Keene, nice to see new faces at WSM, but yeah, this will be an experience for him.

                        Group 5:-
                        Group Winner - Mateusz Kieliszkowski. If he could deadlift I'd have him down as a challenger to Thor. Moving events, he's probably the best in the World at the moment.
                        Runner Up - Konstantine Janashia. My head ruling my heart here, as much as I would love to see Terry Hollands make a WSM final again, Janashia is one of the top strongmen in the World, he doesn't have many weaknesses, that being said if it's Janashia v Hollands in the Atlas Stones. It's too close to call.
                        Shivlyakov, it's a tough group for him, he's a great strongman but he's also capable of throwing points away, and this group is a Group of Death.
                        Best. Hearing this is his last competition before retirement, we'll see, he done brilliantly to get to the WSM 17 Final, I just don't see it happening this year.
                        Smaukstelis - New kid on the block, did very well last year, he'll be all the better for this.


                        • #32
                          The very in depth analysis from Ben and Neil are greatly appreciated.


                          • #33
                            I could have went further into depth as I'm sure Ben could too. I enjoy chatting about the sport, my predictions on the other hand aren't always great.


                            • #34
                              Approximately 100 hours before the start of the Load & Carry in Manila, here are my predictions for the heats of this year's World's Strongest Man competition.

                              Heat 1 - Bjornsson and Belsak
                              This group is quite stacked, as it notably includes the favorite for this year's title, Hafthor Julius Bjornsson. He will probably walk through the first five events, as he did last year, and win the heat. Bjornsson will probably win all the moving events and save energy on the static ones. I see the battle on the stones coming down to Matjaz Belsak and Laurence Shahlaei. Both men made the finals in recent years, and they have good events here. Belsak is good at Arm-over-arm Pull and Log Lift, among other things, while Shahlaei has a decent shot at winning the Squat Lift. A stone duel between the two should be a bit of a toss-up, but I am going with Belsak since he is probably in better shape than Loz, who is recovering from injury. However, the other athletes should not be counted out. Peiman Maheripourehir is an awesome athlete and seems to be in even better shape than last year. Rob Kearney has some very good events and could win the Log Lift, while Marius Lalas is a bit of an unknown quantity but the Lithuanian was quite impressive during SCL contests in the past few years.

                              Heat 2 - Shaw and Lalas
                              As always, Brian Shaw will get as many points as he wants to during the heats. Shaw will be looking to save energy on the Dumbbell Medley, which should be his final event. Vytautas Lalas, making his first appearance since 2013, is recovering from a calf injury and it is unclear how fit he is at the moment. Nonetheless, Lalas cannot be overlooked. His overall body power should get him to the final out of this heat. Battling against him in the stones will probably be either Adam Bishop, Johan Els or Johnny Hansson. These three men are fit and fast, but will probably lose points during events like the Deadlift (except for Bishop) and the Dumbbell Medley. All of them are good stone lifters, so a mistake by Lalas could see Bishop, Els or Hansson make it to the final. As for Adam Derks, he is quite strong but I don't see him making the top 3 in this group.

                              Heat 3 - Savickas and Oberst
                              This heat will probably be incredibly close behind Zydrunas Savickas. Big Z is back, but he is not in the same form he was in a few years ago. The Lithuanian should win the group regardless, as I see him winning three events out of five. Who accompanies him to the final depends on who makes it to the stone duel. Four men have a good shot at getting there: Robert Oberst, Cheick Sanou, Luke Stoltman, and Graham Hicks. Stoltman is probably the better athlete out of these four, while the three others specialize in power events. Oberst's height and bodyweight will probably help him in the Kettlebell Throw and in the Bus Pull, which is why I give him the edge. I also see Sanou getting to the stone battle because he has the potential to beat Z on a few events, thus getting a points gap. Oberst looked more comfortable on stones than Sanou last year, but with Iron Biby improving as fast as he has, who knows what may happen? One of the Brits could also make it if things go their way. Dennis Kohlruss is getting a baptism of fire with all the big names in his heat.

                              Heat 4 - Licis and Caron
                              These events suit the North Americans perfectly. Martins Licis will probably edge out JF Caron for victory in this one, but it won't really matter as the Canadian is great at stones. Mark Felix has some good events early, and should rack up the points on days 1 and 2. However, pressing dumbbells is not something he enjoys very much. On the other had, Krzysztof Radzikowski might start slow and finish strong. Felix and Radzikowski will look to make it to the final event, but Licis and Caron are superior stone lifters and will get the job done. Martin Forsmark will be consistent, but with two of last year's top 5 in this heat, the Swede's job will not be easy. Same goes for Rongo Keene, the rookie from Australia gaining valuable experience all the time as he is coached by former WSM finalist Warrick Brant.

                              Heat 5 - Kieliszkowski and Janashia
                              I believe the organizers messed up with this one. Strongman rankings are always arguable, but I think it's fair to assess that five of the top 20 strongmen in the world are in this heat. That makes it insanely hard for regular finalists Mateusz Kieliszkowski and Konstantine Janashia to make it again. It also screws over an athlete like Mikhail Shivlyakov, who finished third in this year's Arnold Classic but may just miss out on the final. Let's not forget about Nick Best and Terry Hollands, two men who have made the final multiple times, and who are not even favorites for top 3 in their own heat. I am going with Kieliszkowski and Janashia, both men having gotten a top 6 result in this contest in the last two years. Shivlyakov may well miss out on the final again, even though I'm sure he would have made it out of heats 2 or 3. We will have to see how the heats go, but it seems like bad seeding has robbed us of a deserving finalist. The Russian was ninth back in 2015, and he is in much better shape now. Best and Hollands will have to hope for better luck next year, while young Aivars Smaukstelis will try to survive this group of death.

                              So, there you have it! I usually get about 8 of 10 finalists right, so let's hope for better results this year. I will be providing updates as always, and managing this spreadsheet as the contest goes on:


                              • #35
                                Sanou is out of Heat 3 due to illness so Benzel gets his spot.

                                For anyone wanting to know why it's Benzel instead of Smith, there is already two British Athletes in that Heat.


                                • #36
                                  WSM 2018 Finalists:-

                                  Hafthor Bjornsson
                                  Brian Shaw
                                  Zydrunas Savickas
                                  Martins Licis
                                  Mateusz Kieliszkowski

                                  Matjaz Belsak
                                  Johan Els
                                  Robert Oberst
                                  Jean-Francois Caron
                                  Konstantine Janashia


                                  • #37
                                    So podium predictions for Final:-

                                    1. Thor Bjornsson - The favourite, coasted through the Heats, I'd expect him to win at least 2 events while placing high in just about every other event with exception to Frame Carry.

                                    2. Brian Shaw - He too coasted through the Heats, looked a bit awkward on the Deadlift but should be more comfortable with the Card Deadlift apparatus. Unfortunately for Shaw, Thor is just a bit ahead of him at the moment, and I'm not entirely sure Brian Shaw is 100% focused on WSM, I believe his wife is due to give birth just after the Finals so that must be playing on his mind too.

                                    3. Mateusz Kieliszkowski - If he could deadlift he'd be challenging for 1st let alone 3rd. He could win maybe 3 events in the final, but the deadlift will cost him points and there he could get caught up in the Atlas Stones.


                                    • #38
                                      Now that the heats are finished, I can do another of my annual posts, my lament at the latest gimmick to end the heats. I think as soon as the 2nd vs 3rd head to head stones was announced most of us knew that it could be really unfair and the taking of entertainment over sport. Its such a shame to see the likes of Bishop and particularly Felix denied a place in the final. Surely it would have been better to at least have taken the points difference into account before the stone run. For instance, converting the gap in points into a seconds head start. So Felix would have had a 6 second head start of his stone run over Caron. In this instance it might not have made a difference in the result but at least it would have made the previous events worth something.

                                      My other issue with the new system is that in most instances I dont think it did what it was supposed to do - make the stone runs more exciting. I imagine the 2nd vs 3rd face off will make good tv, but because of the tight nature of the groups it could have been more exciting. For instance in Heat 1 we were denied a 3 way fight for the final spot in the final with Shahlaei competing with Belsak and Lalas. Similarly Derks would have been in the mix in Heat 2 and although Savickas and Oberst would have been the favourites to advance in Heat 3, we would have 5 guys still with a shot.

                                      I think the main issue is that the WSM organisers are reacting to a problem that is less relevant now. A few years ago there was usually 2 clear favourites to make the final out of each group. But now, with the strength in depth of strongman being what it is, and to their credit the organisers inviting most of the top 30 strongmen in the world, the groups are so close so don't need artificial interference with gimmicky rules.

                                      As for my podium prediction, I think the top two places (minus injury) are fairly set in stone with Thor winning and Shaw getting second. The final step on the podium is much more open but I think i will plump for Licis just beating out Kieliszkowki and Janashia.


                                      • #39
                                        If Mateusz could dead lift, he would have won. He was the strongest in high reps, rep max, and the fastest.