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Strongest Man to Never Win WSM

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  • Strongest Man to Never Win WSM

    This thread spawned from a short conversation on the WSM 2016 thread. The question is, who do you think is the strongest man to never win at WSM? For the sake of practicality, let's restrict our answers to people that have actually competed at WSM. Also, please provide a little reasoning with your selection/s!

    I'll chime in later, as I would like to see some other folks' opinions that are uninfluenced by my views. Let's hear it yall!

  • #2
    I think we may have had this discussion before but there is quite a few.

    Girard or Muhr (yes, that's right) for me. Girard mentally couldn't get himself into WSM mode and Muhr, was my favourite strongman who could do everything except pressing events.

    Badenhorst, Kiri & Hoeberl deserve mentions, but MVM just had that little bit extra.

    If it was a static question, Glenn Ross.

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    • #3
      Too demanding to say everyone could whittle down their list of favorites to just one guy?

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      • #4
        I kind of like Neil throwing out a few names, but I'd like a little more reasoning behind each selection. One Neil didn't mention was Gerrit Badenhorst. Why does the South African make the list? Let's examine shall we?

        4 top four finishes at WSM including a 2nd place

        Multi-time world powerlifting champion back at a time when there weren't as many feds as lifters; back when a world champ was REALLY a world champ. Broke world records in the lifts too, even surpassing Kaz's total. It must be mentioned that the gear Gerrit lifted in was the predecessor to today's single ply squat suit, but the man deadlifted over 400kg in contest and no primitive deadlift suit was helping him much on that. Gerrit also won other strongman contests outside of WSM, but I'm not going to provide a full biography here, as i feel the case has already been stated.

        What held Gerrit back from winning a title? The poor guy was "muscle bound". Gerrit was the poster boy for those folks that scream about lifting weights making us stiff and inflexible. His pecs, biceps, and shoulders always looked tightly pulled. I believe if the knowledge we have today about the benefits and importance of mobility in the hips and shoulders were available and accepted back in Gerrit's day, he would have been an even better strongman. Would he have won a title? I can't say for sure,

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        • #5
          Riku Kiri is one of my favorites, love to watch him competing and that is only part because i am Finnish too. Especially i like how he was unbeatable in hercules hold. Do they still use that event in strongman? I think they should, or some kind of grip event other than farmers walk.

          However i feel that title in question belongs to Gerrit Badenhorst. He consistently outperformed Kiri in Deadlift and overhead press events. Cant remember how they fared in squats or atlas stones. One of reasons Gerrit did not win was poor grip. At least i seem to remember him performing badly in hercules hold, losing lot of valuable points.

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          • #6
            May I inject a bit of humor here? I think Franco Columbo, in the movie Pumping Iron, said that he was the strongest man who ever lived. So, by logic, if not for the unfortunate accident he sustained in the refrigerator carrying event in the first WSM in 1977, I imagine he would have gone on to win 6 or 7 times!
            Someone ask Bruce Wilhelm what he thinks...

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            • #7
              To borrow a quote from Dan Jenkins' novel "Semi-Tough"; "What could have been was."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Mike Corlett View Post
                May I inject a bit of humor here? I think Franco Columbo, in the movie Pumping Iron, said that he was the strongest man who ever lived. So, by logic, if not for the unfortunate accident he sustained in the refrigerator carrying event in the first WSM in 1977, I imagine he would have gone on to win 6 or 7 times!
                Someone ask Bruce Wilhelm what he thinks...
                Bruce Wilhelm is pretty clear about his disdain for bodybuilders but Franco was actually doing pretty good before getting injured, especially considering he only weighed about 200 lbs. or less. He still finished in 5th place ahead of Jon Cole (probably injured also).

                As for the strongest man to never win, Badenhorst is a good choice but I'm going with big O.D. Wilson. He was much stronger than JPS and was well ahead until they threw in that endurance run with the bricks as the last event. He was robbed.
                http://www.strengthoftheword.com

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                • #9
                  If he has indeed retired, I would throw Poundstone into that mix. Obviously he had the second place where he lost the title on the final stone but he also had a 4th, 5th and 9th place finish. I think that would put him in the discussion, plus his records in other comps like winning Fortissimus and the Arnold twice. The other, who I mentioned in the other thread who often gets forgotten in these lists is Bergmanis. I know his record is solid rather than spectacular but he was competing in a very competitive era. A 3rd, 4th, two 5ths and a 7th isn't to be sniffed at considering he was regularly up against the likes of Ahola, Samulsson, Virtanen, Karlsen, Girard, Pfister, Virastyk, Puz, Z and Dymek etc. Maybe not the strongest never to win WSM but certainly should be in the discussion

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                  • #10
                    Craig - I think most would agree that big O.D. Wilson was robbed that year. Not to take anything away from JPS, but that final event was a load of bologna. I would never say that Wilson was the "better" strongman because Jon Pall's record speaks for itself and Wilson really only shined that one year, but that should have been his year unquestionably.

                    Ben - Poundstone is definitely in the conversation. Throughout his career he set world records, won major contests, and lost the WSM title once on a slip. Bermanis, with his Olympic lifting credentials and his many appearances in the final is certainly a fantastic competitor, but I would say that's a bit of fringe pick. I don't feel like he was ever really close to actually winning the title even when he placed third. So yes I would agree he's in the discussion, but that's going out on a limb a bit.

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                    • #11
                      Paul,
                      Yeah, O.D. only shined that one year but premature death seems to have a way of slowing down one's career trajectory. In 1990, he also won the Pure Strength contest along with Kaz. Also, shortly before his death, he came in 5th in the 1991 WSM with a prolapsed disc in his back. I agree that he wasn't a "better" strongman than JPS but I do believe he was stronger. Hence, the title "STRONGEST man to never win WSM."
                      http://www.strengthoftheword.com

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                      • #12
                        Personally I think its got to be between O.D, Kiri and Poundstone. There is an argument for them all, but I think I'd go with Poundstone. But it got me thinking of other 'left of field' picks. How about Koklyaev. After all, it looks like he is pursing other goals outside strongman and if he did come back I can't see him winning WSM anymore. I realise his WSM record is a little underwhelming for a strongman of his stature: he only competed three times, failing to make the final once, 10th place because of injury and a 3rd. However back in IFSA days he, along with Virastyk and Savickas were in their own league. I know its 'ifs' and 'buts' but if there wasn't a split he along with Virastyk, Z and Pudz would have been a contender for all of those years. Then when the IFSA athletes finally came back to WSM in that great comp of 2009, he got injured and was absent. So 2010 was his first WSM and personally I think he'd already reached his peak. And even after 2010 he always seemed he was only half concentrating on strongman, what with his weightlifting goals. He seems to come in that group of 'what if' strongmen.

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                        • #13
                          With Koklyaev I always got the impression he's such an easy going guy that he lacked the fire to kick top level ass. Nice in person - as when I met him.

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                          • #14
                            I had high hopes for Koklyaev but, yeah, he did seem to lack some fire, like winning WSM wasn't a big priority. He is a good name to add to the list, though.
                            http://www.strengthoftheword.com

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                            • #15
                              Koklyaev is an interest subject here. His weightlifting, powerlifting, and strongman achievements when looked at as a whole are absolutely incredible. To be elite in all 3 disciplines is almost unheard of (other examples anyone?). When you look at his strongman career only however, it is quite good, elite in fact, but he never won a major show (IFSA worlds, WSM, the Arnold, or Fortissimus). So how do we quantify his achievements in regards to this topic?

                              In the latest edition of MILO, none other than Bill Kazmaier described his desire to be a "decathlete of strength," or someone that could belly up to any challenge and excel at it. This is very similar to what my vision of true physical strength is; not just being good at a few challenges, but being able to apply one's strength to numerous challenges and consistently beat one's opposition in those tests. Koklyaev fits this definition of strength better than almost anyone, so it is my opinion that he does very much indeed belong in this conversation.

                              We must keep in mind that Mikhail is not retired (to my knowledge) from the sport, and that he could still theoretically hoist the WSM trophy one day. The big Russian is still in his prime.

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                              • #16
                                I'd like to see Koklyaev make a comeback but I am sceptical. I remember after he got injured at 2013 WSM he said he was contemplating retiring because he thought Strongman was getting too heavy and injuries were becoming too frequent. Since then, as far as I am aware he hasn't done anymore strongman comps, although I could be wrong. I am pretty sure he hasn't been in any of the SCL comps and was invited to both of the last two Arnold's and WSM comps but turned down the invitations. I'd love to see him back because he's a great character to have in the sport but he must be in his late thirties now and I'd struggle to see him beating any of the big three. I'd love to be proved wrong but I think he is slipping into the aforementioned category of strongest never to win.

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                                • #17
                                  Riku, O.D., Gerrit and Misha. In that order for me. I have a catalog of DVD's of WSM from 1977 to present and continue to watch them, so that is my opinion.

                                  This list will not include Hafthor. He is only 26 and will likely put together a long string of WSM titles. Zydrunas was on this list until the last several years but has redeemed himself very deep into his career.

                                  Bill

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                                  • #18
                                    Thanks for chiming in everyone, I am very much enjoying this thread. Anyone thinking Terry Hollands may end up on this list? He has been a world class strongman for a long time now, and if I'm not mistaken he holds the record for appearances in the final now (maybe tied with Magnus Samuellsson?). Overhead pressing has been his kryptonite however, and he always loses a ton of points on the pressing events. His yoke, truck pulling, farmers walk, stones, etc have been right up there with the best of the best for a decade though.

                                    Thoughts? If Terry doesn't win before he retires does he "make the cut" for this conversation?

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                                    • #19
                                      I believe Samuelsson has the record for finals with 10. I believe Hollands has 9 so if he hasn't lost any power when he makes his comeback he should equal him, and depending on how many years he has left in him he could break the record. However, he does have the record for most consecutive finals as all of his nine were one after another. Terry is hard one to place. I mean his longevity and consistency certainly favour him and lets not forget he has two podium places. Yet like you mention because of his struggles with the log and other overhead events he never really looked like winning any WSM. He looked very impressive in 2007 and 2011 but was just below Pudz, Z and Shaw. Although he did look super strong in the 2012 or 2013 comp (I can't remember which) he looked like a real contender but then got injured. I guess he's in that group like we said with Bergmanis, very consistent and a top competitor but just below the very best. I suppose it depends whether you favour someone that has been consistently at the top but has never come really close to winning or someone who maybe was at the top for less time but came extremely close to taking the title.

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                                      • #20
                                        Excellent breakdown Ben and I would tend to agree with this assessment. He may be just outside that "best of the best" circle. As mentioned though, the book on the big Brit's career is not finished yet.

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