World's Strongest Man

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World's Strongest Man
WSMlogo.gif
The official logo of World's Strongest Man
Tournament information
Location varies; 2014 competition to be held in Los Angeles, USA
Month played MAR
Established 1977
Format Multi-event competition
Current champion
Lithuania Žydrūnas Savickas[1]

The World's Strongest Man is a strongman competition. Organized by TWI, an IMG Media company, it is broadcast around the end of December each year.[2] Competitors qualify based on placing in the top three at the four to eight Giants Live events each year.[3]

The current event sponsor is the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, California;[4] other past sponsors include Tonka, Met-rx, and PartyPoker.com. The event has a number of rival and parallel competitions with which it is sometimes confused, including the Strongman Super Series, the now defunct IFSA Strongman World Championships (run from 2005-2007 after the International Federation of Strength Athletes parted company with WSM in 2004) and Strongman Champions League.

History[edit]

1970s–1980s[edit]

The concept behind "The World's Strongest Men", as it was originally named, was developed in 1977 for CBS by Langstar Inc. David Webster, a Scot who later received an OBE for his services to sport, was the head coordinator of the competition from its inception. Dr Douglas Edmunds, seven-times Scottish shot and discus champion and twice world caber champion[5] worked with Webster and when Webster retired Edmunds took over. These two men were responsible for inviting the competitors and choosing the events. In the meantime, in 1982, CBS sold the rights to the BBC, who in turn sold the rights to TWI. In 1987, the WSM was not held for the only time since its inception. In that year the first and only non-team Pure Strength competition was held but it was not part of the WSM franchise.

1990s–2000s[edit]

In 1995, Edmunds and Webster, along with representatives from the competitors including Jamie Reeves, Ilkka Kinnunen and Marcel Mostert formed a governing body called the International Federation of Strength Athletes ("IFSA"). The IFSA began organizing its own bespoke events, such as the IFSA European Championships but also took the lead in working with BBC and TWI to organize the World's Strongest Man competition. For almost a decade the IFSA and WSM were inextricably mixed, but this changed in 2004. The InvestGroup Ventures' sports rights management arm, InvestGroup Sports Management, invested heavily into IFSA and this led to the creation of IFSA Strongman. The strategy was to acquire most of the international assets and properties relating to the strongman sport. In essence this was a new organisation[6] with some, such as Magnus Samuelsson describing it as "a new company...with the same name as our old federation".[7] The attempt at dominance was not well received by TWI and disagreement ensued leading to a split in the sport. Previously, in 2001, the IFSA in its former guise had entered an agreement with World Class Events (WCE), headed by Ulf Bengtsson, to run the Super Series. This Super Series was designed to award the World Championship title, but also acted as a qualifying vehicle for the WSM. When strongman split in 2004, the Super Series sided with TWI forming a rival federation to the IFSA.[6] With the WSM being a TWI owned event, IFSA Holdings announced its own World Championships for 2005, to be held in Quebec, and thus from that point had no involvement in the WSM contest.

The split with IFSA, which banned its registered athletes from competing at WSM, meant that not all the recognised best strength athletes in the world were eligible to compete. However, the reputation of WSM as the premier event maintained its lure for broadcasting purposes. In recent years, the competition has been broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2, TSN, Televisa Deportes and Five. The longevity of the contest in strength athletics and its high levels of TV exposure over the years has led to it being described as "the granddaddy of all strongman contests".[6] In recent years, to curb injuries, the contest events have included a certain amount of athleticism rather than being about raw strength. This has lead some critics to say that contests such as the Arnold Strongman Classic or Fortissimus are the true strongest man competitions. However, it is routinely described as "the Worlds" by top strongman competitors[6] and despite the critics, it is the leading brand name in the field. No other strongman contest commands close to the WSM's levels of TV exposure.[6]

The 2006 competition ended in dramatic fashion, with Phil Pfister edging out Mariusz Pudzianowski in the final event, the Atlas stones. Pfister became the first American to win the event since 1982, and the first American ever to win the event outside the USA.

In 2008, local debutant Derek Poundstone had a large lead over Mariusz Pudzianowski after 3 events but Pudzianowski tied the deadlift event for first place and then won the crucial plane-pull to narrow the gap. Pudzianowski and Poundstone then battled for the title of World's Strongest Man in the last event, the Atlas Stones. Pudzianowski blistered through the event and was able to keep pace with the taller and heavier Poundstone. On the final stone, Pudzianowski was able to capitalize on Poundstone's drop and clinched his fifth title.

In 2009, the long running IFSA/WSM split had ended resulting in finally having all of the top strongmen from around the world all in the same contest. 2 time IFSA World Champion Zydrunas Savickas claimed his first WSM title, with defending champion Mariusz coming in second in his final ever WSM contest. Another up and comer Brian Shaw placed third.

Zydrunas repeated his victory again in 2010, winning by countback against Brian Shaw in the closest finish in WSM history. Top IFSA competitor and fan favorite Mikhail Koklyaev finished third in his WSM debut. Zydrunas set a world record in the giant wooden log lift with a lift of 212.5 kg (467.5 lbs.).

in 2011, Brian Shaw was able to finally capture his first WSM title, just edging out Zydrunas. Both athletes were tied going into the Atlas Stones and Brian was able to capitalize on his massive height advantage and claim the title. England's Terry Hollands finished in third place, his second podium finish after finishing third back in 2007.

Going into the 2012 WSM contest, Brian Shaw suffered from nerve damage in his hands and slipped down to fourth place. This opened the door for Zydrunas to capture his third WSM title, with fellow Lithuanian Vytautas Lalas coming in second and the Iceland giant Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson placed third. Zydrunas set a world record in the log lift with a lift of 220 kg (484 lbs.).

Competition format and commonly contested events[edit]

Initially, eight men representing various sports and strength disciplines were invited to compete against each other in unique events designed to test each individual to the fullest extent. The earliest events were relatively crude, but new ideas were introduced over the years. Some events had a basis in both powerlifting and Highland Games heavy events, and others were created based on mythological feats of strength. There are a number of events that make up each competition. The events used in each individual contest vary in order to prevent favoring certain types of competitor.

  • Loading Race – Five heavy objects weighing between 220–360 lbs (100–164 kg) are loaded onto a truck bed or a similar platform over a course of about 50 ft.
  • McGlashen Stones / Atlas Stones – Five heavy round stones increasing in weight from 220–352 lbs (100–160 kg) are placed on top of five high platforms that make up a 16–33 ft. long course. There are three variations to the Atlas Stones event. In one, the stones are placed directly in front of the platforms and the competitors must simply lift and place them, generally the lightest stone being placed on the highest platform. In another, the stones are placed in a diagonal line, with the first stone being in front of the first platform and each subsequent stone set further back from the course with the heaviest stone being furthest away. The third variation sees the five platforms in a straight vertical line with the stones in front of each, and the competitors must place the stones and then move a short distance to the next one. In recent competitions this is typically the final event.[8]
  • Truck / Airplane Pull – Vehicles such as transport trucks, trams, boxcars, buses or planes are pulled across a 100 ft course by hand as fast as possible. Also, the vehicles may be pulled with a harness around the shoulders.[9] The 2007 competition featured pulling a fire truck (possibly a nod to 2006 champion Phil Pfister, a professional firefighter), and the 2008 qualifying rounds featured a coal truck (a reference to the coal mining industry in West Virginia, where the competition was held).[citation needed][original research?]
  • Overhead Press – The heaviest possible load is pressed overhead, or a lighter weight is used for repetitions.[10]
  • Fingal Fingers – A series of hinged poles ("fingers") are lifted starting from a horizontal resting position and flipped over to the other side. The poles get progressively heavier and longer. The event is scored by time and by how many of the poles a competitor was able to flip over. The event takes its name from Fingal, a mythological Gaelic hunter-warrior.[11]
  • Power Stairs – A series of three Duck Walk implements ranging from 400–600 lbs (182–273 kg) are lifted, step by step, to the top of a flight of stairs.
  • Squat – Squatting large weights, like 900 lb (409 kg) of bricks, a car, or people on a platform. Recently, an apparatus has been used that drops weighted kegs into a cage, one at a time after each successful lift (the event in this case is scored by weight instead of repetitions). The athlete will continue until completion, failure or time expires.[12]
  • Dead Lift – Lifting weights or vehicles up to about 1,100 lb (500 kg) straight off the ground until knees lock in a standing position. Lift is for either maximum weight, maximum repetitions with a fixed weight, or for time whilst holding a single repetition. In recent years, a similar keg-loaded apparatus to that described above for the squat has been used.[13][14]
  • Keg Toss – Competitors must throw kegs, of increasing weight, over a 14 ft 6 in (4.42 m) high steel wall.
  • Car Carry – Competitors stand inside a stripped-down automobile, which is missing some of its roof and all of its bottom and interior, and carry it across a twenty-five meter course. Players are scored by how fast they carried the car across the finish line or how far they were able to get the car before the time-limit expired.
  • Hercules Hold – The athlete stands between two hinged pillars, gripping handles that prevent the pillars from falling to the side. The pillars are held for the longest possible time.[15]
  • Carry and Drag – An anchor and a chain are carried to the end of a set distance, where they must be attached to each other and then dragged back the same distance.[16]
  • Farmer's Walk – Competitors carry heavy objects (usually anvils) weighing from 275-375 lbs (125– 170 kg) in each hand for a set distance, and compete for the fastest time. A variation involves use of a heavy frame with parallel handles, and another involves much heavier weights (referred to as the Giant Farmer's Walk).[17] This event is usually done on the same course as the Carry and Drag is and conducted as a race, but the competition in Sanya, China saw the competitors compete individually carrying the weights up a small set of stairs.
  • Super Yoke – Apparatus composed of a crossbar and two uprights weighing upwards of 400 kg is carried across the shoulders for a set distance.
  • Husafell Stone – A flat, somewhat triangular rock weighing around 400 lb (182 kg) is carried high on the chest for a set distance. During the three years in which the competition took place in Africa, this event was known as the Africa Stone.[18]
  • Duck Walk – A 400 lb (182 kg) pot with a handle is carried, suspended between the legs, over a set course.
  • Log Throw / Caber Toss – A five meter long log is thrown for distance or for height over a bar.
  • Tug of War – One on one tug of war in a single-elimination tournament.
  • Pole Pushing – One on one pole pushing in a Sumo-style ring in a single-elimination tournament. The pole has handles at either end.
  • Crucifix – Weights are held straight out at each side for as long a time as possible. A common variation entails weights being held out in front, using either one or both hands.
  • Giant Dumbbell Press — Single-handed dumbbells are hoisted from the ground onto the competitor's shoulder, from where, with one hand, he must raise it vertically over his head and lockout his arm. With four weights between 220 to 255 pounds (~100 to 115 kg), scoring is based on time and number of successful lifts.
  • Stone Circle/Conan's Wheel - Using his arms, a competitor must move around a circular platform while carrying a basket of heavy stones (the apparatus is held in such a way that the competitor is using his forearms and not his hands).

Most championships[edit]

Champion Country Times Years
Mariusz Pudzianowski  Poland 5 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008
Jón Páll Sigmarsson  Iceland 4 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990
Magnús Ver Magnússon  Iceland 4 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996
Žydrūnas Savickas  Lithuania 4 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014
Bill Kazmaier  United States 3 1980, 1981, 1982
Brian Shaw  United States 2 2011, 2013
Jouko Ahola  Finland 2 1997, 1999
Geoff Capes  United Kingdom 2 1983, 1985
Bruce Wilhelm  United States 2 1977, 1978

Official results – top three places[edit]

Year Champion Runner-Up 3rd Place Location
2014 Lithuania Žydrūnas Savickas Iceland Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson United States Brian Shaw United States Los Angeles, California
2013 United States Brian Shaw Lithuania Žydrūnas Savickas Iceland Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson China Sanya, China
2012[19] Lithuania Žydrūnas Savickas Lithuania Vytautas Lalas Iceland Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson United States Los Angeles, California
2011 United States Brian Shaw Lithuania Žydrūnas Savickas United Kingdom Terry Hollands United States Wingate, North Carolina
2010 Lithuania Žydrūnas Savickas[20] United States Brian Shaw Russia Mikhail Koklyaev South Africa Sun City, South Africa
2009 Lithuania Žydrūnas Savickas Poland Mariusz Pudzianowski United States Brian Shaw Malta Valletta, Malta
2008 Poland Mariusz Pudzianowski United States Derek Poundstone United States Dave Ostlund United States Charleston, West Virginia
2007 Poland Mariusz Pudzianowski Poland Sebastian Wenta United Kingdom Terry Hollands United States Anaheim, California
2006 United States Phil Pfister Poland Mariusz Pudzianowski United States Don Pope China Sanya, China
2005 Poland Mariusz Pudzianowski United States Jesse Marunde Canada Dominic Filiou China Chengdu, China
2004 Ukraine Vasyl Virastyuk Lithuania Žydrūnas Savickas Poland Mariusz Pudzianowski The Bahamas Nassau, Bahamas
2003 Poland Mariusz Pudzianowski Lithuania Žydrūnas Savickas Ukraine Vasyl Virastyuk Zambia Victoria Falls, Zambia
2002 Poland Mariusz Pudzianowski Lithuania Žydrūnas Savickas Latvia Raimonds Bergmanis Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2001 Norway Svend Karlsen Sweden Magnus Samuelsson Finland Janne Virtanen Zambia Victoria Falls, Zambia
2000 Finland Janne Virtanen Norway Svend Karlsen Sweden Magnus Samuelsson South Africa Sun City, South Africa
1999 Finland Jouko Ahola Finland Janne Virtanen Norway Svend Karlsen Malta Valletta, Malta
1998 Sweden Magnus Samuelsson Finland Jouko Ahola Netherlands Wout Zijlstra Morocco Tangier, Morocco
1997 Finland Jouko Ahola Denmark Flemming Rasmussen Sweden Magnus Samuelsson United States Primm Valley Resort, Nevada
1996 Iceland Magnús Ver Magnússon Finland Riku Kiri South Africa Gerrit Badenhorst Mauritius Port Louis, Mauritius
1995 Iceland Magnús Ver Magnússon South Africa Gerrit Badenhorst Finland Marko Varalahti The Bahamas Nassau, Bahamas
1994 Iceland Magnús Ver Magnússon Austria Manfred Hoeberl Finland Riku Kiri South Africa Sun City, South Africa
1993 United Kingdom Gary Taylor Iceland Magnús Ver Magnússon Finland Riku Kiri France Orange, France
1992 Netherlands Ted van der Parre Iceland Magnús Ver Magnússon United Kingdom Jamie Reeves Iceland Reykjavík, Iceland
1991 Iceland Magnús Ver Magnússon Denmark Henning Thorsen United Kingdom Gary Taylor Spain Tenerife, Canary Islands
1990 Iceland Jón Páll Sigmarsson United States O.D. Wilson Finland Ilkka Nummisto Finland Joensuu, Finland
1989 United Kingdom Jamie Reeves Netherlands Ab Wolders Iceland Jón Páll Sigmarsson Spain San Sebastián, Spain
1988 Iceland Jón Páll Sigmarsson United States Bill Kazmaier United Kingdom Jamie Reeves Hungary Budapest, Hungary
1986 Iceland Jón Páll Sigmarsson United Kingdom Geoff Capes Netherlands Ab Wolders France Nice, France
1985 United Kingdom Geoff Capes Iceland Jón Páll Sigmarsson Netherlands Cees de Vreugd Portugal Cascais, Portugal
1984 Iceland Jón Páll Sigmarsson Netherlands Ab Wolders United Kingdom Geoff Capes Sweden Mora, Sweden
1983 United Kingdom Geoff Capes Iceland Jón Páll Sigmarsson Netherlands Simon Wulfse New Zealand Christchurch, New Zealand
1982 United States Bill Kazmaier Canada Tom Magee United States John Gamble United States Magic Mountain, California
1981 United States Bill Kazmaier United Kingdom Geoff Capes United States Dave Waddington United States Magic Mountain, California
1980 United States Bill Kazmaier Sweden Lars Hedlund United Kingdom Geoff Capes United States Vernon, New Jersey
1979 United States Don Reinhoudt Sweden Lars Hedlund United States Bill Kazmaier United States Universal Studios, California
1978 United States Bruce Wilhelm United States Don Reinhoudt Sweden Lars Hedlund United States Universal Studios, California
1977 United States Bruce Wilhelm United States Bob Young United States Ken Patera United States Universal Studios, California
Notes
  1. In 1987 the WSM was not held for the only time since its inception. In that year the first and only non-team Pure Strength competition was held. Although it was not part of the WSM franchise, some commentators regard it as a replacement for WSM in that year.[citation needed]

Most top three places[edit]

Times
9 Lithuania Žydrūnas Savickas
7 Iceland Jón Páll Sigmarsson
7 Poland Mariusz Pudzianowski
6 United Kingdom Geoff Capes
Iceland Magnús Ver Magnússon
5 United States Bill Kazmaier
United States Brian Shaw (strongman)
Sweden Magnus Samuelsson

Most times qualified for WSM: Sweden Magnus Samuelsson - 13 times

Most WSM finals: Sweden Magnus Samuelsson - 10 times

Most times WSM top 5 placings:, Lithuania Žydrūnas Savickas, - 9 times

Championships by country[edit]

Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
 United States 9 7 8 24
 Iceland 8 5 3 16
 Poland 5 3 0 8
 United Kingdom 4 2 7 13
 Lithuania 4 6 0 10
 Finland 3 3 5 11
 Sweden 1 3 4 8
 Netherlands 1 2 4 7
 Norway 1 1 1 3
 Ukraine 1 0 1 2
 Denmark 0 2 0 2
 Canada 0 1 1 2
 South Africa 0 1 1 2
 Austria 0 1 0 1
 Latvia 0 0 1 1
 Russia 0 0 1 1

Australia, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Fiji, France, Germany, Grenada, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Serbia and Samoa have all placed in Top 10 but never won a medal.

Hall of Fame[edit]

The WSM Hall of Fame was created in 2008, to recognize the greatest competitors in the history of the contest.[21] As of 2012, there are 3 members of the WSM Hall of Fame, Mariusz Pudzianowski, Svend Karlsen and Jon Pall Sigmarsson.[21] The official WSM website holds online voting to determine who is elected to the Hall of Fame as voted by the fans.[21]

Hall of Fame Members[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20130&cosponId=13792

http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2013/12/17/pennsylvania-lawmaker-hoping-to-rebuke-imgs-worlds-strongest-man-competition/

External links[edit]