Every year, the events get heavier and more difficult at Europe's Strongest Man, and this year is no different. The top strongmen in Europe will be put to the test on July 9 as they carry 850-pound frames, press 375-pound wooden logs for reps, walk with a Volkswagen Beetle on their backs and more. Hafthor Bjornsson has won the past two years, and is looking for the trifecta. What will it take for the other athletes to spoil his day?
Deadlift For Max Weight
The weight selection jumps are nothing to laugh at: 400/420/440/465/500kg. To even get on the board, competitors need to deadlift a world-class 882lbs. A zero in this event could really affect athletes who might succeed at the other events, but struggle with deadlifts. Making the opening weight will be huge for Polish newcomer, Kieliszkowski. The dramatic jumps in weight will also make scoring interesting, as they could result in multiple ties. The key jump will be to 440kg--whoever succeeds on that attempt will distance themselves from the pack, as most of the competitor's current PRs are in the 420kg range. Of course, the key is making it out alive. In the past two years, we've seen the max deadlift result in injuries that forced athletes to withdraw from competition.
Athletes must carry a 390kg (850lbs) frame for 20 meters (66 feet). An extremely heavy timber carry like this will surely test the grip, foot speed, and strength of the athletes. Bjornsson is a favorite, but don't count out Shahlaei and Hollands, who also are extremely quick on moving events.
Log Press For Max Reps
A 170-kilogram (375-pound) log must be pressed overhead for the highest number of repetitions possible in 60 seconds. 375lbs is a lot of weight for a max, let alone for reps. This is a key event for Felix to have a phenomenal pressing day, as he maxed out at 335lbs just a few weeks ago at the North American Open Championships. Radzikowski, Savatinov, Kieliszkowski, and Hall should shine as the top pressers in the group as well. At this point, it is unsure if the tricep injury Hall incurred at the Arnold Classic is still affecting his press. Bjornsson could do well in this event, too, thanks to an efficient clean and good conditioning. Hollands' log press has also been looking strong lately.
This event is similar to a yoke walk, but includes the difficulty of balancing a Volkswagen Beetle on your back. Competitors will walk a 450kg (1,000lbs) car for 20 meters (66 feet). Shahlaei broke the world record earlier this year by carrying a 1,012lb car 20 meters in an amazing 11.92 seconds to best Hollands' previous record. Undoubtedly, Hollands is hungry to take back his record from long-time rival Shahlaei. The key to this event is finishing--many will not complete the course and only be given a distance, but those that do will earn big points.
Athletes load five stones (ranging in weight from 140-200kg/309-441lbs) in the fastest possible time. Bjornsson is generally the king of stones, and demolished the series in 2015. However, Hall edged him out at World's Strongest Man in 2015, which was a surprise to many. The question is: Has Hall focused on the 500kg deadlift at the expense of other events? The group is full of phenomenal stone loaders such as Hollands and Felix, who should post some fast times as well. Kielkowski's stone-loading abilities are largely unknown, and Radzikowski has had a bicep injury this entire season that could affect his performance.