2017 Europe's Strongest Man

The Giants Return To Europe's Strongest Man

The Giants Return To Europe's Strongest Man

Europe's Strongest Man was a show unlike any other last year. For the first time in the event's history, 11,000 fans flooded into First Direct Arena in Leeds, England, to see Laurence Shahlaei take home the title and to watch Eddie Hall pull the 500.

Mar 23, 2017 by Chris Bland
Europe's Strongest Man 2017 Preview Show
Europe's Strongest Man was a show unlike any other last year. For the first time in the event's history, 11,000 fans flooded into First Direct Arena in Leeds, England, to see Laurence Shahlaei take home the title and to watch Eddie Hall pull the 500.

This year, though, the World Deadlift Championship is gone, and the focus is all on finding the strongest man in Europe on April 1.

With all 12 of the athletes having competed at World's Strongest Man before, the standard couldn't be higher.

The Event May Be Over But You Can Relive Every Minute Of 2017's Europe's Strongest Man Right Here

Laurence Shahlaei -- England

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Poll a hundred strongman fans who they think will win Europe's Strongest Man and chances are that only a few select folks would bet on Big Loz. It's a shame as the reigning champion is only returning stronger and faster than he was when he won the title last year. Shahlaei is phenomenally fast even under the heaviest of loads, something that will be a great help on the car carry (an event in which he holds the world record) and the truck pull. However, it's his static strength that has improved in leaps and bounds in recent years. Especially in regard to his overhead, the man from Swindon has been seen putting up a 180kg axle with ease and has promised a 200kg on the day.

Eddie Hall -- England

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What can be said about the Beast that hasn't already been said. Not only is he looking stronger, but his fitness seems to of skyrocketed as well. Watching Hall nearly outsprint Loz on the yoke at Britain's Strongest Man is a testament to that. And now that Hall is 100 percent focused on winning the two major titles that have so far eluded him, Europe's and World's Strongest Man, we're seeing a new and more complete side to his performance. There's no denying that Hall is going into this as one of the big favorites, but it doesn't mean it's a guaranteed thing, especially if his shoulder is still acting up.

Adam Bishop -- England

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The fact that a multiple World's Strongest Man competitor such as Bishop only got this spot because Krzysztof Radzikowski had to withdraw with injury shows just how high the standard is this year. Bishop's been unfortunate to suffer some serious bad luck at the last couple of competitions, including a belt buckle snapping half way through his shield carry at Britain's Strongest Man. Fate permitting, he is a fantastic strongman and could do very well.

Konstantine Janashia -- Georgia

Konstantine Janashia might not be a name that many are familiar with, but they soon will be. The Georgian Bull, as he is known, is a monster in the making. The former rugby player shocked the world last year by finishing just three points outside of the medals in his debut at the World's Strongest Man tournament. The young strongman will be keen to give the fans a show and could very possibly finish on the podium.

Hafþór Björnsson -- Iceland

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The Icelandic giant appears to be getting bigger with each proceeding week. Just before the Arnolds, he posted up a photo of him weighing an unthinkable 205kg. And standing at 6-foot-9, he will arguably be the largest man in that Leeds arena. Anyone can be big, though. What sets Thor apart is his incredible strength and talent as a strongman. These days he is the complete athlete: fast under weight, an impressive deadlifter, a brilliant presser, and one of the best stone lifters in the world. If he can avoid mistakes and stay in the top three on every event, we could see him winning back his old title.

Vytautas Lalas -- Lithuania

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Not that long ago seeing Lalas' name on a lineup would have struck dread into the other competitors. Sadly, though, the Lithuanian has been ravaged with injuries over the past few years, and we haven't seen what he is truly capable of since 2013.However, his back does appear to be on the mend, and he seemed to get through the Arnolds injury free. That is fantastic news for fans of the sport, as all it would take for Lalas to return to the podium is a healthy prep and a bit of good fortune.  

Terry Hollands -- England

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When Hollands announced he was returning from retirement two years ago to compete at Europe's Strongest Man, I assumed the then-35-year-old was just another athlete who wanted to a few more minutes in the limelight. I've never been more wrong. Since that first competition back, Hollands has made huge improvements and is leaner, fitter, and stronger than I ever remember seeing him. In training, he's been absolutely manhandling the events. With Friday's first event being the truck pull, I imagine that Hollands is feeling rather confident about returning to First Direct Arena.    

Mark Felix -- England

At over 50 years old, you could forgive Felix for easing up on his training and just competing in the masters category. Fortunately for us, the man from Blackburn shows absolutely no sign of slowing down. While he's still a formidable competitor with a lot of strengths and very few weaknesses, unfortunately one of them is overhead pressing. Facing this year's loaded field, a bad showing on the axle could cost Felix any chance of finishing on the podium.

Luke Stoltman -- Scotland

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Six months ago I would have been cautious of overselling what the Highland Oak could bring to the competition. A lot has changed since then, though, specifically the Scotsman putting in the performance of a lifetime at Britain's Strongest Man and finishing just two points outside of third place. Stoltman will be looking to carry that form over to ESM, and if his training is anything to go by it looks like he will. Watch out for him on the stones; he's truly one of the best in the world at them.

Matuesz Kieliszkowski -- Poland

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Still in his early 20s, the young Pole is possibly one of the most exciting up-and-comers in the strongman world. Kieliszkowski is monstrously fast with even the heaviest of weights on his back or in his hands, a point he proved this weekend by beating the World's Strongest Man, Brian Shaw, on a 500kg yoke. The only thing that stands between Matuesz and strongman glory is his static lifts. We have yet to see him pull a really big deadlift or put a serious weight overhead (with two hands). Fortunately for him, the events at Europe's Strongest Man suit him quite a lot, and he'll be hoping to finish top three on a few and maybe even challenge Loz on the car walk.

Matjaž Belšak -- Slovenia

It's been two years since the Slovenian has competed at Europe's Strongest Man, but there is no doubt that the fans will remember him fondly. At 24 years old, Matjaz is one of the event's youngest competitors, but his age belies a wealth of experience and a great understanding of the sport. An explosive and solid all-rounder, Matjaz will be hoping to continue the good form that saw him make the finals at last year's WSM.  

Graham Hicks -- England

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There are few things in strongman that make me happier than seeing Hicks return to the international fold. And what a return he had, jumping straight in at the deep end competing in one of the toughest Britain's Strongest Man in years and leaving with a trophy. At 5-foot-9, he might be dwarfed by some of the competitors, but there are no doubts about his strength. In fact, he's my outside bet to win the axle.