England’s Tom Stoltman captured his first World’s Strongest Man title Saturday afternoon in Sacramento, California by out-dueling four-time champion Brian Shaw in the final event.
The win marked the first for the United Kingdom since 2017 when Eddie Hall reigned supreme and was a monumental moment in sports; Stoltman was diagnosed with Autism as a child and now has the title of the strongest man in the world.
On Day One, Stoltman took an early lead by winning the Giant’s Medley, an event in which competitors carry a 970-pound Super Yoker 10 meters and then carry a 770-pound frame 15 meters to the finish line. Stoltman is fleet of feet for a 6-foot-8 man weighing roughly 380 pounds and finished with a two-second gap between him and runner-up Konstantine Janashia. Shaw took third while Tom’s older brother Luke Stoltman claimed fourth, and early favorite J.F. Caron rounded out the top-half in fifth.
Next on Day One came a rigorous event likened to a sled push called the “Titan’s Turntable”: athletes rotated a 30-ton locomotive by pushing into a frame and walking around a massive turntable until one complete repetition was done.
Tom Stoltman claimed first place in this event as well, opening the competition in dominant form. Shaw finished in sixth place and was momentarily tied with Luke for second overall with 13 points. American Trey Mitchell had his best finish in the event of the whole competition in second place, while Iceland-native Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted landed in third.
The third and final event of Day One was the Keg Toss— everyone in the final was allowed three attempts to throw a 33-pound keg over a bar elevated in the air, which was raised after every round. Shaw got a much-needed result by winning the event with a 7.75-meter toss and breaking his own World Record three times in the process, but could not close much ground on Stoltman, who finished tied for second with Canadian Maxime Boudreault. The Georgian Janashia was next at 7.25 meters, one tier above five other competitors.
At the end of Day One, Tom Stoltman had 28.5 points to Shaw’s 23; Boudreault was next in line with 18.5, Janashia 18, and Luke Stoltman 17.
The competition kicked off on Day Two when Tom Stoltman only managed to overhead press a 408-pound log, 66 pounds short of his record. Shaw did not manage a fantastic weight but earned 2.5 more points than his rival in the event, while the older Stoltman brother won the whole shebang with a 474-pound press. Three athletes— Mitchell, Bobby Thompson, and Boudreault— tied for second place in the event.
Having closed the gap to three points and entering an event that has been a staple in his success over the years, Shaw seemed to be ready to roll in the deadlift competition. The bar was loaded with 760-pounds of weight, and athletes were given one minute to perform as many repetitions as they could.
Adam Bishop, Caron, and Mitchell tied atop the ladder with 10 reps while Shaw’s nine reps leveled him with Thompson and put him one spot above Stoltman: suddenly, the gap had been closed to one point heading into the final event.
Third place overall was also there for the taking heading into the final lift: Mitchell and Luke Stoltman had 29 points, Boudreault and Janashia 27.5, and Caron 27.
As always, the WSM competition ended with the Atlas Stones. Athletes were tasked with loading five man-made stones of increasing weight (310-465 pounds) onto pedestals, with the fastest man to load all of the stones being declared the winner. Shaw had dominated this event in the past, but Stoltman recently marked a world record stone lift of 630 pounds.
In the end, the younger Brit took the event as Boudreault claimed second and Shaw third, declaring Stoltman the new World’s Strongest Man. Shaw had to settle for his second silver medal and tenth podium finish, and Boudreault earned the first WSM medal of his career.
Stoltman’s upset victory made him the sixth different champion in as many years and stalled Shaw’s quest for a record-tying fifth gold medal. With Poland’s Mateusz Kieliszkowski expected to return next year after completing rehab for a torn triceps muscle, there could be another first-time winner at the 2022 competition.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.