The curtains will soon go up at the first direct arena in Leeds for Europe’s Strongest Man 2019 - and the stage is set for one of the strongest lineups we have EVER seen!
No less than 6 out of the current 10 World’s Strongest Men finalists will be competing under one roof, including the World’s Top 3 Strongest Men. The event will also feature the World Log Lift Challenge, PLUS a brand new event for 2019: the Pillars of Hercules!
This is going to be a night to remember!
Will current World’s Strongest Man, Hapthor Bjornsson be able to maintain his run of stunning form and claim his 5th European title? Or will the young Polish sensation and Second World’s Strongest Man, Mateusz Kieliszkowski, be able to take his 2nd Giants Live title after victory in Manchester in 2018?
It’s not just the World’s number 1 and 2 to watch out for, though- newly crowned Britain’s Strongest Man, Graham Hicks, will be carrying British hopes, along with an on-form and hungry Tom Stoltman and the Warrior Laurence Shahlaei, hoping to repeat his incredible Europe’s Strongest Man victory of 2016.
Let’s take a closer look at the athletes vying for the biggest Strongman title in Europe...
He certainly had an incredible 2018: 1st at World’s Strongest Man, 1st at Europe’s Strongest Man, 1st at the Arnold Classic... so it’s safe to say that the 6ft 9’ Icelandic powerhouse is the man everyone will be looking to beat on April 6th.
In 2018, Thor was the complete package - agile in the dynamic moving events whilst maintaining incredible static strength and amazing grip strength to boot, but the sport of Strongman never stays still for long. Athletes must progress year-on-year to stay on top and even though Thor was undisputedly the greatest strongman of 2018, we are yet to see how the Thor of 2019 compares to his rivals. But if his recent Instagram training videos are anything to go by, Thor won’t be letting his King of Strength crown slip anytime soon - and his Royal entourage are behind him all the way!
Credit: @Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson
Here is the man that many are expecting to be Thor’s main challenger at Europe’s Strongest Man - and World’s Strongest Man - this year.
His lean physique and steely determination is very reminiscent of Mariusz Pudzianowski and at only 25 years old, he has time on his side. An incredible showing at World’s Strongest Man 2018, finishing 2nd ahead of the great Brian Shaw, followed by a mesmerising showing at Giants Live Tour Final in Manchester clinching the win with THAT mesmerising atlas stones run.
Expect Mateusz to be very strong in the moving events, but will his log pressing capability let him down against the MIGHTY Thor?
Adam Bishop put in a stand-out performance at the World Tour Finals in 2018, finishing 3rd in a world class field of athletes and followed it up with 2nd place at Britain’s Strongest Man 2019 in January this year.
Adam has been part of the strongman community for the best part of a decade but since The Beast’s retirement in 2018 he has proved himself to be one of the best British strongmen around. If he’s on form, could we see another 2016-style British win in Leeds?
Which brings us nicely on to 2016 Europe’s Strongest Man and The Warrior that is Laurence Shahlaei.
Laurence had a relatively quiet 2018, sidelined by injuries that kept him away from both Britain’s Strongest Man and World’s, but Laurence is the master of the comeback. Like the silent assassin quietly working away behind the scenes, you never really know when Big Loz will strike next.
After taking 1st place in the North American Open in 2018 and an ultra competitive performance at Britain’s Strongest Man 2019, Laurence is back on his front foot and going into Europe’s Strongest Man with good momentum.
Credit: @Laurence Shahlaei
Aside from Thor, Laurence is the only other man competing in Leeds to have taken the European title before. The log press is going to be strong for Loz and his deadlifting game has been on point recently, too, so expect him to be fighting for a podium.
When current Britain’s Strongest Man, Graham Hicks, and former World’s Strongest Man, Eddie Hall, tip someone for greatness, you better listen up
Tom Stoltman has been tipped for greatness by those in the know for a few years now, and after a scintillating performance at Britain’s Strongest Man in January, fans are now seeing the results to back up the hype. Tom finished 3rd in Sheffield, his best result yet, but that could have been even better if he hadn’t had an absolute shocker on the frame carry. Consistency is key in Strongman and if Tom is going to trouble the podium in Leeds, he can’t afford another slip up like that.
One man who proved this theory correct at Britain’s Strongest Man is Graham Hicks. Despite not scoring full points in any of the individual events (he tied with Luke Stoltman on the Log Press), Hicksy put in a superb all-round performance worthy of the biggest title British Strongman has to offer.
With long-time rival, Eddie The Beast Hall, out of the picture and after taking his maiden British title in January, Graham is in the form of his life.
Log Press is one of Hicksy’s strongest events and after taking the Britain’s Strongest Man baton from Eddie, we know he’s got his eyes on Eddie’s British Log Press record, too.
Hicks is looking strong for the deadlift and, being one of the shorter strongmen, should do well in the new event : the Pillars of Hercules, too.
After emerging as Thor’s closest challenger at Europe’s Strongest Man last year, many were tipping the Georgian Bull to be one to challenge The Mountain’s dominance in Strongman.
With an 8th place at World’s Strongest Man 2018, Konstantine may be up there with the best in the World, but perhaps not as close to the podium as he had hoped. Konstantine substantially bulked up at the end of 2018, so expect him to do well in the events where sheer mass and his raw power gives him an advantage.
Luke has been a little overshadowed recently by the hype surrounding his brother, but the fact is that Luke has been on the up for some time.
Good static strength combined with his athletic ability makes the 5 x Scotland’s Strongest Man a formidable opponent. Deadlifting is likely to be Luke’s weak link in Leeds but he’s been working hard to improve it. If he can, then he’s in for a strong result.
Terry has enjoyed a renaissance over the past couple of years, after dropping 7 stones and changing his training focus, he’s worked hard to improve not just his physique but also his strongman game.
Terry’s overhead pressing is not likely to trouble the likes of Thor or Luke Stoltman, but watch out for the super lean Big Tel in the Tyre Flip & Chain Drag, where his athletic prowess will shine.
Affable Russian, Mikhail Shivlyakov, has been a Giants Live regular for quite a few years and we’re not sure if it’s his incredible strength, his hilarious antics or the unique combination of the two, but the crowd certainly love the former Russian Marine.
The 4 x World’s Strongest Man competitor didn’t compete at Europe’s Strongest Man last year, but finished a solid 6th at Giants Live World’s Strongest Man Tour Finals in Manchester, despite nearly running over the camera man at the end of the Car Walk!
Slovenia’s strongest man, Matjaz Belsak, finished 7th in a tightly contested World’s Strongest Man final last year.
He is certainly a dark horse for a podium finish and is a strong all rounder. Known for his upper body strength and stamina, we expect him to do well on the new event, the Pillars of Hercules.
Last but not least, Vytautas Lalas will be the only athlete in Leeds representing Lithuania in the absence of 3 x Europe’s Strongest Man Zydrunas Savickas.
If it were not for Big Z, Lalas would perhaps have enjoyed more widespread recognition for the quality results he’s had in the past: 1st at Giants Live Poland 2010, 2nd at WSM 2012 and 1st in the Arnold Classic 2013 underline what a talent Vytautas is.
..and we haven’t even mentioned the guest pressers!
Brian Shaw, Robert Oberst, Rob Kearney, Iron Biby and ‘wildcard’ athlete, Larry Wheels, are not competing for the Europe’s Strongest Man title, but will be joining us for Event 1: The World Log Lift Challenge, where National and World Records are on the line!
This is a strongman show you DON’T want to miss! >>Click here for tickets!<<
You’d be bold to bet against Hapthor Thor Bjornsson for the title, but as we have seen so many times before, the sport of Strongman can be difficult to predict - and any one of these guys could become Europe’s Strongest Man 2019 if things go their way on the night.
Who do you think will be Europe’s Strongest Man 2019? Vote in our poll below!