Aivars Šmaukstelis is a highly experienced strongman from Latvia who has competed more that fifty times internationally. Winning twenty of those contests, he is a consistent all-rounder who is able to perform well across the full spectrum of events.
The 2016 and 2019 Latvian champion works as a sales manager in the steel industry and claims that being a fully professional athlete is not an option in his home country due to a lack of interest from sponsors.
Aivars has competed at World’s Strongest Man on five occasions, making the grand final in 2020. He says that what he enjoys most about strongman is enjoying conversation and jokes with his competitor friends. He is known to possess excellent grip strength and is a first-class stone lifter, as well as being a strongman who can last the distance in more endurance-based events.
Šmaukstelis first began his involvement in strength sports as a powerlifter aged just sixteen. He competed for two years, achieving an equipped total of around 800kg/1,764lb as an eighteen-year-old. His coach encouraged him to try strongman and he entered his first local town competition soon after. He stopped training for a two-to-three-year period, but then re-joined the sport.
He began international competition in 2014, competing in Strongman Champions League events in his home country. In 2016 he won his first national title, wining Latvia’s Strongest Man. His first international victory came that year at the SCL event in Latvia, and he won further SCL events in Serbia and Romania that year. In 2018 he won the Imatra Strongman Showdown.
Aivars made his World’s Strongest Man debut in 2018, where he placed 4th in his group. He returned in 2019 to place 3rd in his heat, losing out in a stone-off to 2021 & 2022 World’s Strongest Man, Tom Stoltman. The following year he faced another stone-off, but this time managed to progress to the grand final where he placed 8th.
In 2021 he lost out in yet another stone-off to Maxime Boudreault of Canada, who went on to place 3rd in the final. He was eliminated, in 4th place, in the 2022 contest.
Aivars’ most recent Giants Live outing came at the 2021 Europe’s Strongest Man at Leeds’ First Direct Arena where he placed 6th overall, winning the Power Stairs and putting together an excellent stone run.
Aivars was the overall Strongman Champions League World Champion in 2019, in Porto, Portugal. He won the title that boasts past winners such as Zydrunas Savickas, Krzysztof Radzikowski and Terry Hollands.
He led the all-Baltic nation podium by seven points from second placed Marko Remlik and compatriot Dainis Zageris. Aivars has been a prolific winner on the Champions League circuit and is in the running for another title in 2022.
Šmaukstelis’ immediate goal is to return to World’s Strongest Man and take another place in the finals. He is realistic about his chances at major competitions and prefers not to make bold predictions, but so far in 2022 he has won four separate Strongman Champions League events and will be looking to prove his form at the upcoming Giants Live World Tour Finals.
Aivars is active on social media and keeps an up to date account on Instagram where his handle is @aivars.smaukstelis. On Facebook he can be found under aivars.smaukstelis. YouTube contains numerous videos featuring the Latvian, including a interview on Laurence Shahlaei’s channel Big Loz Official, as part of his “talking strongman” series.
He has appeared on UK terrestrial television on many occasions over the last few years for his performances at World’s Strongest Man and at Giants Live Arena Tour events, both of which have featured on Channel 5’s festive schedules.