Brian Shaw is one of the world’s most successful professional strongmen and regarded by many as one of the strongest men to have ever lived. At a colossal 6’ 8” (2.03m), and 200kg (441lb), he is also one of the sport’s true giants.
Shaw was born in Fort Lupton, Colorado, USA on 26th February 1982 and excelled in basketball as a high-school and college athlete. However, his true passion was for weight training and he was able to exploit his tremendous natural strength to great success in a career that is as notable for its longevity as for its achievement.
Brian first began competing in strongman in 2005, when he won Denver’s Strongest Man with virtually no specialised strongman training. Within a year he was competing against professionals and qualified for his first World’s Strongest Man contest in 2008. Although he was unable to get through his heat he returned the following year in Valetta, Malta, and shocked many by making the podium.
Finishing in first that year was Zydrunas Savickas; a man Shaw would do battle with on many occasions, providing one of the most thrilling rivalries in strongman history. It was Savickas who would take the title in 2010, although the points were tied, and Shaw only lost on countback. In 2011, Shaw took his first World Title, defeating Savickas in a head-to-head final event Atlas stones race. He repeated this feat in 2013 after finishing 4th in 2012.
Shaw went on to take two more World’s Strongest Man victories. In 2015 he defeated the defending champion, Savickas, and he was able to retain his title in 2016, before losing it the following year to Britain’s Eddie Hall. For a period of 8 years, Shaw and Savickas closed out the top of the podium from all other contenders, with both men taking 4 titles each.
Shaw has contested every World’s Strongest Man final from 2009-2021, only failing to make the podium on three times. Between his epic World’s Strongest Man battles, Shaw has notched up more contest wins and podium finishes than almost any other athlete in strongman history. He is a three-time winner of the Arnold Strongman Classic and twice America’s Strongest Man. He has also established numerous world records in events including deadlift, Atlas stones and keg toss.
Shaw is a four-time winner of the sport’s most coveted title: World’s Strongest Man. He won his title first in 2011 in Wingate, North Carolina, adding a second, two years later in Sanya, China. Brian then went on to win back-to-back titles in 2015 (Putrayaya, Malaysia) and 2016 (Kasane, Botswana).
Shaw is one of four men to have won World’s Strongest Man four times. Icelanders Jón Páll Sigmarsson and Magnús ver Magnússon captured 4-a-piece in the 80’s and 90’s and Lithuania’s Zydrunas Savickas also triumphed on four separate occasions between 2009 and 2014. Poland’s Mariusz Pudzianowski is the only man to have achieved five titles.
Shaw seems to be showing little sign of winding down his competitive career, despite the fact he has passed 40, and continues to pursue that elusive 5th World’s Strongest Man title, to equal Poland’s Mariusz Pudzianowski.
Brian continues to pose the biggest of threats to win any contest he enters. In 2020 he inaugurated the Shaw Classic; his own strongman contest and a mark of what a massive figure – both figuratively and literally – Brian remains in the sport.
Brian featured in the History Channel documentary series “The Strongest Man in History,” alongside Eddie Hall, Robert Oberst and Nick Best. The series first aired in July 2019 and followed the strength quartet as they tried to replicate and outdo legendary feats of strength – and each other!
Brian has a very substantial following on social media with 1.74m subscribers to his YouTube channel, SHAWSTRENGTH and a further 1.7m following his Instagram account, @shawstrength. Brian can also be found on both Facebook and Twitter, as well as his own website, shawstrength.com where he sells his own line in merchandise.
Brian has recently started his own podcast: Shawstrength podcast which has already attracted nearly 20,000 subscribers.