Matt is a 6-time New Zealand’s Strongest Man and a World’s Strongest Man finalist from 2023. He has risen to prominence following a superb 2023 season that culminated in him placing 2nd at the World Tour Finals, defeating many more established stars of the sport.
As a 16 and 17-year-old Matt competed as a sprinter on the track, focusing mainly on the 100m and 200m. He suffered from very painful shin splints which caused him to put his running on hold and instead found himself moving towards the gym…
Athletics’ loss has proven to be Strongman’s gain as the Kiwi has established himself in the sports’ top tier internationally. When not putting in the hours in the gym, Matt works full time as a shift supervisor at MacDonalds.
Matt first began competing in 2013 at local shows and broke some national records. From then on he was hooked and made his first impression internationally at the 2016 Arnold Amateur World Championships, where he finished 3rd, behind winner Zach Hadge and second placed Evgeny Markov.
Competing twice at the Arnold Australia over the next few years, and picking up New Zealand’s Strongest Man titles, covid put his progress on hold for two years and it wasn’t until 2022 until Matt would make his presence felt on the international scene. Making the podium in Daytona Beach, Florida, he finished in 3rd place behind South Africa’s Jaco Schoonwinkel and winner, Spenser Remick of the USA. He won the Deadlift for Reps and the Atlas Stones and by placing in the top 3 secured an invite to the 2023 World’s Strongest Man finals.
In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, he came through his heat to qualify for his first World’s Strongest Man final – an astonishing achievement for a debutant! He would eventually finish in 9th place in the final. A few months later he picked up his 6th New Zealand’s Strongest Man title and shortly after received an invite to Giants Live’s World Tour Finals.
If reaching the final at World’s hadn’t convinced the fans of Ragg’s huge talent, his second place in Glasgow will have left little doubt of his ability. Placing second behind winner Tom Stoltman, Ragg was able to defeat World’s Strongest Man, Mitchell Hooper and Europe’s Strongest Man, Pavlo Kordiyaka. The New Zealander is certain to be appearing in many more big contests in the near future.
Making his debut at World’s Strongest Man at the 2023 contest, Matt placed second in his heat to eventual winner, Mitchell Hooper. Coming through a stone-off with Aivars Šmaukstelis, he was able to qualify for the final where he eventually finished 9th. His best event result in the final came in the Deadlift for Reps where he finished equal 2nd, with only Hooper exceeding his 7-reps on the 353kg/778lb weights.
On social media, Matt can be found on Instagram at raggstrongman. On YouTube there are several videos featuring him, including recent profiles and collaborations following his performance at World’s. Big Loz Official has profiled him in his Meet the Athletes series, as have SBD, and both Graham Hicks and Mitchell Hooper have posted videos with him.