Oleksii Novikov is a 6 ft, 1 in (1.85m) professional strongman from Ukraine, born in Kyiv in 1996. Within just 6 years he has ascended to the pinnacle of his sport, despite his relatively modest stature – his bodyweight is just 132kg/291lb. Oleksii has managed to win both The World’s Strongest Man and Europe’s Strongest Man titles.
Novikov, who currently occupies a role within the Kyiv Police Special Forces, is renowned for his intense competitiveness and his ability to perform consistently in events that require speed and athleticism, as well as huge static strength.
Oleksii’s career has moved just as fast as the man himself can snap a giant dumbbell overhead. At just 20 years of age, he was winning Ukraine’s Strongest Man titles and he burst onto the international scene in 2018, winning the Arnold Amateur World Title.
Capitalising on his victory, Oleksii took two Arnold World Series titles the following year, in Africa and South America. He made his debut at Giants Live, taking 3rd at the World Tour Finals in Manchester. Having qualified for his first World’s Strongest Man, he placed 2nd in his heat, behind four-time winner Brian Shaw, but lost out on a final qualification spot in a stone-off to Trey Mitchell.
In 2020, Oleksii established a new world record for pressing the 100kg/220lb Giant Dumbbell, completing 11 repetitions. Later that year, in the midst of a hurricane in Florida, Novikov became the second youngest man, at 24-years-old, to win World’s Strongest Man (Jón-Páll Sigmarsson was just a few months younger when he won his first WSM title in 1984).
In one of the biggest upsets in World’s Strongest Man history, Novikov failed to qualify for the 2021 WSM final, placing 4th, but incredibly only a single point behind the winner, Bobby Thompson (USA). Oleksii joined four-time winner Magnús Ver Magnússon of Iceland as the only defending champion to fail to make the final – Magnússon suffered the same fate in 1997, in Las Vegas.
Despite the setback, Novikov still managed to win Giants Live’s Strongman Classic at the Royal Albert Hall that year and began the 2022 season with a bang: finishing second to 2019 WSM winner Martins Licis of Latvia, at the Arnold Strongman Classic, and clinching his first Europe’s Strongest Man title in Leeds.
Novikov’s greatest win in his career so far is his 2020 World’s Strongest Man victroy, which was held in Bradenton, Florida. The Ukrainian held off challenges from 2021 winner, Tom Stoltman (GBR) and Canada’s Jean-Francois Caron, to take victory by 3.5 points.
On his way to the title, Novikov took the event win in the 18-inch deadlift, in which he set a new world record of 537.5kg/1,185lb, outlifting more established deadlifters such as Jean-Francois Caron and Jerry Pritchett (USA).
Oleksii became just the second Ukrainian to win WSM, after compatriot Vasyl Virastyuk took the title in 2004, in Nassau, The Bahamas.
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Oleksii is well-established as one of the greatest strength athletes in the world at present and continues to compete internationally, despite the uncertainty and significant difficulties presented by the conflict in the Ukraine.
Novikov will aim, in 2022, to overturn the disappointment of failing to qualify for the 2021 World’s Strongest Man final and will present a very real and definite title threat in any competition he enters in 2022 and beyond.
Oleksii’s performances at Giants Live events, including his win at Europe’s Strongest Man and his World’s Strongest Man exploits will be televised on Channel 5 during the festive period, later in December.
Fans of Oleksii can follow him on Instagram: @novikov_strong_wsm, where his account has attracted 144k followers. On YouTube he can be found on: Oleksii Novikov (ENG).