By James Nethercoat
The sound of Christmas songs filling the air, snow on the ground and leaving work in the dark can only mean one thing- that’s right, Britain’s Strongest Man is only a few short weeks away and it’s shaping up to be another post-Christmas cracker!
Reigning champion Graham Hicks announced that he has decided to not defend his title in 2020, leaving the door open for a new champion to be crowned at the Fly DSA Arena in January.
In 2019 we had a similar situation when Eddie Hall hung up his lifting belt and we were treated to a superb spectacle of strength with Morecambe’s Graham Hicks coming out on top ahead of Adam Bishop and Tom Stoltman rounding out the podium.
Many of the athletes in 2020's star studded line-up have competed at Britain’s Strongest Man before, but the strongman game moves a long way in 12 months - so expect the order to be dramatically different this time round!
Bish was just 1.5 points off taking his first Giants Live title in 2019, winning more events than eventual victor Hicks, let down only by his middling result in the log press.
Adam has been looking fitter, faster and stronger than ever in 2019, pulling a PB of 440kg on the deadlift at Wembley and setting a new Frame Carry world record in January. Could Bish be the hot favourite to take the title?
Big Tel had a fantastic 2019, especially towards the latter half. A disappointing 6th at Britain’s Strongest Man was followed by a break from Strongman competition to try his hand at bodybuilding. Just like his huge weight-loss transformation of a few years back, anything Terry sets his mind to he can achieve - and he was able to come away with 3 medals from his first ever show.
Hollands always said that Strongman was his true passion and within a few weeks of his bodybuilding debut he was stepping on to the stage at Manchester Arena in the World Tour Finals. While Terry didn’t trouble the podium in Manchester, he soon showed he still has it with a dominant display at the Official Strongman Games, taking his first ever World’s Strongest Masters title. Only a fool would discount Terry from taking his 2nd Britain’s Strongest Man title, 13 years after he last took top spot.
The first of the trio of Scotsmen in the field is John ‘The Machine’ Pollock. John is reigning Europe’s Strongest Master and finished 3rd at Scotland’s Strongest Man 2019 behind the Stoltman clan. He’s one of the oldest athletes competing but John is still one to watch, especially in the deadlift.
Just like the Queen, cream tea and forming an orderly queue, Mark Felix is now a British institution. In 2019 Mark’s Hercules Hold world records accumulated over 100,000,000 views online with viewers all over the globe tuning in to see his super human grip strength.
Mark also took a podium spot at the Giants Live North American Open, proving that the old boy still has it. If he can work to improve his overhead game, Mark could be a serious contender in 2020.
Local lad Paul Smith became an internet sensation this month after we posted a clip of his performance at Britain’s Strongest Man 2018, racking up over 13 million views around the world.
Paul finished 7th in 2019, so will be looking to mix it with the big boys in the top half of the placings this year.
A few years ago, Eddie Hall and Graham Hicks were tipping Tom Stoltman to be the next big thing. Tom is now well on the road to fulfilling his potential and a new man has taken his spot as the one to watch for the future. North Yorkshire native Luke Richardson has already proved his worth in the Powerlifting world, setting an under 21's record total of 2226lbs.
Luke earned his spot at Britain’s Strongest Man 2020 by winning the Official Strongman Games in Daytona Beach, Florida at the start of November, narrowly beating the Giants Live World Tour Finals surprise star Ben Brunning to the title.
Making his 3rd appearance at Britain’s Strongest Man, Aaron Page has really focused training fitness over strength in the lead up to this year’s show.
Well known for his static overhead strength, Aaron was let down in 2019 on the loading race, sustaining an injury which put him out part way through. If Aaron can nail his fitness before January he could be in with a shot at the top 3.
The Badger, as he is known to his fans, had a storming end to 2019. After an unspectacular 10th place finish at Britain’s Strongest Man in January, hype was low when Ben was announced for the World Tour Finals in Manchester. Brunning was drafted in at short notice after the World’s Strongest Man Martins Licis pulled out due to injury, and with a field containing 11 World’s Strongest Man competitors nobody could have expected how that night would unfold.
Brunning quietly grafted away all night and ended with a faultless stone run to finish in 2nd place ahead of Oleksii Novikov, a man who many are tipping to be the next big thing in Strongman. Going on form from the last Giants show alone, The Badger is the hot favourite. If he has another night like he did in Manchester, he certainly will be.
We love to see a fresh new face on the Giants Live stage and Ryan England is certainly one of the up and coming athletes looking to make his mark on the strongman world next year. This will be his first appearance at Britain’s Strongest Man and Bristolian Ryan England comes in with no pretence or expectation. In his own words, “I’m going to give it my all and hopefully do well on the day!”.
Another Yorkshireman in the mix for Britain’s Strongest Man 2020 is Mark Steele. On his first appearance back in 2017, Mark shocked everyone by taking the win in his first event, the shield carry!
Mark is one to watch when it comes to the moving and loading events; due in no small part to the many years he has worked as part of the Giants Live crew, we do work them hard after all!
Mr ‘Blue Tick’ himself is another one who has to be in contention for the top spot in Sheffield. The two Stoltman Brothers have been battling it out all year to be the strongest brother with Tom taking an eventual 5-2 victory.
A storming performance in Dubai has set 35 year old Luke up nicely for 2020. If the events are to his liking (no max deadlifts please!) then The Highland Oak might stand tall and mighty in Sheffield.
Standing in Luke’s way of Britian’s Strongest Man glory though is his not-so-little brother Tom. The Albatross has been tipped by the great and the good of Strongman to be Britain’s Strongest Man and perhaps even World’s Strongest Man in the future- could 2020 be the year that the prophecy becomes a reality?
Tom could have claimed the title in 2019 were it not for a disastrous Frame Carry- after getting the balance point wrong and nearly tipping it over, Tom was unable to move it more than a couple of meters, scoring just 1 point in that event. Tom has been improving dramatically year on year making Tom the likely favourite for glory in 2020.
Who do you think is going to be Britain’s Strongest Man in 2020? Take our poll below!