The Giants Live World’s Strongest Man Arena Tour will be kicking off next weekend at Sheffield’s Utilta Arena, with Britain’s Strongest Man. Seven dates are confirmed so far, and with a Stateside competition in Las Vegas and two more new venues, 2024 promises to be the best season yet!
Once Britain’s Strongest Man has been crowned, the tour rolls into Leeds, home of Europe’s Strongest Man, and from there to a new venue in York for the Britain’s Strongest Woman and England’s Strongest Man double header. The Strongman Classic returns to the Albert Hall, whilst The Strongman Open moves from Cardiff to Birmingham’s Utilita Arena, where the Log Lift Challenge 2024 will be decided.
Las Vegas will be the setting for the USA Strongman and World Deadlift Championships. Will a change of continent help make the long-awaited 505kg deadlift a reality? From Nevada, the tour returns to Glasgow for The World Tour Finals – a contest that has come to be known as “World’s Strongest Man in a day.”
The 2024 show dates and venues so far are as follows:
Britain’s Strongest Man, 27th January, Utilita Arena, Sheffield
Europe’s Strongest Man, 13th April, First Direct Arena, Leeds
England’s Strongest Man & Britain’s Strongest Woman, 22nd June, York Barbican, York
The Strongman Classic, 13th July, Royal Albert Hall, London
The Strongman Open & World Log Lift Challenge, 7th September, Utilita Arena, Birmingham
The USA Strongman Championships & World Deadlift Championships, 28th September, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas
The World Tour Finals, 19th October, The OVO Hydro, Glasgow
Tickets for all these shows are already on sale, just go to www.giants-live.com for more information.
Britain’s Strongest Man Preview
The very first Britain’s Strongest Man was won by Geoff Capes at Woking Leisure Centre in 1979. The contest has certainly come a long way since then, but only four men, including big Geoff, have ever won the title three times or more. With defending champion Adam Bishop and two-time World’s Strongest Man winner Tom Stoltman both on two titles a-piece, there’s every likelihood that one of them will join that list on January 27th.
National titles don’t come much harder to win than this: three quarters of the line-up have locked horns at World’s Strongest Man, with a third having made the final. The nation’s twelve strongest men will be Sheffield-bound, from all four corners of the British Isles, ready to fight to the finish for one of Strongman’s most coveted titles.
While most of us have been over-indulging during the Christmas period, Britain’s finest strongmen have been slogging it out in the gym, readying themselves for what will be a classic Sheffield showdown. And if the prospect of winning the national title isn’t reward enough, then there’s the added incentive of a World’s Strongest Man invite for each of the top three. WSM 2024 is due to be held, once again, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, from the 1st to the 5th of May.
Adam Bishop’s victory last year signalled his return to full fitness following the triceps rupture that scuppered much of his 2022 season. The two-time champion, Tom Stoltman, was absent in 2023, but will attempt to reclaim his title and rejoin the domestic rivalry with Bishop that has seen the two men dominate the contest over the past five years.
The pair have featured on the podium together many times since 2019, when they both made the top three for the first time. On that occasion Adam was 2nd and Tom 3rd, but the following year Bishop took his first British title, pipping Tom by just half a point. In 2021 their positions were reversed, and It was Tom who took top honours. The Scot took a second title in 2022 and Bishop could do no better than 3rd, with Pa O’Dwyer splitting the pair. Adam would return in 2023 to claim his second title.
Since then, the Englishman has had mixed fortunes: taking 5th at Europe’s Strongest Man, he could do no better than 4th in his heat at World’s. His season was then brought to an abrupt and premature end in August, at the Shaw Classic, with a torn pectoral, meaning that Britain’s will be his first contest for six months
Stoltman, meanwhile, enjoyed a hugely successful season despite losing his World’s Strongest Man crown to Mitchell Hooper. Of the major competitions he contested after world’s he podiumed in all, taking the win at the World Tour Finals in Glasgow. After a lengthy break from the sport following his 2022 WSM victory, The Albatross appears to be stronger than ever!
So strong, in fact, that barring mistakes, it’s hard to conceive of anyone denying him a third title. Such is the all-round power of the 6-foot, 8-inch, 29-stone Invergordon Goliath, every one of the contest’s five events is a potential win. Virtually unbeatable in the Atlas Stones – the competition’s final event – Bishop’s chances hinge on him dealing an early blow in the Deadlift for Reps and then establishing a points cushion. That will be no easy task, given Stoltman’s overhead and throwing prowess; the Englishman’s best chance may be in the Blacksmith’s Medley.
Although a five-times Scotland’s Strongest Man and 2021 Europe’s Strongest Man winner, Luke Stoltman has never tasted victory at Britain’s, coming closest in 2020 when he finished 3rd. If he can regain the kind of form that earned him both the European and World Tour Final titles then there’s every chance the four-times World’s Strongest Man finalist could become the second member of the Stoltman family to claim the British title.
Welsh hopes will be buoyed by the recent form of Gavin Bilton who finished second on his debut at Britain’s last year and followed it up with another runner-up spot on home turf at the Strongman Open. The Bull is a four-time World’s Strongest Man competitor and multiple Wales’s Strongest Man. He set a new Welsh record in the deadlift last season with a massive 430kg – an achievement that will stand him in good stead in the opening event. At 6-foot, 6-inches and a fan of throwing events, he’ll also be hoping to perform well in the Sandbag Throw.
Shane Flowers is another World’s Strongest Man competitor who could well threaten for the podium. He was 4th at the 2022 Britain’s Strongest Man and made the podium at the 2023 Strongman Open, which was some consolation after having to withdraw, mid-comp, from last year’s Britain’s. The Sandbag Throw is one event Shane will be eagerly anticipating having won it at Britain’s in 2022. And with his deadlift personal best now up to 430kg, Event 1 will be an opportunity to get off to a good start.
England’s Paul Smith came agonisingly close to making the podium here last season, but his challenge faltered in the final event. The Power Stairs proved a step too far – or high, but it’s impossible to count him out, such is his relentless consistency. Competing on home turf, the Sheffield man will want to give his home crowd something to cheer.
The Miracle Man, Mark Felix, will be making his 13th bid to become Britain’s strongest. It’s a title he has never won, though he has podiumed six times, taking four runner-up spots! Last year he made his 18th and final appearance at World’s Strongest Man, becoming not only the contest’s most prolific attendee, but also its oldest at 57!
Fellow Englishmen Kane Francis will be making his second appearance in Sheffield after an impressive debut last January where he placed 5th. He was runner-up to Luke Richardson at England’s Strongest Man and has produced no less than seven podium finishes on the Strongman Champions League circuit.
Rounding off the English contingent is Paddy Haynes, who secured his qualification following his 3rd place at England’s Strongest Man last year. Like Mitch Hooper, he’s a former long-distance runner who has completed double marathons before transitioning to strength sports. Aside from his deadlifting prowess, Paddy is renowned for his grip strength – something that may prove to be a useful asset in Event 3: the Blacksmith’s Medley.
Joining the Stoltman brothers from north of the border will be Conor Curran, the reigning Scotland’s Strongest Man. His victory earned him an invite to the 2023 World Tour Finals in Glasgow last October, where he placed 11th. At 6-foot, 6-inches tall he’ll be hoping his height will help him score well in the Sandbag Throw. He’ll also be looking to pick up some good points in his favourite event – the deadlift.
Ireland will be represented by both Pa O’Dwyer and Sean Gillen this year. Pa is a record five-time winner of Ireland’s Strongest Man. His best finish at Britain’s came in 2022, where he finished second behind Tom Stoltman. He was defeated this year at Ireland’s Strongest Man by Gillen who punched his ticket to Sheffield off the back of that win. Sean is the SBD World Log Lift Championship, and set a new Irish record in the process, with a stunning 200kg lift.
Giants will be bringing a brand-new event to the roster this year, as well as a twist on an old favourite. The contest will kick off with the Iveco Deadlift for Reps which will feature a somewhat different format. The athletes will choose whether to attempt the 360kg barbell or the much heavier 400kg weight. Any number of reps completed with the lighter bar will be superseded by a single rep with 400kg.
There was a time, not so long ago, that a 400kg deadlift was a rare feat, but such is the pace of progress in modern Strongman, that this weight is now used for repetitions! There are some incredible deadlifters in this field and it’s likely that some may achieve four or even five reps!
Event 2 will be the SBD Axle Press for Reps. This year’s axles will be 10kg heavier than have been used in previous contests and will prove hugely demanding for all the competitors. There’s some huge pressing power in this line-up, but cleaning these 160kg axles may prove just as critical as the overhead part of the lift.
New to Giants Live for event 3 will be the BoohooMAN Blacksmith’s Medley. Racing head-to-head, the athletes will load a 100kg anvil into a basket which must then be arm-over-arm hauled to the top of the hoist. The total weight is thought to be around 140kg, so this will require enormous grip and arm strength. This is the kind of event that can really catch out some competitors and for many this could be a truly torturous event.
Next up will be the MIRAFIT Sandbag Throw where the strongmen must throw six sandbags of ascending weight over a 15-foot bar. The implements will range from 18-28kg, with the heaviest bags being thrown just as the athletes are getting most tired. This should suit taller men with longer levers, but explosive strength is the key – as well as a smooth and efficient throwing style.
The Castle Water Stones will provide the traditional finale to this year’s contest. It’s the classic finish to any strongman show and one that can create no shortage of drama. Hot favourite to win this event will be “King of the Stones,” Tom Stoltman, and if he brings a points lead into this event, it could be the end of the road for his opponents.