At the Fly DSA Arena in Sheffield on 18th January 2020, we kicked off the year in epic style and began a new decade of strength – with new faces, old rivalries – and the biggest audience ever!
A sell-out crowd of over 8,000 people came to watch the first strongman competition of the 2020 Tour. With last year’s winner, Graham Hicks, choosing not to return to defend his title, the stage was all set to bring in the new year and crown a brand new Britain’s Strongest Man.
The athlete line-up included all the biggest and best of British strongmen, including Wales Strongest Man - Ben ‘the Badger’ Brunning, Ireland’s Strongest Man - Pa O’Dwyer and Scotland’s Strongest Man – Tom Stoltman.
Of course, all eyes were on the three Brits that made the World’s Strongest Man Grand Final last year: Tom; his big brother, Luke; and Harlequins Strength and Conditioning Coach, Adam Bishop. But with established favourites Mark Felix and Terry Hollands fighting for the title alongside promising newcomers to the sport like Luke Richardson and the Badger, it was a great cocktail of old guard and new guard. The title was well and truly open for the taking!
The competition featured 5 gruelling challenges for the 13 competitors. The first of which was a Log Lift Ladder.
5 logs lay before the athletes, each increasing in weight starting with a 120kg log and ending with a 180kg monster log.
Aaron Page was the first athlete to complete all 5 logs in 55.4 seconds, but it was Luke Stoltman who took the win on this event, lifting 5 logs in 53.57 seconds.
Wales’ Strongest Man, Ben Brunning, got off to a great start in Event 1, too – coming in third place with 4 logs lifted in 39.77 seconds, but unfortunately the Badger suffered an injury backstage while warming up for the second event and had to pull out of the competition. We all wish you a speedy recovery, Badger!
The second event was a 330kg Axle Deadlift for reps. The King of Grip, Mark Felix, took the stage first, setting the bar at an incredible 10 reps. When it was Bish’s turn to lift against the mighty Tom Stoltman, he knew exactly what he needed to do to take the win.
And though he may have come last in this event, Paul Smith’s display of true strongman determination and grit in front of his home crowd in Sheffield had us all in awe.
The entire Arena then shifted to the edge of our seats for Event 3 - the duck walk and loading race - as we watched these astonishing athletes first carrying a 200kg weight across the track, then sprinting back to grab a 150kg keg, then a 120kg sack – and if that weren’t enough, they finished it all off with a 115kg tyre!
With a nickname like ‘the FUTURE’ you can bet there was a lot of expectation on newcomer, Luke Richardson. A powerlifting champion and world record holder, Luke may be a new face in strongman, but he is no stranger to strength. Britain’s Strongest Man 2020 was Luke’s first big arena strongman show and his performance in the loading race against one of the top 10 strongman athletes in the World, Tom Stoltman, proved that he certainly is one to watch.
It was speedy Scotland’s Strongest Man, Tom Stoltman, who took the win on this one, with Bishop and Luke Stoltman snapping at his heels.
The penultimate challenge was the Conan’s Wheel – a brutal endurance event that requires not just strength, but a battle of the mind as the athletes must lift a frame carrying a 350kg quad bike and walk as far as they can hold out.
The last time we saw the Conan’s Wheel at Britain’s Strongest Man, Darren Sadler put in a gutsy performance to set the record at 835 degrees. In training, Luke Richardson and Adam Bishop – among others – had looked likely to beat that record, but it wasn’t to be.
It was a steely and determined Ireland’s Strongest Man, Pa O’Dwyer, who got the closest to Darren’s record with 792 degrees before he could take the pain no longer. The roar of the crowd says it all – what a brutal event!
Bishop came second on the Conan’s Wheel with a close 775 degrees, leaving it all down to an intense Atlas Stones decider.
With the points at the top so close going into the final event, it was all to play for. A title-deciding stones finale is the ultimate strongman show-stopper and with much drama and a world record thrown in for good measure, this was the finale to end all finales! Wow!
A huge congratulations to Adam Bishop who was crowned Britain’s Strongest Man 2020 and treated to a ‘Stoltman Sandwich’ on the podium with Tom Stoltman in second just a half point behind and Luke Stoltman taking third place.
We kicked off 2020 with a bang! Don’t miss the next stop on the World’s Strongest Man Arena Tour – Europe’s Strongest Man on 4th April 2020 at First Direct Arena, Leeds! Tickets available NOW!