On 6 August 2022, Giants Live made its Welsh debut, bringing its super-human strength showdown – the Giants Live Open and World Deadlift Championships – to the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff.
12 of the World’s Strongest Men took the stage, including 2020 World’s Strongest Man, Oleksii Novikov, reigning Giants Live Open Champion Evan Singleton, and Wales’ Strongest Man, Gavin Bilton.
The men faced 5 seemingly impossible strongman challenges, starting with the heaviest of all: the World Deadlift Championships. Tests of strength don’t come much simpler than a good old fashioned max deadlift, but there was a bigger question on everyone’s minds…
The opening weight was a mind-blowing 400 kilos – a weight that just 11 years ago would have been close to World Record territory – and they all practically speed repped it to lockout!
The event saw Graham Hicks earn his spot in the 1,000lbs club, smashing his previous personal best by more than 50 kilos! Gavin Bilton set a new 425.5 kilo Welsh deadlift record and 40 year old Rauno Heinla lifted an astonishing 476 kilos for a brand new master’s record.
For Gavin Bilton, breaking the Welsh Deadlift record in front of a roaring home crowd in Cardiff was a particularly special moment and the Welshman certainly had the biggest cheers of the night.
When it came to the 505, only one man attempted it – Georgia’s Ivan Makarov. After his super solid 425.5 kilo and 454 kilo lifts, it seemed he was the man to do it.
Want to watch all the lifts? You can catch the replay of the livestream here for only £4.99!
The Giants then faced 4 more challenges! Event 2 was a farmer’s walk and loading medley in which the athletes had to race with a 150 kilo hunk of steel in each hand, followed by a 120 kilo keg, a 120 kilo sack and a 115 kilo tyre! Pavlo Nakonechnyy stormed into the lead on this event after taking on USA’s Evan “The T-Rex” Singleton.
Reigning champ, Singleton, subsequently had to retire from the competition after feeling unwell and being taken to hospital. He was later discharged and given the all clear, putting out a message on social media to his fans to reassure them that it was nothing serious. Pa O’Dwyer and Ivan Makarov also withdrew from the competition, leaving 8 men to battle it out for the trophy.
Event 3 was a 150 kilo log lift for reps, where Canadian, Mitchell “The Moose” Hooper took first place with an incredible 8 repetitions. Pavlo and Novikov tied on 7 reps each.
The penultimate event was a trial of grit, determination and deltoids: a 30 kilo hammer hold! The Moose came out on top again, with a gruelling 54.45 second hold, followed by Graham Hicks who managed to hold on for an impressive 50.82 seconds. But top marks for style had to go to Gavin Bilton who was rocking a pair of shades for this one.
Going into the final event, the Castle Stones, Hooper was in first place, but it was a fight for the top spot! Ukrainian Oleksii Novikov took his third Giants Live podium of the year with 39.5 points and Pavlo Nakonechnyy, also representing Ukraine, taking the win with 49 points. The two men put aside any competitive differences and announced their pride to represent Ukraine on the world stage together, to a standing ovation from the Cardiff crowd. Canadian, Mitchell Hooper, came in a close second place with 47.5 points – his second Giants Live podium of the year, with Estonia’s Rauno Heinla taking the World Deadlift Championships trophy for his winning 476 kilo deadlift.