Christmas: a magical time of year; a time for giving and receiving; for making merry and then falling asleep in front of the television. And what better way to rouse sports fans from their post-turkey torpor, than the return to our television screens of World’s Strongest Man?
This Christmas, UK’s Channel 5 will be airing World’s Strongest Man 2022, which comprises eleven action-packed episodes from Monday December 19th up until Boxing Day. Strongman fans will be able to watch the entire journey, as the supersized athletes progress from the qualification contests at the Giants Live Arena Tour, to the World’s Strongest Man 2022 heats that culminate in the Grand Final on New Year’s Day.
When asked why they got involved in strongman, many of the world’s top athletes recall watching World’s Strongest Man on television and being inspired to take up the sport. British competitors would have done ss at Christmas time – something that has become a big part of the festive television tradition. It’s fascinating to think that somewhere this year a youngster might be tuning in who may one day grow up to become a future World’s Strongest Man or Woman. At the very least, some of us may find the motivation to get into the gym ourselves in the new year and work off some of that Christmas pudding!
Giants Live World’s Strongest Man Arena Tour TV Schedule 2022
Channel 5 have been broadcasting World’s Strongest Man and the Giants Live contests since 2011, and the road to WSM begins with the Giants Live World’s Strongest Man Arena Tour 2022. Consisting of five thrilling contests in front of packed-out audiences, at some of the best arenas in the UK, the Giants Live tour is the starting point of Channel 5’s Christmas strongman schedule.
Beginning with Britain’s Strongest Man from the Utilita Arena in Sheffield, the Giants Live tour progresses to Leeds First Direct Arena for Europe’s Strongest Man and the World Log Lift Challenge. Next up is The Strongman Classic at the Royal Albert Hall, and from there the athletes visit Wales, for the first time ever, for the Giants Live Open and World Deadlift Championships at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena. To complete the 2022 season our strongman return to Glasgow’s OVO Hydro for the World Tour Finals.
As well as the winner’s trophy, cheque, and title, at each of these contests the top three athletes earn a precious invite to the World’s Strongest Man 2022 finals in Sacramento, California. Thirty athletes in total will make the trip to America to battle for strongman’s most coveted title including defending champion Tom Stoltman and four-time winner, Brian Shaw.
When will the Giants Live World’s Strongest Man Arena Tour contests be aired?
Channel 5’s broadcasting schedule for the five Giants Live World’s Strongest Man Arena Tour shows begins with Britain’s Strongest Man on Monday 19th December at 19.00 GMT, with Europe’s Strongest Man & World Log Lift Challenge airing on Tuesday 20th December at 19.00 GMT. The third show is The Strongman Classic which will be shown on Thursday 22nd December at 19.00 GMT. The penultimate programme is the World Open & World Deadlift Championships which will be broadcast on Friday 23rd December at 18.30 GMT. The final episode, the World Tour Finals, airs on Boxing Day at 19.00 GMT.
Warning – spoilers below!
Here’s what to expect during each episode:
Episode 1: Britain’s Strongest Man 2022, Monday 19th December, 19.00 GMT
The customary season curtain raiser is held at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena, and sees 2021 World’s Strongest Man winner, Tom Stoltman of Invergordon in the Scottish Highlands, retain the Britain’s Strongest Man title he captured for the first time back in 2021.
Hoping to stand in the way of the man they call “The Albatros” is his brother, Luke Stoltman who was forced to withdraw after just two events with a strained quadricep, Adam Bishop, the 2020 champion, and Blackburn’s Mark Felix, who at 56-years of age is once again defying the laws of nature!
The surprise package of this contest, which was contested over five gruelling events, is Ireland’s Pa O’Dwyer, who had the competition of his life to snatch second place overall from England’s Adam Bishop, who finished three points adrift, in third.
Highlights of the show include two world records in the opening event, the 200kg/441lb Shield Carry, where first O’Dwyer, then Tom Stoltman, betters Mark Steele’s previous record of 60.00m, with Stoltman’s new record now standing at 65.30m!
In event four, Shane “Flower Power” Flowers stuns all in attendance with his breath-taking time of 18.38 seconds in the Sandbag Toss – a brand new event for Giants Live. Flowers clears the 15-foot bar with all six of the 19kg – 28kg bags over four seconds quicker than his nearest rival, with only three men successfully tossing all six bags.
Episode 2: Europe’s Strongest Man 2022 & World Log Lift Challenge, Tuesday 20th December, 19.00 GMT
Often referred to as the biggest one-day strongman contest in the world, Europe’s Strongest Man 2022 returns to Leeds, England, and the First Direct Arena – a venue now steeped in strongman history and a place that has witnessed many epic battles for the European Championship.
The crowds are treated to yet another titanic clash which this time sees Ukrainian 2020 World’s Strongest Man winner, Oleksii Novikov claim a four-point victory over Scotland’s Luke Stoltman and add the European crown to his world title. Both Novikov and his compatriot Pavlo Kordiyaka were given special dispensation by the Ukrainian authorities to travel abroad and compete during the conflict.
Novikov takes event wins in the Carry and Drag and Castle Stones, but it was Stoltman who shares the win with Burkina Faso’s Iron Biby in the opening event – The World Log Lift Challenge. Both these supreme pressers successfully lift 218kg/481lb, with Iron Biby coming closest to locking out what would have been a world record of 230kg/507lb.
Third placed Konstantine Janashia of Georgia takes victory in the deadlift ladder – the first time this event has been included at Europe’s Strongest Man. In another brand-new event for the Giants Live tour, Latvian Aivars Šmaukstelis claims first place in the Power Stairs.
Episode 3: The Strongman Classic 2022, Thursday 22nd December, 19.00 GMT
Novikov reigns supreme once again, showing irresistible form, as Giants Live and the world’s best strongmen return to The Royal Albert Hall for The Strongman Classic 2022. Taking three out of five event wins, on his way to a supremely dominant 12-point victory, Novikov blows the opposition away in the Dumbbell Medley, Farmer’s Walk and Axle Deadlift for Repetitions.
Giants Live debutant, Mitchell Hooper of Canada places an impressive 2nd, although no one was surprised following his performances earlier in the year. The ex-marathon runner exploded onto the strongman scene with his dangerous blend of static strength and speed in the moving events; combining a 475kg/1,047lb deadlift with Pudzianowski-like pace in the Farmer’s and Super Yoke disciplines.
Hooper pips last year’s runner-up, Evan “T-rex” Singleton, by just half a point. The American former WWE wrestler takes an early points hit in the Dumbbell Medley and is unable to hold onto the rampant Novikov, as he had last year.
Aside from the sensational strength feats on display in London, Australia’s Eddie Williams keeps the crowds entertained with his vocal talents. A former Australia and America’s Got Talent contestant, Williams places 6th overall and takes an incredible event win in the Hercules Hold, defeating world record holder Mark Felix.
Episode 4: The Giants Live Open 2022 & World Deadlift Championships, Friday 23rd December, 18.30 GMT
The penultimate leg of the Giants Live Tour sees the crew and athletes cross the border into Wales for the first time. Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena plays host to The Giants Live Open, incorporating the annual World Deadlift Championships, where the planet’s strongest pullers will attempt to win the title and potentially set a new world record by lifting 505kg/1,113lb from the floor.
Last year’s victor, Ivan Makarov of Georgia, can “only” manage 453.3kg/1,000lb, compared to his winning 475kg/1,047lb winning lift from last year. This year he has to bow to the greater strength on the night of Estonia’s Rauno Heinla, who at 40-years-old pulls a new Master’s world record of 476kg/1,049lb.
The rest of the show boils down to a classic head-to-head showdown between Canada’s rising star, Mitchell Hopper and the new Ukrainian powerhouse, Pavlo Nakonechnyy. Hooper’s wins in the Forward Hold and Log Lift are not enough to prevent Pavlo from stealing the win by just 1.5 points. After coming out on top in the Medley, Ukraine’s latest strength sensation produces a scorching stone run to come from behind and take the World Open title.
Oleksii Novikov, no doubt fatigued from his exertions in the previous two shows, as well as his commitments elsewhere, comes in a somewhat jaded looking third place. The home-town favourite Gavin “The Bull” Bilton finishes a very creditable 5th and manages to improve his Welsh deadlift record to 425.5kg/938lb.
Episode 5: The World Tour Finals 2022, Boxing Day, 19.00 GMT
For only the second time the Arena Tour journeys north of the border to conclude the 2022 season with The World Tour Finals at Glasgow’s OVO Hydro. With the Stoltman brother unable to compete the home crowd will be looking to big Andy Black and Giants Live newbie, Louis Jack, to keep the Saltire flying high.
The show starts with a bang as Kevin Faires’ 22.40m world record in the Nicol Stones – two uneven and unwieldy lumps of granite, weighing in at 138kg/304lb and 114kg/251lb – gets beaten not once, but four times! First by Sheffield’s Paul Smith, then by The Bulldozer, Andy Black, followed by Canada’s Mitchell Hooper, and lastly, to re-take his record, by the USA’s Faires, with 24.61m.
On paper the show looked to be another chance to see Hooper and Pavlo Nakonechnyy – two of the hottest properties in strongman right now – lock horns as they had done in Cardiff. However, Hooper has different plans and produces a remarkable show of consistency, taking first place in Carry and Drag, second in the Nicol Stones and racking up two thirds in the Deadlift and Dumbbell Press. Nakonechnyy’s relatively poor showings in the Nicol Stones, Carry and Drag and Dumbbell Press leaves him too big a hill to climb and he can do no better than fourth overall.
The show’s final event, in a departure from the traditional stone lifting finale that fans have grown accustomed to, is the Power Stairs. Latvia’s Aivars Šmaukstelis repeated his victory in Leeds by coming top of the pile in Glasgow too. Combined with his equal first in the Dumbbell Press, this result lifts him to second overall – his first Giants Live podium placing. A point and a half back is Faires who also climbs the podium at Giants Live for the first time.
World’s Strongest Man 2022
All the Giants Live podium finishers secured their precious invite to the World’s Strongest Man finals, which returned to Sacramento, California, for the second year. In total, 30 athletes representing 15 separate nations contested the world title, with competitors being split into five heats of six men. The top two from each heat went through to the grand final, giving a field of ten of the world’s premier strength athletes to contest the sports’ greatest and most enduring title. Details of Channel 5’s broadcasting schedule for World’s Strongest Man 2022 will follow here shortly.