You’d be forgiven for thinking the bulking muscles and clanking weights of a World’s Strongest Man competition might feel out of place in a venue as historic as the Royal Albert Hall. But on 9th July 2022, Giants Live’s triumphant return to the Hall proved quite the opposite. The grandiose setting of this iconic building in fact was the perfect compliement to the sheer scale of the huge men and the ginormous implements they lifted, carried and powered around the Arena stage. The acoustics of the grand Hall amplifying the roar of the 4,500-strong crowd.
The line-up featured 12 of the World’s Strongest Men, including Evan “the T-Rex” Singleton, Rob “World’s Strongest Gay” Kearney, and Mark “the Miracle” Felix, as well as 2020 World’s Strongest Man Oleksii Novikov who was given special dispensation to travel to the UK from the Ukraine where he is currently fighting to defend his country.
The athletes faced 5 classic tests of strength, including giant circus dumbbells, the famous pillars of Hercules, a monstrous 360 kilo Axle deadlift and the Atlas stones.
The first event of the competition was a dumbbell ladder – 5 oversized Circus dumbbells increasing in weight from 80 to 120 kilos. The athletes had to press each one overhead with one arm. No athlete had ever made it to the final 120 kilo dumbbell before, but both Novikov and Rob Kearney proved the impossible really was possible by lifting all 5 dumbbells, Kearney in 42.21 seconds and Novikov in just 38.38 seconds. Wow!
Oleksii Novikov and Evan Singleton go head to head on the Circus Dumbbell Ladder at the Strongman Classic 2022
In Event 2, the athletes’ challenge was to hold the pillars of Hercules (250kg in each hand) for as long as humanly possible. All eyes were on current record holder 56 year old Mark Felix, who intended to beat his own 1:32:37 record. After hurting his wrist in the first event, unfortunately it wasn’t a record-setting day for Felix. It was Eddie Williams, who had travelled all the way from Australia as a last minute sub, who took the win on this event, despite having never tried the event before! The loveable Aussie quickly became a crowd favourite, casually rocking a pair of pizza pants and entertaining the audience between feats of strength with his equally impressive singing voice – wow!
Eddie Williams takes on the Hercules Hold wearing pizza pants at the Strongman Classic 2022
Going into the third event, Novikov and Williams were tied in first place alongside Sheffield’s Paul Smith, who was now holding his own against some of the best athletes in the world after his recent UK’s Strongest Man win.
Paul Smith and Rob Kearney go head to head in the Circus Dumbbell Ladder at the Strongman Classic 2022
In the third event, the athletes had to pick up two giant logs, each one weighing 150 kilos – and run as far as they could in 60 seconds. A tough ask after the athletes’ grip had already been so painfully tested in the pillars of Hercules. It was Novikov, known for his speed in these brutal carry events, who came out on top.
Ken McClelland, Maxime Boudreault, Mark Felix and Oleksii Novikov run with 150 kilo logs at the Strongman Classic 2022
The penultimate feat of strength was a 350 kilo train axle which the competitors had to lift as many times as possible. Novikov raced into a strong lead with 7 solid repetitions and Evan Singleton fought back from 9th place with true strongman grit and determination to land 4 reps and put himself back in the running for a podium spot.
Canadian, Mitchell Hooper, put in a consistently high performance throughout the show and was in a strong position going into the final event, despite not taking the win on any individual challenge.
Mitchell Hooper goes head to head with Rob Kearney on the 360 kilo axle deadlift at the Strongman Classic 2022
Of course, the Strongman Classic would not be complete without the classic strongman show finale: the Castle Stones! 5 giant stones weighing 120 kilos to 200 kilos. Novikov secured his well-earned top place spot with 54 points before holding an emotional minute’s silence for Ukraine. With 42 points was Canada’s Mitchell Hooper in second place, and Evan Singleton just 0.5 points behind him in third place.
See the final results here!
Watch the replay of the entire Strongman Classic 2022 livestream here for just £7.99!