• 30 March, 2022
  • 15 minutes

Who will be Europe’s Strongest Man in 2022? FULL PREVIEW!

The GIANTS return to Leeds for Europe's Strongest Man 2022 on April 2nd. Just 5 events stand between 12 of the finest Strongmen on the planet and European glory!

New Faces and New Events at Europe’s Strongest Man

Giants Live’s flagship arena contest, Europe’s Strongest Man, gets underway this Saturday 2nd April at Leeds’ First Direct Arena. 14 of the world’s most powerful men will be contesting the European title as well as the World Log Lift Challenge, which is the opening event. 

World record holder, Iron Biby, of Burkina Faso will be looking for his 3rd log lift title and an improvement on the 229kg (504lb) log lift world record he established in Glasgow last year. The American Nightmare, Bobby Thompson, will be hoping to improve his own American log record of 217.5kg (480lb), at the very least. He was a WSM finalist last year and is a man who is renowned for his static power. Both men will contest only the log.

Europe’s Strongest Man – Main Contenders

Defending champion, Luke Stoltman, will be keeping a vice-like grip on his title. The Highland Oak won twice last year on the Giants Live Arena Tour and will be looking to put in a big performance after withdrawing mid-contest at Britain’s last month. The opening event – The World Log Lift Challenge – should ensure he gets off to a good start, ahead of his major rivals.

Pushing him all the way will be Ukraine’s Oleksii Novikov, the 2020 World’s Strongest Man. He was second to Stoltman last year and was recently runner-up at the Arnold Classic in Ohio, so clearly in good form. Failing to qualify for last year’s World’s Strongest Man finals was a major shock to Novikov, who is consistently one of the more “normal” sized of the competitors. He’ll be looking for redemption, so expect him to be in the mix at the end of the night.

Two-time podium finisher at Europe’s, Konstantine Janashia, of Georgia should perform well here. He is a strong log lifter and deadlifter, so will likely be placed highly after the first two events. Janashia has finished as high as 4th at World’s Strongest Man and was runner-up in Leeds back in 2018. 

Estonia’s Rauno Heinla has been hindered by injury in many previous Giants Live outings. Despite winning two World Deadlift Championship titles, he has never quite put together the entire show his obvious talent is capable of. If he can avoid any mishaps, he may well be in contention for a top position.

British Talent

As well as Luke Stoltman, the British Isles will be well represented here; The Welsh Bull, Gavin Bilton will be returning to action after some health concerns are now thankfully behind him. Bilton was a rising star in 2021 and will be looking to re-gain some of the momentum he was building.

Fresh from his 4th place finish at Britain’s Strongest Man in February, in only his second major competition, Shane Flowers will be making a major step-up in class. His win in the keg toss in Sheffield has proved he has tremendous athleticism to go with his base levels of strength. This weekend will be a great opportunity for him to prove himself on the big stage.

Ireland’s Pa O’Dwyer is brimming with confidence following his runner-up finish at Britain’s Strongest Man and has been steadily improving over the last few seasons. He is a man with few weaknesses and should make a very strong showing in Leeds. Possibly even a podium finish?

New Talent

Aivars Smautstellis of Latvia and Lithuania’s Marius Lalas will be returning to Giants Live action. Joining them will be three new faces to the tour: 

  • Eythor Melsted, ISL. Height: 1.85m (6’ 1”), weight: 142kg (313lb). 2nd at 2021 Iceland’s Strongest Man, 2021 WSM Finalist (10th). Best lifts: 360kg Deadlift, 185kg log.
  • Kelvin De Ruiter, NED. Height: 2.03m (6’ 8”), weight: 168kg (370lb). 2021 Netherland’s Strongest Man, 1st SCL Finals Turkey 2021, 1st SCL World Truck Pull Champs.
  • Pavlo Kordiyaka, UKR. Height: 1.95m (6’ 5”), weight: 132kg (291lb). 1st place, 2021 Official Strongman Games, Dayton Beach, Florida, 2021 Middle East’s Strongest Man, 2020 Ukraine’s Strongest Man. Best lift: 185kg Log.

The Events

Event organiser, Darren Sadler, has thrown the cat among the pigeon’s this year with a new look set of events. Here’s a run-down of the events that will be facing this year’s competitors:

Event 1: World Log Lift Challenge

A classic max-lift, rising bar event. Once a competitor fails a lift they will be eliminated. The expected increments for the log will be: 170kg, 185kg, 200kg, 210kg, 218kg (American Record), 230kg (World record). 

Event 2: Deadlift Ladder

Giants Live regulars will be familiar with the ladder concept as it has been done at Britain’s with both logs and dumbbells, but never before with deadlift. The five bars will be set at 300kg, 325kg, 350kg, 375kg and 400kg. Competitors will race head-to-head in two identical lanes.

Event 3: Carry and Drag

Athletes will have to carry a 350lb anchor 20m and then attach it to an even heavier chain and drag the whole thing back down the course. Athletes will race head-to-head in three lanes.

Event 4: Power Stairs

This promises to be a real grinder and is a brand new event for Giants Live. The competitors will need to lift all 5 implements up 3 steps. The weights for each implement are: 200kg, 210kg, 225kg, 240kg, and 250kg, Athletes will race head-to-head, two at a time.

Event 5: Castle Stones 

Five stones of increasing weight must be lifted onto progressively lower plinths. At this stage Darren Sadler is yet to determine whether the “light” or “heavy” set will be used. At Britain’s, the heavier stones provided a big challenge to the fatigued athletes. Their weights are: 120kg, 140kg, 160kg, 180kg and 200kg. 

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