• 28 April, 2024

WSM 2024 Preview – Stoltman and Hooper Set to Renew Rivalry

World’s Strongest Man 2024: Wed 1st May – Sun 5th May, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

The SBD World’s Strongest Man gets underway in just a few short days, with the thirty strongest men on the planet assembling in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for what promises to be a thrilling showdown between defending champion Mitchell Hooper and two-time winner Tom Stoltman!

Hooper prevailed in last year’s contest, besting the Albatross by 4.5 points to become the first Canadian winner. That was an early instalment in a growing rivalry between these two great champions that has captivated Strongman fans. Since then, Hooper has dominated most of the sport’s major competitions and comes into this year’s show on a three-contest winning streak, including the Arnold Classic and Rogue Invitational.

Incredibly, The Moose has podiumed in all his fifteen competitions since qualifying for the WSM final in 2022. This level of consistency, combined with his ability to raise his game when it matters most, will make him very hard to beat this year. If successful, he would be only the 9th athlete to defend the title and would become the 11th man to win more than once.

Tom Stoltman will be attempting to claim his third victory and cement his name as one of Strongman’s greatest champions. He has not been out of top two in the last four years at WSM and has beaten Hooper on two occasions – both at Giants Live events – since his 2023 final defeat. The most recent of these came at last season’s World Tour Finals, where Tom prevailed by an impressive 8.5 points.

If anyone is capable of getting the better of Hooper this year, it is surely Tom Stoltman – a true giant of the sport. Regardless of the result, another chapter of their competitive rivalry looks set to be written.

One major development in the contest’s growth as a spectator event is ticketing for all the heats and final and the provision of grandstand seating. At the 2023 contest fans took to step ladders to afford themselves a view of the competition, with thousands turning up to see the world’s best strength athletes. It is a development that will be welcomed by both the fans and athletes alike.

The Line-up

With a host of injury withdrawals that includes 2020 winner, Oleksii Novikov, 2019 champion, Martins Licis and two-time runner-up Mateusz Kieliszkowski, the final 30-man line-up has only recently been confirmed.

Many of last year’s finalists are returning to Myrtle Beach, such as Evan “T-Rex” Singleton, Pavlo Kordiyaka, Matt Ragg and Luke Stoltman, the recently crowned Europe’s Strongest Man. Trey Mitchell, who has twice finished 4th, returns from injury to attend, along with South Africa’s Jaco Schoonwinkel, who was injured in the final last year.

Bobby Thompson will be hoping to avoid the Stone-Off and take his place in the final, once again, as will Latvia’s Aivars Šmaukstelis who finished runner-up at Europe’s earlier this month. America’s Kevin Faires has not made the final since 2020 and will hoping this is his year, as will countryman Thomas Evans who made his debut last year.

British fans will be hoping to see Welsh Bull, Gavin Bilton, take his place in the last ten, along with two-time Britian’s Strongest Man, Adam Bishop who last made the final in 2021. England’s Kane Francis will be making his debut after many strong showings on the SCL circuit and at Britain’s.

Estonia’s Rauno Heinla, the World’s Strongest Master athlete, will be the oldest man in the contest, with the Czech Republic’s Ondřej Fojtů the youngest at just 22. Heinla narrowly missed the final last year after a memorable Stone-Off with Brian Shaw. Fojtů makes his debut off the back of a 4th place finish at Europe’s.

Marcus Crowder (USA), Wes Derwinskey (CAN), and Nathan Goltry (USA), all make their debuts. They qualify by right of their podium finishes at last year’s Official Strongman Games, as does Italy’s Nicolas Cambi who also performed strongly at Europe’s Strongest Man.

Evans Nana of Ghana becomes the first man from that nation to compete at World’s and makes his debut along with Mexico’s Austin Andrade and the Polish pairing of Oskar Ziólkowski and Adam Roszkowski, who were first and second at the Official Strongman European Championships.

Here is the line-up in full:


Marcus Crowder (USA)

Tom Evans (USA)

Nathan Goltry (USA)

Kevin Faires (USA)

Rob Kearney (USA)

Trey Mitchell (USA)

Spenser Remick (USA)

Evan Singleton (USA)

Bobby Thompson (USA)

Gavin Bilton (GBR)

Adam Bishop (GBR)

Kane Francis (GBR)

Luke Stoltman (GBR)

Tom Stoltman (GBR)

Wes Derwinsky (CAN)

Tristain Hoath (CAN)

Mitchell Hooper (CAN)

Oskar Ziólkowski (POL)

Adam Roszkowski (POL)

Rauno Heinla (EST)

Pavlo Kordiyaka (UKR)

Aivars Smaukstelis (LAT)

Mathew Ragg (NZL)

Jaco Schoonwinkel (RSA)

Eddie Williams (AUS)

Ondrej Fojtu (CZE)

Austin Andrade (MEX)

Pa O’Dwyer (IRE)

Nicolas Cambi (ITA)

Evans Nana (GHA)


Selection of the events for both the heats and final is always preceded by much speculation. Once again, the six disciplines for the qualifying stages will be the same for all five heats.


Webster Stone Carry: These new implements, made especially for this contest and named after David Webster OBE, will weigh from 115-140kg in each hand and must be carried for maximum distance. A single drop is allowed for 10 seconds before the final pick-up. The athletes will compete in 3-man races.

Sandbag Steeplechase: This event has been used a few times now at Giants Live and Official Strongman events. Three sandbags from 120-140kg must be carried and lifted over a large hurdle, then collected from the other side and placed on a plinth. Quickest time wins, and this could be done on the sand, which would be truly torturous!

Deadlift Ladder: This year’s set-up will include five bars loaded from 300-380kg and must be lifted in ascending weight order in the quickest time possible.

Globe Viking Press: The apparatus will weigh150kg in the hands and the athletes must press it for maximum repetitions.

Car Walk: This classic variation of the Super Yoke makes a welcome return to WSM, having been used many times at Giants Live events. The expected weight of the vehicles will be around the 455kg/1,000lb mark, with a distance of 20m.

Stone Off: The heat’s leader after five events will progress to the grand final as of right, with the second and third placed men moving to the Stone-Off. The onus is on the athlete in 3rd to win, with a tie seeing the runner-up qualifying.

Grand Final

KNAACK Giant’s Medley: This year’s version sees a return to the 2021 set-up with the athletes racing with a 350kg Frame Carry and then moving onto a 460kg Yoke for 20m each. Tom Stoltman won this format when last used, but was beaten in 2022 by Hooper, albeit with a modified format.

Keg Toss: Rather than multiple kegs for time, the athletes will be throwing a single 15kg keg for maximum height. 7.75m is Brian Shaw’s record, and every man will get three attempts at each height. This was last contested at World’s at the 2021 contest. Brian Shaw won, with Tom Stoltman 2nd with 7.50m.

Max Axle Press: Last year it was the Giant Circus Dumbbell that was lifted for maximum weight; an event dominated by Evan Singleton and Hooper. Anyone keeping half an eye on Hooper’s prep for this contest will have seen that with his spilt jerk technique, Iron Biby’s 217kg world record could well be under threat. The opening weight looks to be 170kg – a weight that some men might fail!

BFGoodrich Tyres HD Terrain Deadlift: The weight of this year’s apparatus will be 360kg, roughly 800lb, and it will be pulled for maximum reps from standard 9-inch height. Hooper won this event in 2023 with 8-reps. Tom Stoltman’s 6-reps saw him drop big points, coming behind a group of four men tied on 7-reps. The Albatross will need to up his deadlift game this year if he wants to avoid a similar mistake.

Reign Total Body Fuel Conan’s Wheel: This event was included in the heats last year after being absent from World’s for a number of years. 200kg will be the weight in the hands, and the athletes will need to walk as many revolutions as possible. Ukraine’s Pavlo Kordiyaka achieved a Giants Live record of 1009° at the 2023 Europe’s Strongest Man, so should be favourite here.

Atlas Stones: How else could World’s Strongest Man be decided? Five stones from 140kg – 210kg will need to be loaded on progressively shorter plinths. Tom Stoltman is regarded as all but unbeatable here, but Mitchell Hooper was 2nd last year, only 3.7 sec slower and much faster than the next best athlete.

These six events will provide a varied and thorough examination of all aspects of the ten finalists’ strength but will allow plenty of room for slip ups and surprise performances. Victory will only be assured with an absence of mistakes, and although in many peoples’ eyes this year’s contest is shaping up to be a two-horse race, there are a few dark horses waiting in the wings, ready to make their move for the podium, or even the win!

The heats will be getting underway on Wednesday 1st May, with the two-day grand final commencing on Saturday 4th May.