Exclusive: Here’s Who’s Competing at 2018 World’s Strongest Man

Each year, every strongman fan on the planet counts down the days until World’s Strongest Man. It’s easily one of the biggest events in strength sports — 2017 winner Eddie Hall sees the title as the “ultimate alpha male” — and BarBend has received the full list of this year’s athletes from our sources at the World’s Strongest Man.

The qualifying rounds will be held from April 28th to May 1st and barring any injuries or drop outs, this is the final list of the thirty athletes and their countries, presented in alphabetical order.

Matjaz Belsak – Slovenia

Nick Best – United States

Iron Biby – Burkina Faso

Adam Bishop – Great Britain

Hafthor Julius Bjornsson – Iceland

JF Caron – Canada

Adam Derks – United States

Johan Els – South Africa

Mark Felix – Great Britain

Martin Forsmark – Sweden

Johnny Hansson – Sweden

Graham Hicks – Great Britain

Terry Hollands – Great Britain

Konstantine Janashia – Georgia

Rob Kearney – United States

Rongo Keene – Australia

Mateusz Kieliszkowski – Poland

Dennis Kohlruss – Germany

Marius Lalas – Lithuania

Vytautas Lalas – Lithuania

Martins Licis – United States

Peiman Maheripourehir – Iran

Robert Oberst – United States

Krzysztof Radzikowski – Poland

Zydrunas Savickas – Lithuania

Laurence Shahlaei – Great Britain

Brian Shaw – United States

Mikhail Shivlyakov – Russia

Aivars Smaukstelis – Latvia

Luke Stoltman – Great Britain

A few things worth noting: despite some rumors, Eddie Hall most certainly is not returning to World’s Strongest Man this year. He was a little indecisive about his retirement, announcing it immediately after last year’s event and then later changing his to stance to “pondering on it.” He’s contracted to compete as a strongman until 2019 so there’s always a chance we’ll see him then, but not this year.

But we do have a lot of greats on this list, including four-time champions Brian Shaw and Zydrunas Savickas, who was last seen beating his world log press record while training for the upcoming Europe’s Strongest Man. Fifty-one-year-old Mark Felix is also making his first appearance at the event since 2015.

So, will this be the year that Hafthor Bjornsson finally takes the title? With Hall out of the running and with a recent win at the 2018 Arnold Strongman Classic, one could argue that The Mountain is primed to do so. But with multiple previous world champions and so many hungry up-and-comers, it’s harder than ever to make predictions.

The 2018 World’s Strongest Man’s qualifying rounds run from April 28th to May 1st and the two-day finals will be held on May 5th and 6th in Manila. For now, these are the events:

Heats (Qualifiers)

  • Load and Drag
  • Load and Farmer’s Walk
  • Truck Pull
  • Overhead Press (Dumbbell)
  • Overhead Press (Log)
  • Arm Over Arm
  • Toss
  • Squat with loading barrels
  • Deadlift with loading barrels
  • Atlas Stones

Finals Events

  • Frame Carry
  • Car Deadlift
  • Loading Race
  • Truck Pull
  • Max Overhead
  • Atlas Stones

Good luck to all the competitors.

Featured image via @shawstrength and @savickas_bigz on Instagram.

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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.