2020 Arnold Strongman Classic Day 1 Recap

The first half of the contest in Columbus.

Ten of the strongest men in the world made it to Columbus, Ohio looking to leave this weekend as the Arnold Strongman Classic Champion. Only one of these men, Hafthor Bjornsson, has had the title and goes into this year as the reigning champion.

Among the contenders looking to dethrone him are World’s Strongest Man Martins Licis and World’s Ultimate Strongman Champion Mateusz Kiesliszkowski. Of course the other men in the field could always make a surprise impact. The first half of the competition took place on Friday, and here is a look back at what happened.

Trial By Stone

This event included five stones to be moved: 2 stones weighing 275 and 300 pounds, respectively, were to be pressed overhead. Two more weighing 365 and 400 pounds were to be lifted onto a barrel. Finally, a replica Husafell Stone needed to be lifted and carried 50 feet. This medley was for time as well as completion.

Mateusz Kieliszkowski won the event with a time of 53.72 seconds. This is his first competition since he tore his biceps last fall. Hafthor Bjornsson came in second with Rob Kearney finishing third. JF Caron was the fourth man to finish the course.

2019 World’s Strongest Man Martins Licis came up just short in the Husafell Stone segment, dropping the stone right before he crossed the finish line.

Bag Over Bar

The second event of the day saw each man take their turns tossing progressively heavier bags over a bar that was 15 feet high. Each competitor had 30 seconds to successfully complete his turn. The first bag was 55 pounds. After that each competitor picked their next weight and they continued until only one man was left.

Licis was eliminated after failing to complete a toss with 75 pounds. Mikhail Shivlyakov, who suffered an ankle injury right before the start of the day, pushed through the pain and was able to complete 85 pounds which made him Bjornsson’s challenger at the end, despite being 8 inches shorter. The defending champion bumped the weight up to 90 pounds and that was enough for him to take the victory. Kieliszkowski and Caron tie for third place.

Wheel of Pain

This event made its debut last year and was a big hit so it was brought back. The goal is for the athlete to push the wheel around as far as possible within one minute. Licis won the event last year and was a big factor in him placing 2nd in the 2019 contest.

In this year’s rendition it was Kieliszkowski who would take the win with a measurement of 112 feet. Licis came in second with Bjornsson rounding out the top three.


Halfway through the competition it looks to be Kieliszkowski and Bjornsson are the front runners competing for the title but anything can happen so Licis, Kearney, and the others can still storm back. The second day of competition starts with the Elephant Bar Deadlift followed by the Frame Carry. The final event will be the Cyr Strategic Dumbbell Challenge which will take place during the Arnold Classic bodybuilding finals on Saturday night.

Featured Image: Instagram/arnoldsports of Hafthor Bjornsson