At the end of the first day of the Arnold Strongman Classic, it appeared to be a contest between two men: Hafthor Björnsson and Mateusz Kieliszkowski. Björnsson is the reigning champion of this contest, while Kieliszkowski is the current World’s Ultimate Strongman. However, many followers of strongman know that the World’s Strongest Man, Martins Licis, can pull off a comeback out of nowhere. The only way to see how it would play out is by playing the events out, which happened on Saturday.
Elephant Bar Deadlift
The day started with the Elephant Bar Deadlift, which was considered to be Björnsson’s contest to lose. True to form, he had the event won by his second attempt, pulling 1,026 pounds. Even though he could’ve made a third attempt to break the elusive 501 kilograms (1,104 pounds) and win $100,000, he ultimately opted to save his energy for the rest of the competition.
Kieliszkowski is known for his struggles with the deadlift, and he actually finished 8th in this event which allowed Björnsson to take a commanding lead in points. 2nd place in this event went to JF Caron, and Mikhail Shivlyakov gutted out a 941 plus deadlift on a left ankle sprain to take 3rd place points.
The fifth event of the weekend was the Timber Frame Carry. The goal was to lift the 400-kilogram (881-pound) frame and carry it up a ramp for a total distance of 35 feet. There was a time cap of 30 seconds, so anyone who failed to complete the task was scored based on distance.
This event was the opposite of the deadlift for both Kieliszkowski and Björnsson. Kieliszkowski faced the defending champion head-to-head and dominated this event. He completed the event in seven seconds flat. Meanwhile, Björnsson failed to finish within the time limit and was scored for a distance of a little over 32 feet.
Second place in this event went to Jerry Pritchett with a time of 10.5 seconds, with JF Caron coming in 3rd at 15 seconds. Licis was the only other man to go the entire distance and was scored in 4th place.
Cyr Strategic Dumbbell
The weekend’s final event was held during the Arnold Classic finals on Saturday night, and it was the Cyr Strategic Dumbbell event. At this point, it would appear that either Björnsson or Kieliszkowski would leave as the champion.
This event favored the “Polish Powerhouse” going in since Kieliszkowski held the world record with a lift of 143 kilograms (315 pounds), but Björnsson had been training specifically for this event. Hence, there was no way to predict how it would play out. The goal of this event is to either lift the heaviest weight or the most reps. One rep with heavier weight will trump a lighter rep for any number of reps.
Olexii Novikov was the first man to break the 300-pound mark but missed 310. Licis would eventually go up and get 274 pounds but missed 290. That meant, at best, he could finish in 3rd place.
Kieliszkowski started his 90 seconds with 300 pounds and completed it. He pointed to the 320-pound weight which would be a world record. With five seconds left, he completed the record-breaking lift and won $5,000 in the process. But it wasn’t enough to take the overall championship.
The defending champion picked 280 pounds, placing him in fourth place for the event but securing the title on points. He got the lift and secured the overall victory but continued anyway. He got 300 pounds and attempted 330 but missed it.
Nonetheless, he still three-peats in Columbus.
2020 Arnold Strongman Classic Podium
- Hafthor Björnsson
- Mateusz Kieliszkowski
- Martins Licis
Featured Image: Instagram/roguefitness of Hafthor Björnsson