Despite a global pandemic changing the way that sports are played and watched, the sport of strongman has managed to stay relevant in 2020. World’s Ultimate Strongman has released a number of episodes of their Feats of Strength series, and Static Monster Worldwide just went down (in November of 2020). Now, it’s time for the SBD 2020 World’s Strongest Man competition to take place — so get pumped.
The event — which takes place in Bradenton, FL, from Nov. 11-15, 2020 — will see 25 athletes compete for the title. Below, we’ll break down five of the top contenders and give you some information on how to stay up to date on the action during the event.
[Related: Watch Brian Shaw’s Colossal 1,091-Pound (494.8-Kilogram) Deadlift Off Blocks]
Athletes to Watch
This year’s WSM is made even more interesting by a few dropouts. Martins Licis, the 2019 WSM champ, is out. So is the 2019 WUS winner, Mateusz Kieliszkowski, due to injuries, and Hafthor Bjornsson (who won the show in 2018) says he’s retired. That’s the entire 2019 podium. Here are five athletes that we think are top contenders for the number one spot.
Brian Shaw (USA)
Weight: 440 pounds
Best WSM Finish: first place (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016)
Other Notable Wins: Arnold Strongman Classic Champion (2011, 2015, 2017)
With both Licis and Kieliszkowski out of this competition due to injuries, Shaw is the overwhelming favorite to travel back to his home state of Colorado with his fifth title. He will be the only former champion competing this year. If he wins, he will tie Mariusz Pudzianowski for the most titles ever (five). His recent 18-inch deadlift of 1,091 pounds (494.8 kilograms) can serve as evidence that he’s pretty prepared to claim victory this year.
Luke Stoltman (Great Britain)
Weight: 350 Pounds
Best WSM Finish: seventh (2019)
Other Notable Wins: five-time Scotland’s Strongest Man Champion (2013-2017)
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Luke Stoltman is no stranger to this competition. This will be his fifth time competing at the World’s Strongest Man. Considering that some men that placed ahead of him are not competing this year, it would be a great chance for him to move up in placings. He’s strong in the Log Press, as evidenced when he recently set the British record by lifting 487 pounds (221 kilograms).
JF Caron (Canada)
Weight: 345 pounds
Best WSM Finish: fourth (2019)
Other Notable Wins: nine-time Canada’s Strongest Man (2011-2019)
There is a reason that Laurence Shahlaei called Caron his dark horse for this year’s contest — because he’s strong and fit. The Canadian excels at both the deadlift and in events like the truck pull. He’s said that he’s in great shape and could certainly be standing on the podium this year as long as he performs as expected.
Trey Mitchell (USA)
Weight: 340 pounds
Best WSM Finish: eighth (2019)
Other Notable Wins: 2018 America’s Strongest Man Champion
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Mitchell is only 26 and has been rising in the ranks of the sport. Aside from his victory in the 2018 America’s Strongest Man contest, he debuted on the WSM stage last year. His most memorable moment was when he beat Oleksii Novikov in the Atlas Stone Over the Bar “Last Man Standing” event by one rep (14 to 13). He has also been improving in the deadlift, which could be a factor in determining this year’s champion. If there was a dark horse to watch, the Texan might be it.
Tom Stoltman (Great Britain)
Weight: 384 pounds
Best WSM Finish: fifth (2019)
Other Notable Wins: Scotland’s Strongest Man Champion (2018, 2019)
The younger brother to Luke, 26-year-old Tom Stoltman has plenty of time to win major titles. That doesn’t mean, however, that he wouldn’t take an opportunity to win if presented. And this year may be his year. Stoltman holds a world record in the Atlas Stone Over the Bar lift. He’s also pretty fast when it comes to the medley events. Both of these facts make him a contender for first place.
You can check out the full 2020 World’s Strongest Man roster, which was given exclusively to BarBend.
Don’t Miss the 2020 World’s Strongest Man
Fans aren’t allowed to attend this year’s contest, but WSM is selling a Facebook Live stream, called “World’s Strongest Man: Live from Bradenton,” for $1.99. The stream will include a preview of each day’s events, athlete arrivals, detailed event recaps, and post-action interviews with the competitors on the actual competition days.
To watch the full events, people will still need to tune into CBS and CBS Sports in December, with specific dates to be released. For those in the UK, the show will air on Channel 5 starting on Dec. 26, 2020. (There are a number of other international broadcasters carrying it worldwide.) You should also check out our how to watch article for more information on how to catch the action.
Featured Image (left to right): @luke.stoltman on Instagram / photo by Zoie Carter-Ingham; @theworldsstrongestman on Instagram