Way Too Early 2021 Shaw Classic Predictions

This elite roster features some of the best strongmen in the world.

Several prominent strongman and strongwoman contests in 2021 have fans excited to watch their favorite athletes competing for prizes, titles, bragging rights, and maybe even records. World’s Ultimate Strongman’s Strength Island took place on March 13, 2021. From April 30 to May 2, 2021, the 105-kilogram strongman show Clash on the Coast occurs. The 2021 World’s Strongest Man contest is set for June 15-20. After that, there’s another big show for fans to be pumped for — the 2021 Shaw Classic.

Four-time WSM Winner Brian Shaw launched his namesake competition in 2020, and it was a big hit among athletes and fans. Now, it’s safe to assume strongman fans are happily anticipating the 2021 edition, which will take place on August 27-28, 2021, in Estes Park, CO. Among the elite athletes competing, there are three former World’s Strongest Man winners and a former World’s Ultimate Strongman champion.


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A post shared by Brian Shaw (@shawstrength)

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The two-day contest will feature eight different events that will take a toll on the competitor’’ bodies and minds. Different athletes have different specialties. They also have challenges and weaknesses. The man who can maximize their strengths while doing their best with the challenges in front of them will emerge the champion. Below, we break down possible event winners and take a shot at guessing who will stand atop the 2021 Shaw Classic podium. 

But first, here’s the full 2021 Shaw Classic Roster:

2021 Shaw Classic Predictions

There are eight events in the 2021 Shaw Classic. Here is who we think will clinch the win in each one. 

Event 1 – Max Log Press

The strongman version of the clean and press is primarily going to challenge the shoulders and triceps. It also requires a lot of leg strength and core stability to maintain control of a log that could have as much as 500 pounds loaded onto it. Seven men went over 400 pounds in last year’s contest.

Likely Winner: Luke Stoltman. Current world record holder Žydrūnas Savickas is also competing, but he hasn’t been able to break 500 pounds on the log since he set the record (502 pounds) in 2015. Stoltman pressed 221 kilograms (487 pounds) in the “Feats of Strength” series in 2020 for the British log lift record. It’s certainly possible that someone else could beat him, but Stoltman’s recent accomplishments and Savickas’ age make the Scotsman a favorite.

Event 2 – Super Yoke Carry

The yoke sits on the back of the shoulders, and competitors race, usually, to see who can cover a set distance in the fastest time. Core stability and effective mobility are the primary factors for this event. As of this writing, the weight of the yoke still isn’t known.

Likely Winner: Oleksii Novikov. Novikov had little trouble with the 500-kilogram (1,102-pound) yoke in last year’s contest with a time of 13.9 seconds. Also, because the Ukrainian sits at just under 300 pounds, his “svelte” frame may allow him to move faster than bigger competitors such as Shaw, Caron, and Oberst.


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A post shared by Oleksii Novikov (@novikov_strong_wsm)

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Event 3 – Bag Toss Over Bar

Imagine doing a kettlebell swing, but you have to toss that kettlebell as high as you can. That’s essentially what the bag toss is. The event requires max hip drive to build momentum and launch the bag up over a bar of a certain height. (At the 2020 Arnold Strongman Classic, the bar was 15-feet high.) The posterior chain and the shoulders will do the brunt of the work here. The competitors don’t want to miss that bar. Repeated attempts will wear them down quickly.

Likely Winner: Brian Shaw. The reigning Shaw Classic champ and four-time World’s Strongest Man is a specialist in the tossing events. For reference, Shaw famously tossed eight kegs (four groups of eight kegs that weighed 40, 45, 50, and 55 pounds each) in 00:16:59.

Event 4 – Car Squat for Reps

It’s one thing to squat a lot of weight. It’s another to do a lot of reps. These men will be doing both at the same time. This is an event that will obviously tax the athletes’ legs. The lower back is as important for this event as the legs are since it’ll be under a heavy load for an extended period of time.

Likely Winner: J.F. Caron or Trey Mitchell. The 2020 WSM contest featured a squat for reps event with 315 kilograms (694.5 pounds). These two men tied with 11 reps each. Whichever competitor is on his game that day will likely finish day one, having acquired some serious momentum.

Event 5 – Max Tire Hummer Deadlift

This event is a fan favorite because of the visual aspects of the lift. Giant Hummer tires loaded onto an extra-long bar picked up by a single human being is a sight to behold. The athlete stands on a podium in the middle of the bar to extend their range of motion. The entire posterior chain will be put to the test during this deadlift.

Likely Winner: J.F. Caron. Caron set the world record for this movement last year at the 2020 Shaw Classic with a pull of 1,202 pounds. The Canadian is a deadlift specialist, and it’s hard not to give the nod to the man who already owns the world record.

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Event 6 – Medley

The medley at this contest is different from traditional versions. An arm-over-arm pull follows a heavy wheelbarrow push. The details of the event have yet to be announced. The wheelbarrow will work the legs, arms, and even the traps from stabilizing the handles while the athlete is moving. The arm-over-arm pull will tax the lats and arms.

Likely Winner: It’s hard to say. Without knowing all the specifics, any man can win this. If an athlete needs to score a big win to make a comeback, this could be the event they do it at. Conversely, a bad performance in this toss-up event can push the leader of the contest down the leaderboard.

Event 7 – Circus Dumbbell for Reps

Athletes are tasked with cleaning an oversized dumbbell from the floor to their shoulder and press it overhead for as many reps as possible. Shaw has not specified a time cap on this event. 

Likely Winner: Oleksii Novikov. Any time this event comes up, the current World’s Strongest Man has to be the favorite. He dominated this event at Strength Island, and he owns the world record for reps by doing 11 reps in 75 seconds with a 100-kilogram (220-pound) dumbbell.

Event 8 – Atlas Stones

Most contests hold this event as the grand finale. Picking up the Atlas stone takes a lot of upper back, and leg strength is also a must. It’s also a very technical event, as athletes need to focus on their hand positioning, lap position, and then the clean portion of the lift. The weight of the stones has yet to be finalized. 

Likely Winner: Tom Stoltman.”The King of Stones” holds the current Atlas Stone Over Bar record with a 286-kilogram (630-pound) load over a 48-inch bar. He also dominated the 2020 WSM stone medley, loading all five stones in 19.89 seconds. Who knows, maybe another competitor will have the stones to out-hoist Stoltman, but it’ll be hard to dethrone the king. 

Podium Predictions

It can always be tough to predict the result of a strongman contest. Athletes could have a bad day, one event misstep may cost them the title, and unfortunately, there is always the risk of injury. With that said, here’s who we think will sit atop the podium at the end of the 2021 Shaw Classic.

  1. Oleksii Novikov
  2. Mateusz Kieliszkowski
  3. Brian Shaw

On to the Shaw Classic

Specifics on how to watch the event haven’t surfaced yet. That said, the 2020 Shaw Classic was available on the Shaw Strength Club website. Last year, people had to sign up for one month to the SSC ($8.99 per month). According to Shaw, part of the money from the Shaw Strength Club sign-ups was put into the athlete prize pool. Shaw also put $25,000 of his own money last year into the prize pool (and refused to accept any winnings despite placing first). 

Shaw will announce other details about the event on his YouTube channel as they develop.

Featured Image: @novikov_strong_wsm on Instagram