2021 UK’s Strongest Man — Events, Roster, and Athlete Groups

Strongman Laurence Shahlaei breaks down all the details the upcoming UK contest.

The 2021 UK’s Strongest Man (UKSM) contest is scheduled for May 29-31, 2021, at the Stadium MK in the Bletchley district of Milton Keynes. It is an outdoor event and will feature live spectators and a new event never seen before in strongman — the Van Hold. Strongman Laurence “Big Loz” Shahlaei believes athletes like Mark Felix will fare well in this new event as it taxes grip strength and will favor strongmen with larger hands.

Speaking of Shahlaei, he actually filmed a video breakdown of all the details of the three-day competition, including the event list, the full roster, which qualifying group each strongman will be in for the first two days of the competition, and some key details about the UK’s Strongest Man contest. Check out that video below courtesy of Shahlaei’s YouTube channel:

[Related: 2021 Rogue Invitational, Set for Oct. 29-31, Will Include Strongman Competition]

UK vs. Britain?

It can be easy to confuse UKSM and Britain’s Strongest Man (BSM). Both are strongman contests that feature athletes solely from the UK. However, the biggest difference between them is the organizers. UKSM is organized by Ultimate Strongman, whereas Giants Live puts together BSM. That means BSM is an official qualifying event for World’s Strongest Man (WSM), and UKSM is not, since WSM is a Giants Live contest. That is significant for obvious reasons, but also means that UKSM is essentially an open contest that anyone can compete in by way of the following regional qualifiers:

  • Southern
  • Northern
  • Midlands
  • Scottish
  • Irish
  • Welsh

Although UKSM isn’t an official WSM qualifying event, it’s still a solid measure of who may make it to WSM. For example, 2020 UKSM winner Gavin Bilton went on to qualify for the 2020 WSM contest.

2021 UK’s Strongest Man Format

The roster consists of 16 athletes broken up into two eight-man groups during the qualifying stage, which happens during the first two days of competition. Competitors vie for one of the top five spots in their respective groups to advance to day two. The bottom three strongmen in each group will compete in an “eliminator” where the bottom two athletes are cut from the competition. The winner of the eliminator advances to day two.

Day two consists of two six-man groups. Competitors ranked in the top four of their respective groups advance to the finals. The bottom three competitors in each group square off in a head-to-head eliminator event. The winner move on to the finals, and the loser is out of the competition.

Points do not carry over into day two. This means that all strongmen who qualify for day two will start the day with zero points regardless of their standing at the end of day one.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Welsh Bull (@gavin_the_bull_bilton)

[Related: U105KG Strongman Nicolas Cambi Claims Victory at the 2021 Clash on the Coast]

2021 UK’s Strongest Man Roster

Here are the 16 athletes and their qualifying groups competing at the 2021 UKSM:

Group A

  • Gavin Bilton — 2020 UKSM champion
  • Andy Black
  • Paul Smith
  • Matthew McKeegan 
  • Desmond Gahan
  • Stuart Graham
  • Chris Morgan
  • Pa O’Dwyer

Group B

  • Mark Felix
  • Matthew McCoy
  • Mark Jeanes
  • Louis Jack
  • Andrew Flynn
  • Ivan Gannon
  • Jack Osbourne
  • Scott Milne

Only eight of the 16 competitors will advance to the finals on day three of the competition.

2021 UK’s Strongest Man Events

There will be a total of 11 events across three days of competition. 

Day One

  • Super Yoke 450 kilograms (992.1 pounds), two heats of four men each.
  • Dumbbell Medley — head-to-head match-ups, five dumbells ranging from 70 kilograms (154.3 pounds) to 110 kilograms (242.5 pounds).
  • Car Deadlift Hold — all athletes will use identical lifting straps.
  • Atlas Stones (Eliminator Event) — stones range from 100 kilograms (220.5 pounds) to 160 kilograms (352.7 pounds).

Day Two (Semifinals)

  • Car Roll — flipping a car over and over.
  • Van Hold — A van will be placed on a declining slope with a rope attached to it. Each competitor will hold the rope to keep the van from falling for as long as possible.
  • Sack Carry — 180 kilograms (396.8 pounds). This event is visually similar to a Húsafell Stone event).
  • Atlas Stones — Eliminator Event.

Day Three (Finals)

  • Truck Push — 8.5 tons (17,000 pounds) (think prowler push with a gigantic vehicle).
  • Max Brick Lift (Deadlift) —no straps allowed.
  • Atlas Stones — stones range from 100 kilograms (220.5 pounds) to 175 kilograms (385.8 pounds).
  • Viking Press 
  • Carry & Drag Medley — It’s an anvil carry into an anchor drag with a 75-second time limit.

The event will take place outdoors, and tickets are available for in-person spectators. This event takes place just two weeks before the 2021 WSM contest goes down in Sacramento, CA, from June 15-20. We will see if Bilton can go back-to-back before heading to the west coast of the USA or if another strongman from the UK will snatch the title. 

Feature image: @gavin_the_bull_bilton on Instagram