The 2021 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) contest just got even more exciting. Following its success in 2020, “World’s Strongest Man: BACKSTAGE LIVE presented by SBD” will return to provide daily coverage of the 2021 WSM competition, which is scheduled for June 15-20 in Sacramento, CA. The series will be hosted by 2019 WSM champion Martins Licis and former BarBend editor Nick English, and will be preceded by a special preview episode on June 3, 2021.
After the special show, the seven-show live stream is scheduled for 4 p.m. PST from June 14-20. Episodes will include:
- Discussion of past and present strongman and strongwoman greats
- Event previews
- Athlete arrivals
- Interviews with strongman competing in the competition and strongman legends in attendance
- Daily recaps of results and standings
- Post-event interviews
You can acquire access to all seven episodes via the live stream’s Facebook event page for $2.99. Fans will not be able to watch full events — just highlights. Complete coverage of the WSM air on CBS and CBS Sports in the U.S. and Channel 5 in the UK.
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Licis, who is not on the WSM roster for the second consecutive year, confirmed that he plans to reclaim his title in the future but is happy to contribute on the media side this year while recovering from injury:
“After competing for many years, putting in the work, and being in the grind, I’m grateful to sit back and support World’s Strongest Man as part of the online show this year,” Licis said in the press release. “Make no mistake; I’ll be coming back soon to smash some weights and take back the throne! However, in the meantime, I’m excited to see who the champion will be and which athletes will rise in this battle against gravity.”
The 2019 WSM champ has remained a major player in the strongman community despite being unable to compete. He was the official referee alongside Nick Best at Anthony Fuhrman’s Clash on the Coast U105KG strongman competition that took place April 30 through May 2, 2021. In between training sessions with rapper Action Bronson and preparing for his return to competition, he filmed a commercial for GEICO and pulled the legendary monster truck “Grave Digger.”
Growth of WSM
The 2020 WSM behind-the-scenes live stream (also hosted by English) was a massive hit. According to WSM, the stream reached 1.67 million unique views to date and may have helped propel the growth of the strongman fanbase. The WSM Facebook page’s follower count increased by over 1.6 million — a 130 percent jump year over year — to its current 3,035,580 followers at the time of this article’s publication. WSM was one of the top five fastest-growing sports leagues and federations on social media, according to Facebook’s public analytics tool Crowdtangle.
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WSM Television Coverage
The 2021 WSM competition will air on CBS Television Network and CBS Sports Network beginning on July 3, 2021, in the U.S. That means that the television coverage will be taped, similar to 2020. The broadcast will also be available worldwide to an estimated 500 million households. Coverage of the contest will air on Channel 5 in the UK in December 2021. The full schedule for when the broadcast will be available “will be released in the coming weeks.”
WSM In Sacramento
The 2021 WSM competition will feature 14 events over five days. The first three days will feature the qualifying rounds to determine who advances to the final two days of competition to fight for the title of WSM. The contest’s move to Sacramento, CA, is a part of a three-year deal with the Visit Sacramento Sports Commission (VSSC). WSM will return to Sacramento in 2022 and then again in a yet-to-be-mentioned year. The 2019 and 2020 WSM events were in Bradenton, FL. 2021 will mark the first time the WSM is hosted in California since 2014.
2020 WSM champion Oleksii Novikov will return to defend his title. He and the rest of the roster will encounter a brand new event — Titan’s Turntable — where they will be tasked with pushing a JW Bowker steam engine 180 degrees on the 110-year-old California State Railroad Museum Turntable. Four-time WSM champion Brian Shaw is among the names who will try and take it from him, as are the two men who also stood on the 2020 podium — Tom Stoltman and JF Caron. We will see if the Ukrainian can become the eighth man ever to win back-to-back WSM titles.
Feature image: @theworldsstrongestman on Instagram