Oleksii Novikov Cruises Through Overhead Pressing Medley at 2021 WSM

The first event saw all five groups press four heavy implements for time.

Day three of the 2021 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) contest was met with another hot summer day of triple-digit temperatures and clear blue skies. This was the last day of group competition to determine which 10 athletes would advance to the Finals.

The day consisted of three events: the overhead medley, the pickaxe hold, and the stone off. The Stoltman brothers, Bobby Thompson, and Robert Oberst had a lot of hype surrounding them. Luke Stoltman and Thompson hold the British and American log lift records, respectively, Oberst is a former American log lift record holder, and Tom Stoltman won this event at the 2020 WSM Finals.

In the end, it was Brian Shaw, Trey Mitchell, JF Caron, Adam Bishop, and Oleksii Novikov who came out on top. Check out the full results below. 

Editor’s Note: Results should not be considered final until after the World’s Strongest Man Facebook Live show: World’s Strongest Man: BACKSTAGE LIVE

Related: 2021 World’s Strongest Man Results and Leaderboard

2021 World’s Strongest Man Overhead Medley Results

The overhead medley consisted of the following four implements, for time:

  • Heavy Dumbbell — 95 kilograms (210 pounds)
  • Heavy Dumbbell — 100 kilograms (220 pounds)
  • Circus Barbell — 155 kilograms (342 pounds)
  • Axle Barbell — 163 kilograms (360 pounds)

Group One

  1. Brian Shaw — Four reps, 34.72 seconds
  2. Maxime Boudreault — Four reps, 36.19 seconds
  3. Gavin Bilton — Four reps, 49.84 seconds
  4. Aivars Smaukstelis — Three reps, 19.87 seconds
  5. Travis Ortmayer — One rep, 6.90 seconds

Group Two

  1. Trey Mitchell — Four reps, 29.77 seconds
  2. Evan Singleton — Four reps, 32.08 seconds
  3. Tom Stoltman — Four reps, 38.02 seconds
  4. Johnny Hansson — Three reps, 29.20 seconds
  5. Mark Felix — One rep, 6.42 seconds

Group Three

  1. JF Caron — Four reps, 33.72 seconds
  2. Mikhail Shivlyakov — Four reps, 38.18 seconds
  3. Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted — Four reps, 39.77 seconds
  4. Robert Oberst — Four reps, 52.25 seconds

Group Four

  1. Adam Bishop — Three reps, 27.74 seconds 
  2. Konstantine Janashia — Three reps, 48.42 seconds  
  3. Jerry Pritchett — No reps

Group Five

  1. Oleksii Novikov — Four reps, 24.83 seconds
  2. Luke Stoltman — Four reps, 25.63 seconds
  3. Kevin Faires — Four reps, 29.23 seconds
  4. Bobby Thompson — Four reps, 43.43 seconds
  5. Ervin Toots — Two reps, 21.88 seconds


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Group One

Gavin Bilton was the first man to take the lifting stage, and he ran the event solo. He was the heaviest man in the field at a bodyweight of 191 kilograms. He breezed through the two overhead dumbbells, lifting them with his right hand. He then used his belly to help clean each barbell. His official time was four reps in 49.84 seconds.

Maxime Boudreault stepped up onto the stage next to secure his first WSM Finals appearance. Ortmayer followed behind the Canadian as they ran the event head-to-head.

Boudreault had no issues with any of the implements. He conquered each on his first attempt. His official time was 36.19 seconds. Ortmayer struggled with the 210-pound dumbbell but managed to get the call for a clean rep. However, he was stunted by the 220-pound dumbbell, unable to lift it. His time was one rep is 6.9 seconds. 

Brian Shaw and Aivars Smaukstelis entered the lifting stage together — a rematch from their head-to-head yesterday on the Fingal’s Fingers. Per the announcer, Shaw was “meticulous” with his setup, making sure both barbells were chalked to his liking before getting in the starting position.

Both men were nearly synchronized through the entire event. It wasn’t until the final barbell that Smaukstelis fell behind with a failed attempt on the axle press. Shaw had a squeaky clean run and scored an event-winning time of 34.72. Smaukstelis chose to forego lifting the final implement — his official score was three reps in 19.87 seconds.

Between groups, crew members covered the heavy dumbbells and barbells with towels to keep them from getting too hot as they sat in the sun.

Group Two

Mark Felix was first on the stage for group two. The announcer introduced him as “55 years young.”  He was alone for the first heat and scorched the first heavy dumbbell. Unfortunately, he failed his first three attempts on the second heavy dumbbell, unable to lock it out. He made one last attempt after a few deep breaths but could not secure the lift. His official time was one rep in 6.42 seconds. 

Tom Stoltman and Evan Singleton sauntered up to the stage, both laser-focused on their head-to-head battle. Stoltman was the first athlete to lift the heavy dumbbells with his left hand but struggled to rack the first dumbbell. That allowed Singleton to jump to an early lead, and he never gave it up with a flawless run. The official times were 38.02 for Stoltman and 32.08 for Singleton. 


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[Related: Terry Hollands Out of 2021 World’s Strongest Man, Retires From WSM]

Trey Mitchell and Johnny Hansson were the final heat for Group Two. Hansson had the momentum as he won the final event on day two — the train push. Mitchell flew through both dumbbells and did not give Hansson an inch. He had two fast and clean reps on the circus and axles barbells. Despite Hansson’s smooth run-up, he was unable to clean the axle barbell in two attempts and earned a time of 29.20 seconds for three reps. Mitchell was the first athlete to score a sub-30-second time — four reps 29.77 seconds.

Group Three

2020 WSM bronze medalist JF Caron and Mikhail Shivlyakov were in the first heat for group three. Shivlyakov quickly racked his heavy dumbbells, and Caron kept pace and surged during the circus dumbbell. Both men completed the heat quickly and seemingly without any mistakes. The official times were four reps in 33.72 for Caron and four reps in 38.18 for Shivlyakov.

Oberst and Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted were up in heat two. Oberst had the home-field advantage with the favor of the crowd. Both men were synced through the first dumbbell. It looked the same for the second dumbbell, but Oberst did not cleanly lock it out and had to spend valuable time lifting it again. Ingolfsson Melsted stayed steady until the end to score four reps in 39.77 seconds. Oberst made a good recovery on the barbells and completed all four reps in a time of 52.25 seconds.

Group Four

With only three athletes left in Group Four, each athlete ran the medley solo. Adam Bishop was up first. His first heavy dumbbell was slow and controlled to a clean lockout. His second heavy dumbbell was identical. Finally, he pressed the circus dumbbell and then immediately called off the run. He was not injured, and his official time was three reps in 27.74 seconds.

Konstantine Janashia took the stage next and took a labored approach following a clean rep of the first dumbbell. He recovered after a failed first attempt on the second heavy dumbbell and then made the circus dumbbell look light. Next, it looked like he was going to attempt the axle press but decided not to. His official time was three reps in 48.42 seconds. 

Pritchett was the final athlete left in the group — “fighting through the pain to get through to the Finals,” said the announcer. Pritchett had a large red band around his left hip. He made three attempts on the first heavy dumbbell but could not lock it out. 

Group Five

Ervin Toots kicked things off solo for Group Five. A hint of struggle with racking the first dumbbell was met with a clean lockout and a clean rep on the second dumbbell. A failed first rep on the circus dumbbell got the crowd behind him, and he was able to clean the second attempt. However, he was unable to press it overhead and locked in a time of two reps in 21.88 seconds.

A clash of Americans in heat two — Bobby Thompson versus Kevin Faires. Faires jumped out to an early lead on the second dumbbell and held it all the way through an immaculate run. His official time was 29.23 seconds.

Thompson missed his second heavy dumbbell lockout and had to bring it back to the rack position. He recovered and made it to the barbells, where he looked at ease. He completed all four reps in a time of 43.43 seconds.

The final heat of the overhead medley saw Luke Stoltman head-to-head with the 2020 WSM Oleksii Novikov. As the world record holder in the heavy dumbbell for reps, Novikov blazed through the first two reps. After that, both men sped through all four reps and scored the two fastest times of the event — Novikov was victorious with a score of 24.83 seconds, and Stoltman was second with a score of 25.63 seconds.

What’s Up Next?

Today (June 17, 2021) is the last day of qualification. When this article was written, all groups have two events remaining — the Pickaxe Hold and the Stone Off. The winner of each group and the winner of each group’s respective Stone Off will earn entry to the Finals set to take place over the weekend.

There will be a break on Friday, June 18, and then the 10-man Finals will occur from June 19-20. 

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