Twelve days before the world’s premier strength competition is set to occur in Sacramento, CA, from June 15-20, World’s Strongest Man announced the five qualifier groups for its 2021 event. Each group contains five athletes, all of who will compete in the qualifying stage of WSM. After three days of competition, 10 athletes in total will make it to the Finals to compete for the ultimate title in strength sports over the course of two days.
You can find all five athlete groupings below, courtesy of World Strongest Man’s Instagram page.
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2021 WSM Qualifier Groups
On June 14, 2021, Graham Hicks of the UK had to withdraw from the competition due to a groin injury. Ervin Toots of Estonia has replaced Hicks and then swapped group spots with Gavin Bilton.
- Gavin Bilton (Originally, Graham Hicks)
- Maxime Boudreault
- Travis Ortmayer
- Brian Shaw
- Aivars Smaukstelis
In total, 19 of the 25 men listed above competed in the 2020 competition. Shaw — who is now a promoter as well as an athlete — Caron, both Stoltmans, and, of course, Novikov are all unsurprising returns. Last year (2020), it was Novikov, Tom Stoltman, and Caron, in that order, who made up the top three.
Of course, Strongman is an unpredictable sport where any competitor has a shot on their best day. And there are plenty of contenders. Up-and-comer Bobby Thompson recently set a new American Log Press Record. Gavin Bilton just logged his second UK’s Strongest Man win in a row, and even though he’s 55 years young, Mark Felix just reminded the strongman world he’s still got it with a 515-kilogram partial deadlift.
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This year’s contest is also a day longer than the 2020 event and features 14 events (though not every athlete will participate in all 14 events). Those events are:
Qualifying Round — Day One
Qualifying Round — Day Two
Qualifying Round — Day Three
- Overhead Medley
- Pickaxe Hold
- Stone Off
Final — Day One
- Giant’s Medley
- Titan’s Turntable
- REIGN Keg Toss
Final — Day Two
- Log Lift
- KNAACK Deadlift
- Atlas Stones
On to the 2021 WSM
In February of 2021, World’s Strongest Man’s announced a multi-year deal with the Visit Sacramento Sports Commission (VSSC). As a result of the deal, the WSM will occur in Sacramento, CA, in 2021 and 2022 and a yet-to-be-announced third year. The 2019 and 2020 WSM events took place in Bradenton, FL, and haven’t been hosted in California since 2014. No in-person spectators will be allowed at the 2021 WSM due to COVID-19.
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The entire WSM contest will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network and CBS Television Network at a later date, following the event’s completion. In 2020, WSM was broadcast to 70 different countries and territories and accrued close to 500 million household views.
Featured image: @theworldsstrongestman on Instagram