In typical World’s Strongest Man fashion, the last five spots of the Finals came down to the Stone Off. The top man in each group went straight through but the second and third-place finishers went head-to-head, lifting an Atlas Stone over a bar back and forth until one man could no longer lift it. The final stone weighed 465 pounds.
Here were the five match-ups (winners marked in bold):
- Group One — Maxime Boudreault vs. Aivars Smaukstelis
- Group Two — Tom Stoltman vs. Mark Felix
- Group Three — Robert Oberst vs. Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted
- Group Four — Adam Bishop vs. Jerry Pritchett
- Group Five — Kevin Faires vs. Luke Stoltman
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[Related: Everything You Need to Know to Hoist an Atlas Stone]
Maxime Boudreault vs. Aivars Smaukstelis
The first battle of the event was between the Latvian, Smaukstelis, and the Canadian, Boudreault. Both men looked strong through the first five stones. Both men then lifted the sixth stone twice before Smaukstelis was unable to lift it a third time. As a result of going second in the turn cycle, Boudreault won the matchup and advanced to the Finals.
Tom Stoltman vs. Mark Felix
What a story Mark Felix was in this year’s event. He entered the competition at 55 years of age and managed to earn third place in his group, beating out Evan Singleton and Johnny Hansson to compete against Tom Stoltman in the Stone Off.
Stoltman was the favorite coming into the event as he had not lost an Atlas Stone event since 2019 and is the current world record holder in the event (630 pounds). Both men lifted the first five stones, but Felix was unable to lift the sixth stone. Felix’s run came to an end, and Stoltman advanced to the Finals.
Robert Oberst vs. Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted
Oberst was third in the group and tasked with lifting first. Both men took a more methodical approach than the previous two matchups. The tension was palpable. The stones continued to fly over the bar through to the sixth stone. Unfortunately, Oberst could not lift the final stone, and Ingolfsson Melsted advanced to his first WSM Final.
Adam Bishop vs. Jerry Pritchett
Pritchett came in as the underdog in this event as he was nursing a hip injury through half of day two and all of day three of the competition. Additionally, he was the first to lift in the event, and it was clear the first stone was difficult for him. However, the second stone went over smooth for Pritchett, and Bishop lifted it back at him. The whistle blew before Pritchett could lift the third stone, and Bishop cashed in a check to the WSM Finals.
Kevin Faires vs. Luke Stoltman
This matchup may surprise some, as Group Five was the closest of the whole contest. 2020 WSM champion Oleksii Novikov ended up in fourth place and was eliminated after tying with Kevin Faires on points. However, Faires advanced to the Stone Off due to having a better tiebreaker time in the Pickaxe Hold event. In 2020, Faires finished seventh overall. In 2019, Stoltman finished seventh overall. So this was a fairly even matchup.
Faires was first to lift. Both athletes scored clean lifts to the sixth stone, and neither showed signs of weakness. Faires scaled the sixth stone over the bar, and Stoltman returned. Faires sent it back a second time, and Stoltman sent it back again, but with some difficulty. Faires got the stone up to the bar on his third attempt but not quite enough to clear the bar. He tried to save it but to no avail. Stoltman advanced to the Finals.
All of the athletes who were first to lift were eliminated in the Stone Off.
[Related: Terry Hollands Out of 2021 World’s Strongest Man, Retires From WSM]
2021 World’s Strongest Man Finals
The 2021 WSM Finals will take place on June 19-20, 2021. The 10 finalists are as follows:
- Brian Shaw
- Trey Mitchell
- JF Caron
- Konstantine Janashia
- Bobby Thompson
- Maxime Boudreault
- Tom Stoltman
- Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted
- Adam Bishop
- Luke Stoltman
All 10 athletes will get a rest on Friday, June 18, 2021, before taking on the Finals from June 19-20. Here are the events still to come.
Final — Day One (June 19, 2021)
- Giant’s Medley
- Titan’s Turntable
- REIGN Keg Toss
Final — Day Two (June 20, 2021)
- Log Lift
- KNAACK Deadlift
- Atlas Stones
Featured Image courtesy of World’s Strongest Man