It is fitting that the 2021 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) contest would feature a train pull event. After all, it took place in the Old Sacramento Waterfront in Sacramento, CA, home to the California State Railroad Museum. However, unlike the museum-goers, the competing strongmen aimed to pull a 50-metric-ton train for 20 meters in the fastest time possible.
There were some difficulties with the train’s brakes which caused the event to change from a train pull to a train push. The bad news: competitors had little to no time to prepare for this drastic change. The good news: losing 30 tons of weight made for a far more competitive race. Johnny Hansson of Sweden and Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted of Iceland both won their respective groups. Check out the complete results below.
Related: 2021 World’s Strongest Man Results and Leaderboard
2021 World’s Strongest Man Train Push Results
After some technical difficulties, athletes were tasked with pushing the head of the train (20 tons) instead of pulling the full 50-ton load (more on that below). Here’s how the nine athletes fared:
- Johnny Hansson — 35.36
- Trey Mitchell — 36.31
- Tom Stoltman — 37.83
- Evan Singleton — 39.73
- Mark Felix — 42.58
Pump The Brakes
Hansson was tasked to pull the train first. He harnessed up in front of the rows of spectators standing adjacent to the train and awaited the signal from Head Judge Magnus ver Magnusson. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to budge the massive locomotive before his time ran out. But there was a mishap in the event’s setup.
The train’s air brakes were engaged during Hansson’s pull. Obviously, pulling a 50-ton train is already difficult without the brakes engaged. Due to this mistake, Hansson was given an additional attempt after receiving a break to recoup.
Evan Singleton was second in the queue for Group Two. Even with the brakes adjustment, Singleton was also unable to budge the train. In the midst of the attempt, Magnusson could be heard yelling at Singleton to drive with his legs. The whistle blew, and the train withstood two attempts to move it.
Once two athletes were unable to move the train, and an inspection of the train transpired, 2021 WSM event coordinator Colin Bryce grabbed a mic and told the crowd to take a “television 30-minute break” — meaning an undetermined amount of time — while they sorted a “sticky brake issue.”
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New Kind of Train-ing
After about an hour and a few tests, the cargo box of the original train was removed, and the head of the train remained. Athletes in Group Two and Group Three were instead tasked with pushing the head of the train — approximately 20 tons — for 20 meters.
Of course, this was a significant decrease in weight, but the technical difficulty was still apparent. Athletes had to navigate the push with a train track between their feet instead of moving in between two tracks, as was the case with the pull.
Trey Mitchell was the first athlete to go, and he scorched it. A clean opening and consistent pace culminated in an official time of 36.31 seconds.
Mark Felix was up next after learning what the new event was just seconds before performing it.
“What am I doing?” Felix asked Magnusson. The head judge told him the uniform rules for the event, and Felix got into position. A meandering start off the blocks due to a narrow grip quickly turned into a decent pace to score Felix a time of 42.58 seconds.
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[Related: Terry Hollands Out of 2021 World’s Strongest Man, Retires From WSM]
The 2020 WSM runner-up Tom Stoltman was third on the track. His 37.83-second run had a slow start due to his high starting position. Once he settled into a low angle to push the train from, it was smooth to the finish.
Singleton was up fourth for his second encounter with the train. This time around, the train did move — and well. His official score was 39.73 seconds.
Hansson returned for his second attempt in the event and was fired up. He launched himself into the train’s handle and pushed to an event-winning time of 35.87 seconds.
Oberst stepped up first in Group Three. His start was strong despite having to adjust the grip of his right hand. His official score was 37.53 seconds.
Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted was next to push and was the first competitor of the day to use wrist wraps. He got low immediately for leverage, and it paid off in a big way. His official time of 37.00 seconds edged out Oberst’s time by just over half a second.
Mikhail Shivlyakov took the most time analyzing the new train push with his coach than any other athlete. Unfortunately, he was the first athlete to fall into the trap that was the track by his feet. His ankle rolled, and he let go of the train. Luckily, he wasn’t injured, but he seemed frustrated with his official time of 44.12 seconds.
2020 WSM bronze medalist JF Caron had the final heat of the day. He used a fairly wide grip from the jump and had a routine run that culminated in a time of 41.19 seconds.
The final day of the qualifying group competition will take place tomorrow — June 17, 2021. It will feature every group participating in the Pickaxe Hold, the Overhead Medley, 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.
Featured Image Courtesy of World’s Strongest Man