The 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic (ASC) kicked off on March 4, 2022, in Columbus, OH, with 10 of the sport’s top athletes competing for the second most coveted title in the sport. The roster received a last-minute shakeup with two-time World’s Strongest Man (WSM) runner-up Mateusz Kieliszkowski withdrawing due to an undisclosed injury days before the contest. Bobby Thompson got the nod to replace him and joined the nine other strongmen competing in the first two of five events. Here are the current standings at the end of day one:
2022 Arnold Strongman Classic Standings — Day One
- Rob Kearney — 18 points
- Oleksii Novikov — 16 points
- Martins Licis — 15 points
- JF Caron — 12.5 points
- Maxime Boudreault — 9.5 points
- Bobby Thompson — 9.5 points
- Evgeny Markov — Nine points
- Luke Stoltman — Eight points
- Tom Stoltman — Seven points
- Trey Mitchell — 5.5 points
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The first event of the 2022 ASC was the max squat. Athletes established their max squat equipped on a double T bar— they wore lifting suits, lifting belts, wrist wraps, knee wraps, and some of them also wore elbow sleeves. Despite his boxing match against 2017 WSM Eddie Hall on March 19, 2022, in Dubai, UAE, 2018 WSM and three-time ASC champion Hafthor Björnsson was in attendance to watch the action.
- JF Caron — 966 pounds
- Rob Kearney — 961 pounds
- Martins Licis — 956 pounds
- Bobby Thompson — 946 pounds
- Oleksii Novikov — 906 pounds
- Tom Stoltman — 861 pounds (T-sixth)
- Maxime Boudreault — 861 pounds (T-sixth)
- Trey Mitchell — 856 pounds
- Evgeny Markov — 821 pounds
- Luke Stoltman — 816 pounds
Every strongman on eclipsed 800 pounds. Novikov was the first to score past the milestone at 801 pounds. Boudreault, Tom Stoltman, and Luke Stoltman all scored 816 pounds. Markov tacked on five more pounds to hold the lead until Thompson made 831 pounds look easy. Kearney did a little double-dip at the bottom of his successful 856-pound squat and took the lead. Mitchell moved that same weight with impressive speed to go three for three.
The final two athletes trained squats together in preparation for this contest — Licis and Caron — and had not made their first attempts by the time many other strongmen had already made all three. The contest was organized like a weightlifting event — the lightest weight lifts first. Bourdreault captured the lead with a gritty 861-pound squat on his second attempt. Tom Stoltman used his third attempt to hold the lead with Boudreault.
Markov was the first strongman to miss an attempt. He had 866 pounds on the barbell. Rather than repeat that weight and lift again without any rest, Markov decided he would settle for 821 pounds. This opened the door for Novikov’s second attempt. Jerry Pritchett helped Novikov put on his knee wraps, and then the Ukrainian locked out 886 pounds to retake the lead. Boudreault attempted 881 pounds on his final attempt but missed.
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Licis’ first attempt of 901 pounds finally got him to the lifting platform 45 minutes into the event. The barbell moved smoothly through the entire rep, and Licis hopped to the top of the leaderboard. Thompson used his second attempt to match Licis’s lift, and it appeared as though he had plenty left in the tank. Luke Stoltman used his final attempt to move into the 900-pound club but missed his 906-pound attempt.
Novikov’s final attempt of 906 pounds had a hiccup on the accent but capped off a three-for-three performance with a PR. Four-time WSM champion Magnus ver Magnusson asked Novikov how he felt after an excellent performance. Novikov used the opportunity to express his concern for the ongoing war in Ukraine instigated by Vladimir Putin and the Russian military.
Caron made his way to the monolith for his first attempt at a staggering 916 pounds. He moved the weight so fast that many of the live audience likely blinked and missed it. Kearney hopped back in the monolith for his second attempt at 936 pounds and locked it out with a very methodical pace. Licis upped the ante to 941 pounds like it was just any other day at the office after pausing at the bottom.
Thompson used his final attempt on 946 pounds and, despite only knowing he would get to compete in the contest just days beforehand, secured the lift and claimed the lead. It was short-lived as the 39-year-old Caron took 951 pounds for a ride. Licis added five more pounds to establish a max weight of 956 pounds. Kearney knocked Licis into third place overall by successfully locking out 961 pounds. Kearney’s remarkable three-for-three performance was enough for a silver finish in this event as Caron scored the top single of 966 pounds for first place points and exuded confidence afterward:
No chance I lose this ever.
The day’s second event was Monster Dumbbell for reps after a half-hour break.
Monster Dumbbell Press For Reps
Athletes were allotted 90-seconds to score as many reps as possible with a 275-pound dumbbell. Competitors were allowed to switch arms and went in ranking order — last place to lift first.
- Oleksii Novikov — Seven reps
- Rob Kearney — Four reps
- Luke Stoltman — Three reps
- Evgeny Markov — Three reps
- Martins Licis — Three reps
- Maxime Boudreault — One rep
- Trey Mitchell — Zero reps
- Tom Stoltman — Zero reps
- Bobby Thompson — Zero reps
- JF Caron — Zero reps
Luke Stoltman took to the floor and managed to secure three reps. He missed his fourth and fifth attempts. Markov of Russia was second and sped through his first rep after receiving the signal from Odd Haugen. He matched Luke Stoltman’s effort by the 40-second mark but missed his fourth attempt. He went for a fifth and sixth attempt but could not complete either.
Mitchell was third to lift and lost his balance on his first rep twice before dropping it on his third attempt. He spent a lot of energy in his first thirty seconds but could not lock it out. He switched arms but was still unable to establish control at the top of the lift. After another failed attempt, he bowed out with no reps. The reigning WSM champion Tom Stoltman took the floor in fourth position. As was the case with Mitchell, Stoltman lost control of the dumbbell at the top of the lift twice before dropping it. He could not hit it on his third attempt, and at the one-minute mark, he bowed out of the event.
Boudreault moved swiftly through his first clean and locked out a robust first rep. His second rep failed as he did not get sufficient leg drive. His third attempt was the same as his second, and he called it with one rep scored. The arguably strongest dumbbell presser in the field, Novikov, was up sixth and only wrapped his right wrist. He made the first two reps look easy. His third, fourth, fifth, and sixth reps went up with slight hitches, but all were successful. His seventh rep at the one-minute mark missed, but he scored it before his time was up.
Thank you very much — support me and Ukraine.
Thompson took the stage, chalked both heads of the dumbbell, and wrapped his left wrist. He racked his first rep for approximately 15 seconds but couldn’t find his balance to press it overhead. His second attempt wasn’t any better. He was clearly having issues with the size of the dumbbell and ran out the clock before scoring a rep.
Licis, who has trained the heavy dumbbell with Novikov, quickly locked out his first rep. His second rep was also successful but did not appear as steady. His third attempt appeared even shakier than his second, but he earned the good-rep call from Haugen. He couldn’t get a fourth and settled for a tie with Luke Stoltman and Evgeny.
Kearney continued his excellent performance with two explosive reps in his first 30 seconds. He scored his third rep at 46 seconds. He managed a huge fourth rep and took advantage of his position going second to last — he knew four reps was the mark to hit, and he executed that plan.
On his first attempt, Caron tweaked his right shoulder and dropped the dumbbell. After a second clean, it was clear something was off, and caron bowed out of the event with no reps. Caron explained that he tore his rotator cuff at the 2021 Rogue Invitational and had not fully recovered. That could play a massive role in the log lift for reps event on day two.
Featured image: @novikov_strong_wsm on Instagram