The 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic (ASC) on March 4-5, 2022, in Columbus, OH, saw 10 of the best Strongmen in the world compete across five events. Ultimately, Martins Licis emerged victorious from the field victorious with a total of 41 points — it was his first ASC victory. 2020 World’s Strongest Man Oleksii Novikov stepped into second place. Luke Stoltman and Bobby Thompson tied for third.
Below are the full results:
2022 Arnold Strongman Classic Results
- Martins Licis — 41 points
- Oleskii Novikov — 37.5 points
- Luke Stoltman — 30.5 points (tied for third)
- Bobby Thompson — 30.5 points (tied for third)
- Rob Kearney — 28.5 points
- Maxime Boudreault — 27 points
- Trey Mitchell — 21.5 points
- Tom Stoltman — 21.5 points
- Evgeny Markov — 21 points
- JF Caron (withdrew due to injury) — 14 points
Novikov dominated the Monster Dumbbell Press for Reps event with seven reps, and Luke Stoltman took home the win for the Austrian Oak Log Press event by putting up 470 pounds. Thompson put on an impressive show after stepping in after two-time World’s Strongest Man (WSM) runner-up Mateusz Kieliszkowski withdrew due to an undisclosed injury days before the event.
Licis walked away with the first-place purse of $80,000 — 44 percent of the $182,000 prize pool.
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2022 Arnold Strongman Classic Recap
The 2022 ASC featured five events, and notably, none of them was a deadlift for the first time in over two decades. Here are the 2022 ASC events:
2022 Arnold Strongman Classic Events
- Max Barbell Squat
- 275-Pound Monster Dumbbell Press
- Austrian Oak Log Press for Max
- Timber Frame Carry
- Stone-to-Shoulder for Reps
The event that caught the attention of the Strongman world was the max squat. Often in recent Strongman contests, such as during the qualifying stage of the 2020 World’s Strongest Man, squat events are for max reps of a single weight or establishing a max weight via ascendingly heavier reps within a given time frame. This time around was different — athletes had to establish their max squats similar to a powerlifting competition.
Max Barbell Squat
Entering the event, the only real insight into who would excel in this event was the training leading up to the event that the athletes shared on their social media. 2019 WSM champion Licis traveled to Canada to train squats with 2022 Força Bruta champion JF Caron; Rob Kearney shared a video on his Instagram wherein he locked out a 950-pound squat equipped, but much of the roster is better known for being excellent deadlifters — Mitchell and Caron are two of the strongest on the planet.
As this was the wild-card event of the competition, so to speak, anyone could shock the live crowd with a big win. Ultimately, Caron successfully hit a 966-pound squat to earn first place points. Kearney finished second with a 961-pound lift, and Licis came in third with a 956-pound lift.
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275-Pound Monster Dumbbell Press
When the events for the 2022 ASC were first spoiled, two men jumped out as clear favorites in the monster dumbbell press — Novikov and Kieliszkowski. The latter holds the Cyr dumbbell world record, but the former has lifted above that in training. However, when Kieliszkowski withdrew due to an injury, there was an obvious favorite for this event.
But while it would seem like Novikov would become the clear front-runner for this event, his week leading up to the competition was fraught with a lack of sleep and high stress due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, despite enduring the turmoil of war for the past week, Novikov managed to find his composure and seize a 1st-place finish with seven reps.
The rest of the podium in this event was Kearney, who managed four reps in second place and Luke Stoltman in third, scoring three reps. Evgeny Markov and Licis also managed three reps, tying for the third place finish.
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Austrian Oak Log Press for Max
Thompson replacing Kieliszkowski added some spice to the log press event. Thompson is the American log lift record holder and was expected to give 2021 Europe’s Strongest Man Luke Stoltman — arguably the favorite in this event — a run for his money. Luke Stoltman is the British log lift record holder and notably won the log lift event at the 2021 WSM competition. As one of the best strongmen in the world in overhead events, it was a spot for him to potentially earn a lot of points.
With Arnold Schwarzenegger looking on, Luke Stoltman did not pass up the opportunity in his best event. He easily pressed 470 pounds overhead, and that gave him the win over American Bobby Thompson, who pressed 450 pounds for third place after being unable to complete his 480 pound attempt. Second place belonged to fellow American Trey Mitchell, who put up 460 pounds.
Prior to the biggest lifts of the day, the action was delayed for around a half hour after Canada’s JF Caron suffered an injury and had to withdraw. He had to be taken by an ambulance to a local hospital, where he was admitted for treatment. However, the extent of his injuries are unknown as of this writing.
Meanwhile, Kearney hit 420 pounds to keep his overall first place position heading into the Timber Frame Carry. Kearney ruptured his triceps tendon in Oct. 2020 during remote competition in the World’s Ultimate Strongman (WUS) “Feats of Strength” series. The former American log press record holder said that his 420 pound lift was a PR since his triceps surgery.
Timber Frame Carry
The second event on the second day of competition called for the athletes to carry an 880-pound (400 kg) frame up a 35-foot ramp in the fastest time possible. If the competitor couldn’t finish, his distance was scored.
With the current world record holder, Kieliszkowski, not competing in the event, the default favorite coming in was Licis. The 2021 Rogue Invitational champ put on an impressive performance in this event at the 2020 ASC. In 2020, Kieliszkowksi posted a world record time of seven seconds, while Licis scored a third-place time of 17 seconds — still well ahead of the rest of that field.
History repeated itself as Boudreault scored the fastest time of 8.41 seconds. The functional farmer’s carry up a hill for time was also no match for Licis, who posted a second-place time of 10.03 seconds and took the overall lead in the competition. Novikov rounded out the top three with a distance of 30 feet and 10 inches.
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Stone-to-Shoulder for Reps
While 2021 WSM champion Tom Stoltman — who defended his Britain’s Strongest Man title only a week before competing in the 2022 ASC — is notoriously the best in the world on the Atlas Stones, the Stone-to-Shoulder is markedly different and yet another forte of Kieliszkowski.
Rather than lifting a stone and loading it to a platform or over a beam, athletes lifted the stone to one shoulder before dropping it back to the floor when signaled by the judge. Also, unlike many Atlas Stone events, which are lifting a given number of implements for time, the Stone-to-Shoulder was for reps in a fixed time, so moving fast out of the gate was not necessarily the best strategy.
The ninth competitor to perform in this event, Novikov secured himself second place in the event with a heroic 110-point effort. After successfully bringing the stone to his shoulder to gain his extra 100 points, Novikov celebrated by waving the Ukranian flag over his head.
Ultimately, Licis claimed the final event win with 200 points, even though he only needed 100 to secure the overall win. Novikov came in second with his 110 points, and Thompson rounded out the event podium with 100 points.
Featured Image: @martinslicis / Instagram