The 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic (ASC) will be part of the 2022 Arnold Sports Festival (ASF) set for March 3-6, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. Due to the cancelation of events in 2020 and 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted the 2021 ASF, there were no qualifier events for the 2022 ASC. Instead, the 2022 ASC is an invitational contest, similar to the 2021 Rogue Invitational. Elite strongmen were offered invites to compete without the need to qualify first.
The official roster of strongmen who received invites and accepted their spot at the 2022 ASC was posted on Dec. 9, 2021:
2022 Arnold Strongman Classic Roster
- Maxime Boudreault (CAN)
- JF Caron (CAN)
- Rob Kearney (USA)
- Mateusz Kieliszkowski (POL)
- Martins Licis (USA)
- Evgeny Markov (RUS)
- Trey Mitchell (USA)
- Oleksii Novikov (UKR)
- Luke Stoltman (GBR)
- Tom Stoltman (GBR)
Bobby Thompson is the alternate should any athletes on the roster withdraw for any reason before the start of the contest. Check out the video below:
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2022 Arnold Strongman Classic Prize Pool
All 10 athletes competing in Columbus, OH, will walk away with some prize money in their pocket. Here is the full prize breakdown:
- First place — $80,000
- Second place — $25,000
- Third place — $20,000
- Fourth place — $15,000
- Fifth place — $13,000
- Sixth place — $8,000
- Seventh place — $7,000
- Eighth place — $6,000
- Ninth place — $5,000
- 10th place — $3,000
The total prize purse for the 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic is $182,000.
Boudreault of Canada had a breakout performance at the 2021 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) contest. He landed on the podium in his debut WSM finals appearance. That would be enough to earn an invite to any elite strongman contest, but Boudreault racked up another win at the inaugural Magnus ver Magnusson Strongman Classic.
Boudreault is exceptional in static strength events like the log lift and deadlift but is no amateur on a yoke. He has a legitimate shot at the podium and could snatch the gold on his best day.
Caron is arguably the strongest deadlifter in the game right now despite being one of the older athletes in the field at 39. His consistency was on display in 2021. He finished second at the World’s Ultimate Strongman (WUS) “Strength Island” in Bahrain, fifth at WUS in Dubai, third at the 2021 Shaw Classic, and fifth at the 2021 WSM and 2021 Rogue Invitational.
At the Rogue Invitational, he won the Elephant Bar deadlift event by pulling 926 pounds with relative ease to the rest of the field. Although he doesn’t have any recent significant wins, a win at the 2022 ASC is a possibility.
Kearney returned to elite competition with some pizzazz after recovering from his ruptured triceps and cancer diagnosis. He returned at the 2021 Rogue Invitational as the most undersized athlete in the field at sub-300 pounds and still managed to rank sixth overall. Kearney made several big moves outside of competition as well. His children’s book is scheduled to release in May 2022.
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Kieliszkowski appeared in two contests since returning from his triceps injury. He finished second to Novikov at the WUS in Dubai and finished fourth at the 2021 Rogue Invitational despite not posting a lift in the deadlift event and functionally taking the Inver Stones event off as well. The Polish Titan’s weakness is the deadlift, but he makes up for it with his blazing speed in medley events and prowess with a heavy dumbbell.
Licis performed in a single contest in 2021 and he made it count. A win at the 2021 Rogue Invitational saw him take home the biggest single-contest cash prize in strongman history. He scored a Thor’s Hammer world record that weekend as well.
Licis has the momentum of his recent win and performed in significantly fewer shows throughout 2021. Therefore he may not be as worn out and, therefore, the favorite heading into Columbus. Betting against “The Dragon” would be a big gamble considering he bested Tom Stoltman in the Inver Stones event in Round Rock, TX.
The six-time Russia’s Strongest Man (RSM) is making his professional strongman debut at the 2022 ASC. He won the 2020 Arnold Amateur Strongman contest, which garners an invite to the ASC. Since the 2021 ASC did not take place, Markov’s invitation carries over to 2022, where he will compete against the best in the world.
A podium finish in one’s professional debut would be an astronomical accomplishment, particularly with how stacked this roster is. It is more likely that Markov will post a respectable finish, gain some valuable experience, and potentially enter the ranks of elite strongmen competing at the world’s top strongman shows.
Mitchell had a rather tremendous 2021 season. He scored a fourth-place finish at the 2021 WSM contest that saw him miss landing on the podium by a few keg tosses. He also earned a gigantic win at the 2021 Shaw Classic, besting that contest’s namesake, who finished as the runner-up.
Mitchell is often overlooked as a contender for the trophy as he is not boisterous when he does well, and his technique is solid across the board without much flashiness. However, he is a monster in the deadlift and a beast with an Atlas Stone. Don’t be shocked if he steps on the podium in Columbus.
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The man of consistency, 2020 WSM champion Novikov had one of the more impressive 2021 seasons. Apart from his blunder at the 2021 WSM contest, where he failed to make the finals to defend his title, he finished in the top three of every contest he entered thereafter.
Novikov scored wins at WUS Strength Island, the Strongman Classic, and WUS Dubai. He nailed runner-up finishes at inaugural ASC UK and bronze finishes at the 2021 Rogue Invitational and the 2021 Giants Live World Open. If the events of the 2022 ASC lean towards Novikov’s strengths in the form of medleys and heavy dumbbells, he is indeed a contender to keep an eye on.
The 2021 Europe’s Strongest Man (ESM) champion will enter the 2022 ASC coming off the best season of his career. In addition to his big win at the 2021 ESM, he also claimed gold at the 2021 Giants Live World Open.
Luke Stoltman narrowly missed the podium at the 2021 WSM contest — his seventh-place rank is deceiving as a more robust performance in the Atlas Stones event might have seen him stand next to his brother on the podium. Luke Stoltman is a force in the log lift and overhead events, so if the event list shakes his way, he could claim an ASC title.
Tom Stoltman is arguably the best in strongman on the planet right now. Although he was bested by Licis by one rank at the 2021 Rogue Invitational, he battled the week before to a Britain’s Strongest Man (BSM) win. Before that, he scored a runner-up finish at the Giants Live World Tour Finals after recovering from COVID-19 and, of course, won the 2021 WSM contest.
Assuming Tom Stoltman flies into Columbus healthy, one of the top two spots on the podium being reserved for him isn’t farfetched. We’ll see if he shows up to show out in March 2022.
Featured image via Big Loz Official YouTube channel.