The second event of the 2022 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) was the Deadlift Ladder. A series of fresh barbells loaded with what appeared to be never-before-used weight plates littered the lawn in front of the Capitol Mall in Sacramento, CA, on a crisp sunny day in the mid-60s. It was a short-lived reprieve as the 30 strongmen competing in the Qualifying Stage ultimately battled in temperatures clawing toward triple digits.
Tom Stoltman, Mitchell Hooper, Oleksii Novikov, Martins Licis, and Luke Stoltman were the victors across their respective groups. Each athlete was tasked to deadlift five barbells of ascending weight: 300 kilograms (660 pounds), 320 kilograms (705 pounds), 340 kilograms (750 pounds), 360 kilograms (795 pounds), and 380 kilograms (840 pounds).
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Here are the full results and a breakdown of performances:
- Tom Stoltman — Five reps in 51.46 seconds
- Kevin Faires — Four reps in 45.89 seconds
- Aivars Šmaukstelis — Four reps in 55.91 seconds
- Andy Black — Four reps in 1:02
- Gabriel Rhéaume — Four reps in 1:09.50
- Manuel Angulo — Three reps in 38.62 seconds
Angulo competed in the Deadlift Ladder despite tending to a leg injury following the Loading Race. He was in the first heat against Rhéaume, who ranked fifth in the group after the first event.
Rhéaume moved swiftly through the first two deadlifts before slowing his pace on a successful third lift. He endured a decent grind through the fourth deadlift but kicked it out. After failing his first attempt on the final barbell, he called waved it off to an official time of 79.50 seconds.
Angulo plodded through the first three lifts but could not secure the fourth. He finished in 38.62 seconds.
Šmaukstelis and Black took the lifting stage for heat two. It was 94 degrees with nowhere to hide from the sun.
Black was first to the barbell, but Šmaukstelis was first to lock it out. The Latvian danced across the hot platform to lock out deadlift number four before having to hop onto the grass — the lifting platform was too hot for socks. He scored an official time of four lifts in 55.91 seconds.
Black sauntered his way through four deadlifts but didn’t have enough time to attempt the fifth. His time was 1:02 for four reps.
Faires and Tom Stoltman were last to the sun-soaked platform, after the crew mopped it down in an attempt to cool it off. Stoltman opted to lift in socks despite the sabotage witnessed against Šmaukstelis beforehand.
Stoltman took a lead through the first two lifts, locking them out without too much concern. Lift three went up the same way. Lift four looked smoother than the last for Stoltman and with a slight hitch in lift five, he secured all five barbells before slipping on his crocs.
Faires looked strong in the event through four lifts but couldn’t lock out the final barbell after his initial attempt. He finished with a time of four barbells in 45.89 seconds. Stoltman won the event with a time of 51.46 seconds.
- Mitchell Hooper — Five reps in 31.21 seconds
- Bobby Thompson — Five reps in 42.56 seconds
- Gabriel Peña — Five reps in 52.53 seconds
- Mark Felix — Four reps in 28.64 seconds
- Brian Shaw — Four reps in 32.36 seconds
- Konstantine Janashia — Three reps in 19.05 seconds
Felix and Thompson opened the floor for Group 2 after another mop down of the stage. Both men needed a good chunk of points from this event and came out fast.
Felix was first to the fourth barbell and locked it out with little resistance. He was unable to score the fifth despite two attempts. He finished in 28.64 seconds.
Thompson managed to close the door on the fifth rep in 42.56 seconds, scorching all previous times.
Janashia and Peña stepped up for heat two in a clash of deadlift specialists. Both men moved fast through three barbells with Janashia in a small lead.
Janashia waved off the event after failing his attempt on the fourth barbell. His official time was three reps in 19.05 seconds. Peña went the distance in 52.53 seconds and revved up the crowd.
After Hooper’s miracle run in the Loading Race, the crowd was eager to see if he could recreate the magic in the Deadlift Ladder next to the four-time WSM champion Brian Shaw, who slowly chalked each of his barbells.
In a crazy display of speed, Hooper shuttled this event in a time 31.21 seconds. All five reps were smooth and he even controlled the eccentric of his final lift.
Shaw was slower and steady through the event but couldn’t budge the last barbell. His official time was four reps in 32.36 seconds.
- Oleksii Novikov — Five reps in 35.64 seconds
- Adam Bishop — Five reps in 37.44 seconds
- Trey Mitchell — Five reps in 59 seconds
- Rob Kearney — Four reps in 41.28 seconds
- Mika Törrö — Two reps in 26.65 seconds
- Grzegorz Szymanski — Two reps in 26.91 seconds
Szymanski and Kearney squared up in heat one. Both men were caught mistakes in the Loading Race that cost them time and therefore points. They knew they needed good showings in the deadlift.
Kearney made his way clean through two reps while Szymanski dropped his first barbell before getting the down signal — another costly mistake. He would only secure two reps in 26.91 seconds.
Kearney was slow to the fifth barbell and didn’t have enough in the tank to move it off the floor. His official time was four reps in 41.28 seconds.
Mitchell and Törrö stepped up for heat two. Mitchell is arguably one of the best deadlifters in the competition so Törrö had his work cut out for him.
Ultimately, it was the heat that undid Törrö as it did Šmaukstelis. Törrö only locked out two barbells in 26.55 seconds.
Mitchell set himself for each lift and established a barpath that you’d miss if you blinked. Despite five clean lifts, his transitions were not all that swift and he closed with a time of 59 seconds.
Novikov and Bishop met in the final heat. Both men are historically strong in speed deadlift events and the crowd knew they were in for a show.
Like pistons, Novikov shot up with a barbell in hand, followed by Bishop. The duo danced like this straight through all five barbells and claimed the top spots of the leaderboard. Official times were 37.44 seconds for Bishop and 35.64 seconds.
- Martins Licis — Five reps in 43.51 seconds
- Gavin Bilton — Five reps in 52.28 seconds
- Shane Flowers — Four reps in 36.39 seconds
- Maxime Boudreault — Three reps in 21.12 seconds
- Pavlo Kordiyaka — Three reps in 38.50 seconds
- Nedžmin Ambešković — Three reps in 45.45 seconds
Like Angulo, Flowers appeared to have sustained an injury following the Loading Race as he was audibly heard swearing and visibly limping after his heat. However, Flowers ventured onto the deadlift platform, limp and all, to pull for the live crowd against Ambešković.
Flowers’ first two deadlifts were sharp, but his limp worsened between barbells. The agony was enough after four successful reps that he couldn’t attempt a fifth and needed medical attention on the side of the platform. He scored four reps in 36.39 seconds.
Ambešković lagged for most of the heat and couldn’t build any momentum. His time was 45.45 seconds for three reps.
Kordiyaka and Bilton faced off in heat two. Bilton cleared the first three barbells swiftly while Kordiyaka lost time strapping in. Kordiyaka had to hop off the platform due to it’s heat before the fourth barbell and left with a time of 38.50 seconds.
Bilton roared triumphantly after locking out his fifth barbell in 52.28 seconds.
Boudreault and Licis were last to the stage after their tight showdown in the Loading Race. Boudreault was out to an early lead after a slight mislift by Licis in his second rep.
Licis overtook the heat when Boudreault couldn’t lift his fourth rep cleanly. Licis closed all five barbells in 43.51 seconds. Boudreault scored three reps in 21.12 seconds.
Evan Singleton withdrew from the competition following the Loading Race after what appeared to be over-exertion on the final implement. He needed help leaving the field of play and was ultimately unable to recover well enough to continue.
That meant Ujarak had to run heat one alone, and the crowd was ready to support him. He cleared the first barbell but appeared in Rosh rush. His second lift was almost successful, but he lowered it before getting the signal and had to do it again.
That didn’t deter Ujarak, who made it to the fifth barbell but could not get it past the knees. Four reps in 56.48 seconds rang out as the official score.
Coraboeuf and Melsted entered the second heat together for Group 5. The Frenchman cleared the first three barbells as Melsted stumbled on his second lift.
Coraboeuf spent everything he had on his fourth lift and got the clean lockout. While strapping into his fifth barbell, the whistle blew. Coraboeuf scored a time of 53.87 seconds. Melsted cleared three barbells in 40.88 seconds.
The last heat of Day One of competition was between Luke Stoltman and De Ruiter. Stoltman cleared two barbells before De Ruiter got up his first.
Stoltman continued to March forward without issue getting through four reps. After an attempt on the final barbell, Stoltman decided to conserve himself and locked in a time of four reps in 42.87 seconds to win the event.
De Ruiter couldn’t catch up to Stoltman and landed three reps 56.44 seconds.
Day One In the Books
Day two features the Car Walk at 8:00 a.m. PST and the Log Lift at 12:30 p.m. PST. Day three features the Wrecking Ball Hold at 8:00 a.m. PST followed by the Stone-Off at 1:30 p.m. PST, where the second and third-ranked strongmen in each group will battle head-to-head for a spot in the 2022 WSM Final. The 2022 WSM Final is scheduled for May 28-29, 2022.
Featured Image: Joe Martinez / World’s Strongest Man