The 2022 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) contest is underway at Capitol Mall in Sacramento, CA, with event one of the Qualifying Stage coming to a close. The Loading Race was the first event where all 30 athletes spread across five groups were tasked with loading five implements ranging from 100 to 164 kilograms across a 50-foot course in the fastest time possible.
Tom Stoltman, Mitchell Hooper, Oleksii Novikov, Martins Licis, and Luke Stoltman earned max points for winning their respective groups. The implements included two 265-pound sandbags, a 265-pound keg, a 275-pound anvil, and a wrecking ball. The height of the platform was 1.25 meters (4.1 feet). Check out the full results below:
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[Related: 2022 World’s Strongest Man Results and Leaderboard]
Loading Race Results
Below are the results of each Group and each athlete’s corresponding time.
- Tom Stoltman — Five implements, 38.39 seconds
- Kevin Faires — Five implements, 43.36 seconds
- Aivars Šmaukstelis — Five implements, 44.37 seconds
- Andy Black —Five implements, 50.81 seconds
- Gabriel Rhéaume — Five implements, 53.39 seconds
- Manuel Angulo — Four implements, 1:10.64
Rhéaume and Black were the first men to step onto the competition stage. Black learned of his entry to the contest one night prior, replacing Pa O’Dwyer.
Rhéaume had a hiccup on the wrecking ball early but recovered to take the lead over Black for most of the event. Black’s size made up the difference to overtake Rhéaume while loading the final sandbag. Rhéaume scored a time of 53.39 seconds, and Black came in at 50.81 seconds.
Faires and Angulo paired in the second heat. Angulo was outfitted in elbow sleeves and wrist wraps, while Faires went bare-armed aside from chalk.
Faires blitzed the first two implements, clearly comfortable on his feet, lapping Angulo by multiple implements. Faires closed out the event in a time of 43.36 seconds.
By the time Angulo loaded his fourth implement, he was limping — something apparently wrong with his right leg, which was heavily wrapped. Medical came to confer with him in the field of play after he failed to load all five implements within the time cap.
The reigning WSM champion, Tom Stoltman, and Šmaukstelis were last up for Group 1. The two bantered about starting positions, visibly in good spirits to kick off day one.
Stoltman appeared to one motion the wrecking ball all the way to the platform and took the lead from Šmaukstelis by the first sandbag. Stoltman’s blistering pace and cheeky smile to the crowd while loading the final sandbag were strong enough for a first-place time of 38.39 seconds.
Šmaukstelis didn’t lag too far behind with a time of 44.37 seconds — strong enough for third place behind Faires.
- Mitchell Hooper — Five implements, 38.31 seconds
- Brian Shaw — Five implements, 45 seconds
- Gabriel Peña — Five implements, 45.88 seconds
- Konstantine Janashia — Five implements, 49.47 seconds
- Bobby Thompson — Five implements, 49.70 seconds
- Mark Felix — Five implements, 54.96 seconds
Felix and Hooper took the floor first for Group 2. Hooper noticeably forewent a lifting belt and seemed quite comfortable in his WSM debut event.
Hooper looked like a sprinter in this run. Clearly, he came to Sacramento to put on a show, and he could very well do significant damage in this group. A stellar performance with an official time of 38.31 seconds.
Keep your eyes on Hooper in the Qualifying Stage — he’s flipping the table on the predictions that scored him low. Felix remained slow and steady through his run, loading all five implements in 54.96 seconds.
Peña and Thompson were in heat 2. Both men seemed grounded while waiting for the starting whistle. Peña was faster to load the wrecking ball and advanced that lead with every following implement. Thompson hustled to catch up but fell just short by the end. Official times were 49.70 seconds for Thompson and 45.88 seconds.
Janashia and Shaw were paired in the final heat for Group 2 as the temperature outside continued to increase. During their intros, both men zoned in as a “set the tone” was yelled from the crowd.
Shaw took the lead off a faster transition on the anvil. Janashia and Shaw’s size was advantageous in moving the heavy implements, but slower feet kept them from the top time. Official scores came in as 49.47 seconds for Janashia and 45 seconds for Shaw.
- Oleksii Novikov — Five implements, 37.25 seconds
- Adam Bishop — Five implements, 45.85 seconds
- Mika Törrö — Five implements, 47.84 seconds
- Trey Mitchell — Five implements, 48.76 seconds
- Rob Kearney — Five implements, 54.62 seconds
- Grzegorz Szymanski — Four implements, 29.89 seconds
Szymanski and Törrö opened in heat one for Group 3 as temperatures pressed into the 80s half-past 9:00 a.m. Törrö ran without a lifting belt.
Szymanski gathered gasps from the crowd with his impressive speed out of the gate. His run crashed when he fell while running with the final implement. He attempted to recover but fell again at the platform and could not finish. He locked in a time of four implements in 29.89 seconds. Törrö closed out a steady run with a time of 47.84 seconds.
Kearney and Bishop drew the straws for heat two, and both men appeared hyped up. Bishop was the first man to wear gloves.
An opening disaster for Kearney as his wrecking ball was not secured on the platform and fell off. He had to reload it before moving on. It left the door open for Bishop’s flawless run in a time of 45.85 seconds. Kearney recovered well to finish in 54.62 seconds.
Mitchell decided to run raw against Novikov in the final heat for Group 3. Novikov dashed through the first two implements as Mitchell stayed steady.
Novikov completed his run before Mitchell reached his final implement, thanks to Novikov’s technique of throwing implements onto the platform while turning around.
Novikov scored the fastest time of the day at 37.25 seconds. Mitchell earned a time of 48.76 seconds.
- Martins Licis — Five implements, 37.73 seconds
- Maxime Boudreault — Five implements, 40.68 seconds
- Pavlo Kordiyaka — Five implements, 43.70 seconds
- Gavin Bilton — Five implements, 45.76 seconds
- Shane Flowers — Five implements, 48.70 seconds
- Nedžmin Ambešković — One implement, 10.2 seconds
Kordiyaka and Flowers emerged first for Group 4, both in their WSM debuts. Flowers wore a belt and elbow sleeves, and Kordiyaka ran the heat raw.
An unfortunate drop of the anvil by Kordiyaka at the platform let Flowers take the early lead. However, Flowers dropped the last sandbag at the platform, appearing to injure his left leg. He scored a time of 48.70 seconds. Kordiyaka recovered very well from his early slip-up and closed with a time of 43.70 seconds.
Ambešković and Bilton lined up in heat two. Ambešković kept his head down, focused on the task at hand. Bilton struggled on the wrecking ball early but recovered and never looked back. His otherwise smooth run culminated in a time of 45.76 seconds.
Ambešković could not find a reasonable grip on the anvil, dropping it halfway down the course. He attempted to pick it up multiple times but to no avail. He threw in the towel when he knew he wouldn’t post a decent time. His official score was one implement in 10.2 seconds.
The final heat pitted Boudreault against Licis in Licis’ first WSM appearance since winning the title in 2019. Both men wore belts, and Licis’ arms were chalked to the nines. Licis had some nerves being back at WSM but embraced them.
They’re a good thing.
Both men blitzed the first two implements with Licis slightly ahead. Licis maintained that lead until the end, and both men had flawless runs. Official times were 40.68 seconds for Boudreault and 37.73 seconds for Licis.
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- Luke Stoltman — Five implements, 37.95 seconds
- Kelvin De Ruiter — Five implements, 39.18 seconds
- Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted — Five implements, 49.69 seconds
- Jean-Stephen Coraboeuf — Five implements, 52.70 seconds
- Evan Singleton — Five implements, 1:08
- Kim Ujarak — Four implements, 34.49 seconds
Temperatures reached into the upper 80s by the time Ujarak and Coraboeuf took the floor. Both men collided with the platform for the wrecking balls but cleanly loaded them.
Ujarak set the pace high but struggled immensely with the final sandbag. Coraboeuf stayed clean the whole run to close with a time of 52.70 seconds. Ujarak never got the final implement onto the platform and hit an official time of 34.49 seconds.
Melsted and De Ruiter were paired for heat two — another battle between one lifter running beltless (De Ruiter) and the other wearing a belt (Melsted).
De Ruiter dashed up and down the course, throwing implements up into his grip. Despite the height advantage for De Ruiter, Melsted kept pace until the final implement, where Melsted slowed down. De Ruiter blazed through the event in a time of 39.18 seconds. Melsted loaded all five objects in 49.69 seconds.
The final run of the Loading Race was between Singleton and Luke Stoltman. Singleton appeared ready to get aggressive, and Stoltman looked cool and collected in his element.
Stoltman was impeccably smooth through the first three implements, while Singleton had to make up for a hiccup on the wrecking ball. Singleton had a lot of difficulty with the final implement but managed to secure it to the table with words of encouragement from Stoltman.
Singleton finished in a time of 1:08 and needed help leaving the field of play, presumably dizzy from over-exerting himself on the last implement. Stoltman closed with an event-winning time of 37.95 seconds.
On To The Deadlift Ladder
The next event of the Qualifying Stage, the Deadlift Ladder, is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. PST and is the final event of day one. 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.
Featured Image: Joe Martinez / World’s Strongest Man