2023 Arnold Strongman Classic Day Two Recap — Mitchell Hooper Ascends

Mitchell Hooper's consistency propelled him to his first Arnold Strongman Classic title.

Going into the second day of competition at the 2023 Arnold Strongman Classic (ASC), Trey Mitchell had a 2.5-point lead on the overall leaderboard ahead of Mitchell Hooper, who had Mateusz Kieliszkowski on his heels. There were three events left to go on Day Two, including a brand new event never seen before — the Steintossen Stone Throw.

2023 Arnold Strongman Classic Results

  1. Mitchell Hooper — 41.5 points
  2. Mateusz Kieliszkowski — 37.5 points
  3. Bobby Thompson — 29.5 points
  4. Trey Mitchell — 29 points
  5. Tom Evans — 25.5 points
  6. Pavlo Nakonechnyy — 24.5 points
  7. Tom Stoltman — 24.5 points
  8. Rob Kearney — 21 points
  9. Luke Stoltman — 20 points
  10. Kevin Faires — 20 points

Day Two opened with the Elephant Bar Deadlift and closed with the Timber Carry. Check out the recaps of each event below:

Event Three — Elephant Bar Deadlift

The world record entering the event was held by Hafthor Björnsson at 1,046 pounds. No strongman in the field staked a claim at an attempt at that record prior to the contest. Here are the results:

  1. Bobby Thompson — 986 pounds
  2. Mitchell Hooper — 981 pounds
  3. Rob Kearney — 961 pounds
  4. Trey Mitchell — 941 pounds
  5. Kevin Faires — 901 pounds
  6. Thomas Evans — 856 pounds
  7. Luke Stoltman — 851 pounds
  8. Mateusz Kieliszkowski — 811 pounds
  9. Tom Stoltman — 801 pounds
  10. Pavlo Nakonechnyy — no rep

Kieliszkowski was the first to the platform and opened with 776 pounds. Faires opened the gate to 800-plus pound pulls. Faires, Tom Stoltman, and Luke Stoltman all scored 801 pounds for opening attempts. Evans went to 806 pounds for a first attempt that was effectively a warm-up.

At 811 pounds, Kieliszkowski was back on the platform. While Kieliszkowski holds the world record in the Timber Carry in Event Four, the weakness in his game is the deadlift. However, he made easy work on his second attempt.

Tom Stoltman opted for 841 pounds on his second attempt, which led the commentary team to presume Stoltman wasn’t feeling his best as he has lifted much heavier in the past. The start of his second attempt initially looked good, but Stoltman let go of the barbell quickly and bowed out, unable to make a third attempt. Kieliszkowski circled in from there to finish his third attempt at 846 pounds but quickly recognized it was not to be.

Luke Stoltman scored a successful 851-pound lift on his second attempt. Five more pounds were added to the barbell for Faires’ second successful attempt. Evans requested to match that weight at took to the stage and did.

Kearney made his first attempt at 881 pounds, showcasing his intentional hitch — a legal maneuver in strongman. Mitchell matched Kearney’s opening attempt, though without the hitch. Luke Stoltman bowed out after 886 pounds was too much for him.

Faires used his third attempt to eclipse the 900-pound threshold. At 901 pounds on the bar and a hitch, once the bar was over his knees, Faires was successful and pumped up. Evans was unable to match Faires and finished in seventh place.

Hooper took the stage, opening at 906 pounds successfully. Kearney made his second attempt at 926 pounds and converted, matching his previous competition PR on the Elephant Barbell. Nakonechnyy finally took the floor and opened at 931 pounds. However, something tweaked in his right leg, and he failed the attempt.

Thompson opened at 936 pounds and made it look easy. Nakonechnyy had to attempt that same weight as the rules did not allow for the weight to lower, but 936 pounds gave his hamstring the same trouble as his opener. Nakonechnyy did not make a third attempt and scored zero points in the event.

Mitchell was back to the stage for attempt two at 941 pounds. A huge hitch midday through looked like it wouldn’t hold, but it did, and he scored. Hooper added five pounds to Mitchell’s weight and nailed it. Kearney looked shakey at 961 but refused to drop and locked it out.

Thompson locked out 966 pounds on his second attempt and seemed uninterested in anything other than first-place points. Mitchell was slated for a 976-pound attempt but didn’t make it. Hooper closed with a 981-pound attempt and got the crowd on their feet as he locked it out.

Event Four: Steinstossen Stone Throw

This event made its debut this year at the 2023 Arnold Strongman Classic, and the question was what kind of technique would the athletes employ.

The strongmen saw some variations from the strongwomen who tossed right before them, but surely they had a plan from practicing the event in training. Here are the results:

  1. Mateusz Kieliszkowski — 11 feet, 4.5 inches
  2. Thomas Evans — 10 feet, seven inches
  3. Mitchell Hooper — 10 feet, five inches
  4. Pavlo Nakonechnyy — 10 feet, four inches
  5. Bobby Thompson — Nine feet, 11.5 inches
  6. Tom Stoltman — Nine feet, 8.5 inches
  7. Luke Stoltman — Nine feet, two inches
  8. Trey Mitchell — Eight feet, eight inches
  9. Rob Kearney — Eight feet, one inch
  10. Kevin Faires — Six feet, nine inches

Faires opened the event with a shotput technique that didn’t pan out with much power. Luke Stoltman took an attempt by resting the stone on his head in the leadup to give himself some room to use his triceps.

Nakonechnyym tending to a knee tweaking he suffered in the Elephant Bar Deadlift, didn’t employ much technique but utilized a triceps extension to great effect. He and Tom Stoltman leveraged their height advantage to score high opening launches.

Evans seemed to be the first athlete to execute off momentum gathered from a running start. He scored 10 feet, four inches on his first pass.

Kearney couldn’t make up the height difference from the taller athletes but still posted decent tosses across the board. Kieliszkowski was satisfied with his first attempt at 10 feet, seven inches.

Thompson also had to make up a height differential but had the cleanest-looking throw of the first round, though it wasn’t enough to surpass Kieliszkowski’s. Hooper gave himself a visual marker for where to plant his foot before releasing the stone — an overall tactically smart strategy — converting three inches past nine feet.

Kieliszkowski was the leader for the majority of the event and the only athlete to score past the 11-foot threshold. It was his second event win of the competition — he won the Wheel of Pain on Day One.

Event Five: Timber Carry

Traditionally, a stone event concludes the contest. Still, the Timber Carry has become well associated with the Arnold Classic, and it turned out to be a very challenging way to determine a champion.

  1. Mateusz Kieliszkowski — 8.35 seconds
  2. Kevin Faires — 13.31 seconds
  3. Mitchell Hooper — 14.61 seconds
  4. Tom Stoltman — 5.97 meters
  5. Pavlo Nakonechnyy — 5.33 meters
  6. Luke Stoltman — 4.98 meters
  7. Bobby Thompson — 4.55 meters
  8. Thomas Evans — 4.14 meters
  9. Rob Kearney — 1.56 meters
  10. Trey Mitchell — no lift

Faires was the first strongman to take the floor and although he was disappointed with a drop towards the top of the ramp, he finished the heat in a time of 13.31 seconds to set the time to beat.

Luke and Tom Stoltman went in that order after Faires and neither was able to complete the course. Nakonechnyy was fourth to the floor and tending to a knee injury sustained in the deadlift. Though off to a great start, his right knee gave out towards the bottom of the ramp.

Kearney was unable to complete the course, leaving Faires atop the event leaderboard with the back half of the roster left to compete. Evans capped his ASC with a studdering halfway up the course but in his post-event interview, he recognized something important about where he is in relation to the elite athletes in the sport:

I think I belong.

Thompson sought to keep the momentum from his Elephant Bar Deadlift win going. A clean lift at the start of the heat, but the midline wasn’t stable enough to finish the distance.

Kieliszkowski was close to besting his world record in the event but the official time came in a second and a half behind his seven-second blitz from 2020. Mitchell went next and could not budge the frame.

Hooper knew it was his contest to win. All he needed was to stay within five ranks of Kieliszkowski’s top time. Chants from the crowd helped him convert as the third man to finish the event and take home the 2023 Arnold Strongman Classic title.

Featured image: @roguefitness on Instagram