2023 World’s Strongest Man Groups Announced

The athletes in these groups will compete against each other for a spot in the finals.

On Apr. 18, 2023, the organizers of the World’s Strongest Man (WSM) announced the groups for the opening events of this year’s competition. All 30 men were divided into five groups of six athletes, and each will compete in qualifying events to try to be one of the top two in their respective groups.

As usual, the top two strongmen in each group will advance to the finals, and they will go head-to-head with hopes of leaving Myrtle Beach, SC, as the 2023 World’s Strongest Man. Here are the five groups for this year.


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Group 1

The first group includes the two-time defending World’s Strongest Man, Tom Stoltman, and he faces stiff competition to advance to the final. Among those men are Pa O’Dwyer and 2023 Europe’s Strongest Man winner Pavlo Kordiyaka, who has serious momentum heading into Myrtle Beach. Here’s the full list:

  • Konstantine Janashia
  • Pavlo Kordiyaka
  • Pa O’Dwyer
  • Tom Stoltman
  • Bobby Thompson
  • Eddie Williams

Group 2

Oleksii Novikov, the 2020 WSM winner and 2022 Rogue Strongman Invitational champion, headlines Group 2. He’s joined by the older Stoltman brother, Luke, in the opening round. The X-factor in this group may be Cheick “Iron Biby” Sanou, who is making his WSM debut. You’ll find the full roster below:

  • Iron Biby
  • Gavin Bilton
  • Fadi El Masri
  • Thomas Evans
  • Oleksii Novikov
  • Luke Stoltman

Group 3

There’s no past WSM winner in this group, but the 2023 Arnold Strongman Classic champion Mitchell Hooper is certainly someone to keep an eye on. Hooper hopes to become Canada’s first WSM titleholder, and he’s joined by Mateusz Kieliszkowski, who missed the 2022 contest due to injury, as the early favorites in this group. But Graham Hicks, Mathew Ragg, Spenser Remick, and Aivars Smaukstelis are here for good reason, and they’re ready to prove they belong.

  • Graham Hicks
  • Mitchell Hooper
  • Mateusz Kieliszkowski
  • Mathew Ragg
  • Spenser Remick
  • Aivars Smaukstelis


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Group 4

Four-time WSM champion Brian Shaw is competing at the WSM for the final time this year, and his drive for number five will call for him to be one of the top two in this heat. Fellow American Kevin Faires hopes to advance past Adam Bishop, Rauno Heinla, Gabriel Rhéaume, and Jaco Schoonwinkel as well. This group has a blend of veterans and rising stars, which should be very competitive.

  • Adam Bishop
  • Kevin Faires
  • Rauno Heinla
  • Gabriel Rhéaume
  • Jaco Schoonwinkel
  • Brian Shaw

Group 5

The final group includes Mark Felix, who is competing in his 18th and final WSM contest, as well as Jean-Stephen Coraboeuf of France, who is making his first appearance. Joining them are Trey Mitchell, Evan Singleton, Paul Smith, and Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted.

  • Jean-Stephen Coraboeuf
  • Mark Felix
  • Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted
  • Trey Mitchell
  • Evan Singleton
  • Paul Smith


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2023 World’s Strongest Man Coverage

BarBend will provide daily coverage of the 2023 World’s Strongest Man, from the opening event to the winner’s announcement. Check back often for updates as they occur in South Carolina.

Featured image: Joe Martinez / World’s Strongest Man