The 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic (ASC) is scheduled for March 4-5, 2022, and the energy leading up to it is surging. On Feb. 15, 2022, 2016 Europe’s Strongest Man (ESM) Laurence Shahlaei took a break from prepping for his upcoming powerlifting competition to share 20 facts about the ASC competition with his 110,000 YouTube subscribers.
Alongside his partner Liz, Shahlaei shared stats ranging from the inaugural ASC to the upcoming event in Columbus, OH. Check out the full video below, courtesy of his YouTube channel, and then a breakdown of the six stats that affect the 2022 ASC:
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1. Guaranteed New Champion
Of the ten men on the 2022 ASC roster, none are returning champions. Despite there being three World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champions competing in Columbus, OH, whoever stands atop the podium at the conclusion of the contest will do so for the first time. Here is the full roster:
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)
Kieliszkowski has stood on the podium three times, including as the runner-up in 2020 to Hafthor Björnsson. In 2015, Kieliszkowski became the youngest ASC podium finisher ever — bronze medal at age 21. If ever there was a betting favorite for the contest that includes the Timber Carry event — which “The Polish Titan” holds the world record for — it’s Kieliszkowski, who will compete in the ASC for the seventh time in his career in 2022.
2. Get Your Rookie Cards
Although the 2022 ASC roster is loaded with seasoned strongmen, many of which are considered the best in the world, half the roster is competing at the ASC for the first time in 2022. This includes 2021 WSM champion Tom Stoltman, 2021 ESM Luke Stoltman, 2021 Shaw Classic champion Trey Mitchell, and 2021 Magnus ver Magnusson Strongman Classic champion Maxime Bourdreault. Additionally, Evgeny Markov will also make his ASC debut.
Only three strongmen have ever won the 2022 ASC in their debut. Mark Henry won the inaugural contest in 2002, four-time WSM champion Žydrūnas Savickas won in his debut in 2003, and Vytautas Lalas — also of Lithuania — won in 2013.
3. Rockin’ the Cradle
Oleksii Novikov tied Jón Páll Sigmarsson as the youngest strongman to ever win the WSM contest at 24 years of age in 2020. Now 26, Novikov would again be the youngest athlete to ever win the ASC should he stand atop the podium in 2022. The current record for youngest ASC winner is Derek Poundstone. He was 27 years old when he claimed the title in 2009.
4. Dodging Father Time
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the 2022 Força Bruta champion, JF Caron, would be the second oldest ASC champion ever should he rise to the top. Savickas holds eight ASC titles, one of which was his win in 2016 at age 40.
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5. No Deadlift
For the first time in over two decades, the 2022 ASC will not feature a deadlift event. Often a staple of the ASC is the Rogue Elephant Bar deadlift or the Hummer Tire deadlift, or really any kind of deadlift event. However, that’s not the case in 2022, which will instead feature a max squat event rather than a max deadlift.
6. Savickas the G.O.A.T.
Although Savickas is not competing at the 2022 ASC, his presence will be felt. In addition to his record eight ASC titles, he also has the most ASC event wins with 29. That’s a whopping 13 more event wins than four-time WSM champion Brian Shaw, who holds the second most at 16.
Most Arnold Strongman Classic Event Wins
Here are the top event winners at the ASC and how many they’ve won:
- Žydrūnas Savickas — 29
- Brian Shaw — 16
- Hafthor Björnsson — 12
- Mataeusz Kieliszkowski — Seven
- Brian Siders — Five
- Mike Jenkins — Four (T-sixth)
- Derek Poundstone — Four (T-sixth)
Considering that there are no returning champions competing at the 2022 ASC, Savickas’ all-time ASC title and events records will likely remain intact for many, many, many years.
Featured image: @arnoldsports on Instagram