On the evening of May 23, 2022, the World’s Strongest Man announced on Instagram that Irishman Pa O’Dwyer is officially out of the contest, and alternate Andy Black of the United Kingdom is now in as his replacement.
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It’s not clear why O’Dwyer withdrew from WSM the night before the Group Qualifying stage was set to take place.
As of this writing, O’Dwyer hasn’t given a statement as to why he is out of the competition in Sacramento, CA. Black only shared the image above in his Instagram Stories with the quote “time to go to work.” He will join the remaining members of Group One.
That group includes defending champion Tom Stoltman, Manuel Angulo, Kavin Faires, Gabriel Rheaume, and Aivars Smaukstelis. That group, as well as the rest of the 30-man lineup, will compete May 24-29, 2022 for the title in the Golden State. The updated list is below.
2022 WSM Roster
- Pavlo Kordiyaka (Ukraine)
- Rob Kearney (USA)
- Gabriel Peña (Mexico)
- Kelvin de Ruiter (Netherlands)
- Kim Ujarak (Greenland)
- Maxime Boudreault (Canada)
- Mark Felix (UK)
- Andy Black (UK)
- Shane Flowers (UK)
- Jean-Stephen Coraboeuf (Australia)
- Bobby Thompson (USA)
- Aivars Smaukstelis (Latvia)
- Adam Bishop (UK)
- Evan Singleton (USA)
- Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted (Iceland)
- Konstantine Janashia (Georgia)
- Trey Mitchell (USA)
- Mika Törrö (Finland)
- Luke Stoltman (UK)
- Brian Shaw (USA)
- Tom Stoltman (UK) — Reigning WSM Champion
- Gabriel Rheaume (Canada)
- Martins Licis (USA)
- Gavin Bilton (UK)
- Oleksii Novikov (Ukraine)
- Kevin Faires (USA)
- Nedžmin Ambešković (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
- Grzegorz Szymanski
- Mitchell Hooper (Canada)
- Manuel Angulo (Chile)
O’Dwyer is the latest in a string of athletes that have withdrawn leading up to the contest. On May 5, 2022, Peiman Maheripourhir stepped aside due to visa issues. Angulo, who will now be in the same group as Black, took his place.
On April 23, 2022, Rauno Heinla bowed out of the lineup, and Mitchell Hooper of Canada was named as his replacement the same day. Hooper will also be making his WSM debut in Sacramento.
The most notable athlete to withdraw may be Mateusz Kieliszkowski. Some fans expected the two-time runner-up to win it all this year, but he was forced out due to his leg injury not healing on time. The man to step in for him is fellow Polish strongman Grzegorz Szymanski.
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Other athletes that declined to compete in this competition for various reasons include Cheick “Iron Biby” Sanou, J.F. Caron, Graham Hicks, and four-time World’s Strongest Man Zydrunas Savickas.
This will be Black’s first World’s Strongest Man appearance. His last contest was the 2022 Britain’s Strongest Man, where he placed sixth out of 11 competitors. Stoltman won that contest to claim his second British title.
Featured Image: @the_andy_black on Instagram