The end of 2019 will conclude a decade that has seen an incredible rise in the sport of strongman, and there is a good argument to be made that the best was saved for last. This year saw feats of strength that were memorable not only this year but for several years to come. Here is a look back at some powerful performances from around the globe.
5. Mateusz Kieliszkowski – 2019 World’s Ultimate Strongman
The second running of the World’s Ultimate Strongman was another stepping stone in the rise of Mateusz Kieliszkowski. Many in the sport consider him the man who will dominate the next decade to come.
His weakness is the Deadlift, so that event went to Rauno Heinla ,but the multiple-time Poland’s Strongest Man winner made up ground on the 23 ton, 30 meter Vehicle Pull, the Head to Head Log Press for Reps, and the back-to-back Yoke Run and Shield Carry. What made this one so memorable for Kieliszkowski was on this historic ten stone Atlas Stone event, he completed eight stones with a torn bicep! It was still enough for him to clinch his first world championship.
4. Rob Kearney – Arnold Strongman Australia
Kearney started this contest by winning the 500 kg (1,102 pounds) Yoke and the Log Press Max with a lift of 200 kg (440 pounds). He struggled in the Power Stairs but finished the first day with the lead. He won the 160 kg (352 pounds) Viking Press for Reps with Arnold Schwarzenegger cheering him on. After that, he pulled 470 kg (1,034 pounds) on the Max Frame Deadlift. He concluded the event by completing the Atlas Stones and taking the overall win and 2020 Arnold Strongman Classic qualification.
He followed up that win by getting married and spending the next evening going out on the town with Arnold himself.
3. Mateusz Kieliszkowski – 2019 Arnold Strongman Europe
Prior to his efforts in Dubai, Kieliszkowski already had a great 2019 season and one of the highlights was how he dominated the field at the Arnold Europe back in September. He led this competition wire to wire and the lineup included a few big names including former World’s Strongest Man Brian Shaw.
He won three events including the 180 kg Log Press for Reps, Farmer’s Walk, and the Arm over Arm Pull, which he completed in a hurry with a time of 12.89 seconds.
2. Hafthor Bjornsson – 2019 Arnold Strongman Classic
The fans in Columbus got to see the champion defend his title and be one of a select few to go back-to-back at the Arnold. His dominance started with the Elephant Bar Deadlift where he completed a second attempt of 472 kg (1,042 pounds). He attempted to pull 501 kg (1,105 pounds) but just missed it. He followed that up with another win at the Husafell Stone Carry, finishing with a distance of 218’11”.
Bjornsson finished third behind Martins Licis in the Wheel of Pain, tied for first in the Log Press for Reps (430 pounds) with Licis and Kieliszkowski, and finally performed one rep on the Stone to Shoulder at the main stage to clinch the victory!
1. Martins Licis – 2019 World’s Strongest Man
After Bjornsson’s performance at the Arnold Strongman Classic, many (including a bunch of experts BarBend talked to) expected him to repeat at the World’s Strongest Man as well. But a foot injury for Bjornsson and an incredible performance by Martins Licis led to the 28 year-old shocking the sport and taking the top title.
Licis started the competition finishing third in the Loading Race and followed that up with a second place finish in the Overhead Press Medley. He made his move by completing nine reps on the Squat Lift for Reps. Bjornsson was able to beat Licis on the Deadlift Hold, but Licis still came in second. His second place finish at the Atlas Stones to Tom Stoltman led to him becoming the third straight man to win his first WSM title! His consistency and being the only man to finish in the Top 3 of all five events is what made this such a great performance.
Featured Image: Instagram/martinslicis