On April 13, 2022, World’s Strongest Man announced that Grzegorz Szymanski is the 30th competitor in the 2022 World’s Strongest Man contest, taking place in Sacramento, CA, on May 24-29.
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Szymanski replaces the injured Mateusz Kieliszkowski, who had to withdraw due to a leg injury. This is the third consecutive year that Kieliszkowski had to bow out after finishing in second place in 2018 and 2019.
About Grzegorz Szymanski
Like Kieliszkowski, Szymanski is a Polish strongman. Born in 1983 (according to Strongman Archives), Szymanski will be 39 years old when the 2022 WSM kicks off. This will mark his fourth World’s Strongest Man; Szymanski finished in eighth place in 2016. (Brian Shaw won his fourth WSM title at that contest). Notably, this will also be Szymanski’s first competition since being diagnosed with cancer in 2017.
He was a rising competitor in the European strongman scene in the late-2000s. His first major competition was the 2007 Poland’s Strongest Man, where he placed third to five-time WSM winner Mariusz Pudzianowski. He garnered a lot of attention at the 2008 Europe’s Strongest Man contest, where he came second to Pudzianowski in a field of eight that included favorite Mark Felix.
Szymanski claimed Poland’s Strongest Man title for himself in 2014, and he made his WSM debut that same year. He placed fourth out of six men in group three and was eliminated. He returned to the WSM the following year and competed in group five but could not qualify for the finals. However, he bounced back to win two Strongman Champions League (SCL) contests in Holland and Poland.
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2016 may be Szymanski’s most significant year as an athlete. He made it to the WSM finals and finished in eighth place overall. Then, he went on to win the 2016 Žydrūnas Savickas Classic. In December 2016, he entered the Ultimate Strongman World Championships and placed second to winner Laurence Shahlaei.
In 2017, he competed in the SCL Holland contest and finished as the runner-up to Matjaz Belsak. His final contest was in Lithuania at the Marijampole International event, where he placed ninth out of 10 athletes.
That same year, Szymanski was diagnosed with cancer (according to Shahlaei in the above video) and underwent chemotherapy and surgery. The 2022 WSM contest will be his return to the sport of strongman, and he’s not expected to compete in another competition before traveling to Sacramento.
Featured Image: @theworldstrongestman on Instagram