Laurence Shahlaei and Sigfus Fossdal Both Tear Achilles, Withdraw From World’s Strongest Man

Three men sustained injuries on the first day of the competition, with two withdrawing as a result.

Two Achilles torn, two athletes dropped out. Both Laurence Shahlaei (Great Britain) and Sigfus Fossdal (Iceland) have dropped out of the 2019 World’s Strongest Man event due to injuries sustained on the first day of competition.

Day 1’s events comprised of a Monster Truck Pull and a Farmer’s Walk & Yoke Walk Medley of a 168kg farmer’s walk for 15 meters, 450kg yoke for 6 meters, and 595kg yoke for 2.5 meters. That’s a lot of strain on the calves and Achilles.

This was Fossdal’s first time competing in the competition and while he hasn’t yet made a public statement, Starting Strongman’s Calle Beck reported that he ended the competition with 1 point and withdrew after tearing his right Achilles tendon.

[See our full recap of Day 1 of the World’s Strongest Man.]

The 36-year-old Shahlaei, meanwhile, has been active on Instagram and YouTube, going so far as to call this the end of his WSM career. Here’s his Instagram post.

Unfortunately my WSM career has ended in one of the worst ways I could’ve imagined – a ruptured Achilles’ tendon during the 600kg yoke.

To say I’m pretty devastated right now would be an understatement. Right now I need time to process everything and concentrate on getting this fixed. Thank you all for your unwavering support. It’s especially appreciated at times like this.

He also uploaded a YouTube vlog of his day that makes an abrupt transition at the 9.02 mark from an optimistic Shahlaei waiting for a storm to die down before his event to a shot of him lying in bed with his foot in a boot.

He starts by explaining why he didn’t do as well as he hoped in the truck pull: in short, he didn’t bring his own harness and found the harness given to him restricted his breathing and blood flow too much, resulting in him collapsing toward the end. He needed an hour of medical treatment (an IV drip and oxygen) once he was out of the harness.

He was told it wasn’t a great idea for him to compete in Event 2 but he went ahead and described what happened at the 11-minute mark.

The first two I flew with. Farmer’s were really quick, yoke was really quick. Picked up the 600-kilo yoke and I just popped my Achilles. And I’ve never felt anything like it, to be honest. I’ve torn a lot of muscles before but it was just like, it instantly stopped working, I couldn’t put any pressure on it at all, just sent me down to the floor.

Clearly, obviously not how I wanted to go out. I’m not making any excuses because I was in good shape, training had gone well, and I’m not taking anything from the guys in my group I’ve always said how good they are. It’s nothing to do with that, I’m just disappointed that my body has not let me perform at the level I can and finish the competition. (…)

It’s showing you the reality of the World’s Strongest Man. It’s not all fun. I’ve had a very long career I’ve had a lot of good time and a lot of low times. Now I’m feeling like I just want to eat some ice cream and feel sorry for myself.

[Read more: How to watch the 2019 World’s Strongest Man.]

He notes that he probably would have trained differently for the yoke if he’d known the weights ahead of time (he was only told last week) but he takes responsibility for the injury.

Three men were injured on Day 1: Shahlaei, Fossdal, and last year’s champion Thor Bjornsson, who tore his plantar fascia but plans to continue competing. We wish the best of luck to the athletes in their recovery.

Featured image via @biglozwsm on Instagram.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. At BarBend his writing more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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