Martins Licis Wins the 2021 Rogue Invitational Strongman Contest

The 2019 World's Strongest Man makes his epic return with a contest victory.

The 2021 Rogue Invitational strongman competition is in the history books, and the champion is 2019 World’s Strongest Man Martins (WSM) Licis. Licis defeated 2021 WSM champion Tom Stoltman, who finished in second place, and the 2020 WSM winner, Oleksii Novikov, finished third overall.

The 2021 Rogue Invitational was Licis’ first contest back since the 2020 Arnold Strongman Classic due to recovering from numerous injuries. His return to the sport resulted in the best possible finish. The final standings were as follows:

2021 Rogue Invitational — Strongman Results

  1. Martins Licis 45 points
  2. Tom Stoltman 42 point
  3. Oleksii Novikov 34 points
  4. Mateusz Kieliszkowski 29.5 points
  5. JF Caron 28 points
  6. Rob Kearney 26 points
  7. Brian Shaw 23 points
  8. Luke Stoltman 22 points
  9. Mikhail Shivlyakov 13.5 points 
  10. Jerry Pritchett 12 points

Licis earned the largest prize purse in the history of the sport — $133,351. Tom Stoltman claimed $66,601 for his silver finish, and Novikov went home with $39,991. All 10 athletes received part of the overall $1,436,638 prize pool for the CrossFit Invitational and strongman contest. Pritchett’s last-place finish was still strong enough for $4,014.


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2021 Rogue Invitational Strongman Contest

There were a total of five events spread over two days for the strongman contest.

Elephant Bar Deadlift

The Elephant Bar Deadlift event was for max weight. The order of deadlifts went based on the weights that the men chose. So one competitor could finish all three lifts before another starts. In the end, JF Caron of Canada won with a lift of 420 kilograms (926 pounds). Second and third place was claimed by two WSM champions. Tom Stoltman finished in second, with Licis landing in the bronze position. Shaw came in fourth but suffered a hamstring injury on his second attempt, which forced him to skip making a third.

  1. JF Caron — 420 kilograms (926 pounds)
  2. Tom Stoltman — 413 kilograms (911 pounds)
  3. Martins Licis — 410 kilograms (906 pounds)
  4. Brian Shaw — 400 kilograms (881 pounds)
  5. Rob Kearney — 397.5 kilograms (876 pounds)
  6. Oleksii Novikov — 390 kilograms (861 pounds)
  7. Jerry Pritchett — 388 kilograms (856 pounds)
  8. Luke Stoltman — 383.5 kilograms (846 pounds)
  9. Mateusz Kieliszkowski — no successful lift (T-ninth)
  10. Mikhail Shivlyakov — no successful lift (T-ninth)

Cyr Dumbbell Ladder

Athletes went head-to-head, intending to lift the five dumbbells overhead in the fastest time possible. The five dumbbells weighed 253, 274, 280, 290, and 300 pounds. For reference, the world record stands at 150 kilograms (330.7 pounds), held by Kieliszkowski.

The time cap for the event was two and a half minutes. Novikov only needed 65 seconds to complete all five weights and was the only strongman to finish within the time limit. Novikov focused a lot of his training on heavy dumbbells, even lifting more than the world record. No one else could complete the fourth dumbbell. Licis came in second, and Kieliszkowski rounded out the top three.

  1. Oleksii Novikov — five dumbbells in one minute, five seconds
  2. Martins Licis — three dumbbells in 37 seconds
  3. Mateusz Kieliszkowski — three dumbbells in one minute
  4. Brian Shaw — two dumbbells in 21 seconds
  5. Tom Stoltman — two dumbbells in 28 seconds
  6. Rob Kearney — two dumbbells in 29 seconds
  7. Luke Stoltman — one dumbbell in eight seconds
  8. Mikhail Shivlyakov — one dumbbell in seven seconds
  9. JF Caron — one dumbbell in nine seconds
  10. Jerry Pritchett — no successful lift

Wheel of Pain

This event was made famous at the Arnold Strongman Classic. Inspired by the wheel that Arnold Schwarzenegger had to push in the movie “Conan the Barbarian,” the implement weighs 20,000 pounds, and the competitors had to turn the wheel as far as possible within one minute. The longest distance wins.

Tom Stoltman had never competed in this event before, yet he was strong enough to push the wheel over 89 feet to win the event. Licis came in second, and Kieliszkowski took third.

  1. Tom Stoltman — 89 feet, three inches
  2. Martins Licis — 85 feet, six inches
  3. Mateusz Kieliszkowski — 83 feet, six inches
  4. Oleksii Novikov — 76 feet, 3 inches
  5. Luke Stoltman — 73 feet, nine inches
  6. Rob Kearney — 63 feet, three inches
  7. Mikhail Shivlyakov — 55 feet, nine inches
  8. Brian Shaw — 54 feet, nine inches
  9. Jerry Pritchett — 50 feet, nine inches
  10. JF Caron — 29 feet, six inches

Timber Yoke Carry and Overhead Log Press Medley

The fourth event was the Timber Yoke and Log Medley. The 455-kilogram (1,000 -pound) yoke had to be carried 50 feet. Then athletes pressed a 163-kilogram (360-pound) log overhead for three reps, all within a two and a half minute time limit. The men had to start behind a starting line, so they had to get into position to pick up the yoke after the starting horn. The fastest time determined the winner.

  1. Mateusz Kieliszkowski — 0:41.74
  2. Martins Licis — 0:44.70
  3. Tom Stoltman — 0:52.06
  4. JF Caron — 0:56.03
  5. Oleksii Novikov — 1:05.51
  6. Brian Shaw — 1:37.83
  7. Luke Stoltman — two reps on the log in 37 seconds
  8. Rob Kearney — one rep on the log in 27 seconds
  9. Mikhail Shivlyakov — yoke carry in 50 seconds
  10. Jerry Pritchett — no distance credited

Athletes who couldn’t complete the course were scored based on how far they went. Licis was in the overall lead over Tom Stoltman going into this event. The final event is the Atlas Stones, which is a specialty of the 2021 WSM. Kieliszkowski flew through the event, taking the win in less than 42 seconds. Licis finished in second place by almost eight seconds over Tom Stoltman, which allowed Licis to maintain the overall lead heading into the weekend’s final event.


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Inver Stone Over Hitching Post

The final event of the competition, as is usually the case, involves Stones. Unlike the Atlas Stones, the Inver Stones are more oddly shaped, not perfect spheres. Each man was tasked with lifting the five stones over a 50-inch high log. The stones weigh 275, 300, 365, 400, and 420 pounds.

With a two-minute time cap per single-man heat, the athlete who lifts the most stones in the fastest time wins. No tacky was allowed for this event. Tom Stoltman is known as the “King of the Stones,” but Licis is also skilled in the event and specifically practiced his one-motions in training. All he needed to do was place second or higher, and he would be the champion.

  1. Martins Licis — five stones in 24.45 seconds
  2. Tom Stoltman — five stones in 30.08 seconds
  3. JF Caron — five stones in 43.51 seconds
  4. Oleksii Novikov — four stones in 1:04.5 seconds
  5. Rob Kearney — four stones in 33.4 seconds
  6. Luke Stoltman — three stones in 17.6 seconds
  7. Jerry Pritchett — two stones in 13.3 seconds
  8. Mikhail Shivlyakov — two stones in 12.1 seconds
  9. Mateusz Kieliszkowski — one stone in 9.4 seconds
  10. Brian Shaw — no lifts

Shaw ceremoniously touched the first stone but didn’t attempt a lift due to the hamstring injury he suffered in the Elephant Bar Deadlift event. He received a standing ovation and chant of his name by the fans in attendance following his address. Kieliszkowski nursed a lat injury, so he successfully lifted the first stone and walked away.

Tom Stoltman flew through the event, lifting all five stones in 30.08 seconds. Licis had to beat Caron’s time of 43.51 seconds to win the contest. “The Dragon” sailed through the course in less than 25 seconds to take his first event win on the weekend as well as the overall title.

Rogue Invitational Continues

The action in Round Rock isn’t over yet. The Rogue Invitational CrossFit competition wraps up on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021. The reigning 2021 CrossFit Games champion Justin Medeiros and two-time Fittest Woman on Earth® Annie Thorisdottir lead the field heading into the final day with three events to go. The 2021 Rogue Invitational is live-streamed on the Rogue Fitness YouTube channel.

Feature image: @martinslicis on Instagram