2019 and current World’s Strongest Man Martins Licis will not be taking part in this year’s contest, and will instead focus all of his efforts into winning the 2021 Arnold Strongman Classic.
Licis and business partner Romark Weiss confirmed the news directly to BarBend. They had suggested that this would be the case in a recent YouTube video, but they had not made an official statement to confirm. On Instagram, Licis directly confirmed that they would not be participating in Bradenton, Florida this fall.
Licis had faced numerous injuries over the last year and a half, including nerve damage, arm injuries, and issues with his hamstring. Currently he’s training but still recovering from being hit by a car while riding his bike last month. In spite of the earlier injuries, he managed to win the Arnold Santa Monica event this past January. He then went on to place 3rd at the 2020 ASC with champion Hafthor Bjornsson and Mateusz Kieliszkowski both finishing ahead of him on the podium. The 2020 World’s Strongest Man was originally scheduled to take place in May but was delayed until November due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
[Related: Martins Licis demonstrates the bent press.]
With Licis now withdrawn from the competition, the last three WSM Champions will not be in this year’s contest. Licis won in 2019, Bjornsson was the winner in 2018, and Eddie Hall finished atop the podium in 2017. Hall immediately retired after he won his title. That also means that the most recent champion to take part in the contest is now Brian Shaw. He has won the contest four times with his most recent victory being in 2016. He and Kieliszkowski will now go into this contest as the early favorites to win this year. Kieliszkowski had placed second at this contest for the last two years.
As for Licis, he had stated in the past that one of his ultimate career goals was to win what he called the three “major” contests; the WSM, the ASC, and the World’s Ultimate Strongman contests. He made it clear that his attention is now completely set on winning the second of those titles when he enters the contest in Columbus, Ohio next March.
There had been no qualifying contests for the 2021 ASC this year due to the pandemic. BarBend reached out to the Arnold Sports Festival about how athletes would be qualified for that event. As of this writing, no information had been shared.
Featured Image: Instagram/martinslicis