As with almost every other major sporting event scheduled for the next couple months of this year, the 2020 World’s Strongest Man contest has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally scheduled for May 20-24, the top contest in the sport of strongman will now take place November 11-15, 2020.
The news was met with overall positive reaction by both competitors and fans but this could be a great change for the event’s defending champion. 2019 World’s Strongest Man Martins Licis was starting to prepare for his title defense but had been hindered with a variety of injuries which he spoke about in our interview with him before the 2020 Arnold Strongman Classic.
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Licis finished in third place at that contest and was getting geared up to compete in both the World Ultimate Strongman event in Bahrain as well as the 2020 WSM before the major coronavirus developments occurred. While he didn’t express much confidence back then, he spoke with BarBend on April 9th and is feeling more optimistic now about his situation.
“While I hate that this pandemic is the cause of everything and I wish we didn’t have to face this situation, the new dates of the event is good news for me. This gives me more time to recover from my various injuries including my hamstring, my tricep, and my neck. My original plan was to compete in those contests and then take a long break. Now, I’m going to invert my plan. I’ll take advantage of this time to recover and heal from my injuries and hopefully be healthy when I start preparing for the contest.”
Licis doesn’t have his “Training Hall” gym to train in at the moment due to the closures of most gyms in the country but he does have access to some weights and a rack. So he has been training lighter and focusing on tempo in the meantime. He’s also recruited the help of Squat University, specifically Dr. Aaron Horschig, to aid in his efforts in physical therapy to being in the best position possible to defend his title.
“Dr. Aaron is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. I’ve only been working with him for a week and a half and I already see great improvement in how I feel. Physically I’m feeling better every day and my confidence in being successful is much higher now.”
Licis has also found way to both pass the time and connect with his fans which he feels is important both mentally and for business. He and his business partner, Romark, have been speaking with their fans and playing video games on Twitch, the video game social network.
“We have been doing Q&A’s and connecting with fans while playing games over there. It’s been a great way to stay in touch with them and maintain that connection that I’m grateful to have. If anyone wants to join us, we are ‘Mightytins’ and ‘Daddyromark’. Playing on Twitch helps me keep my mind on other things and not dwelling on the injuries which also helps.”
When Licis does defend his title this November, he will be facing numerous challengers including past champions Hafthor Bjornsson and Brian Shaw. Bjornsson won the 2020 Arnold Strongman Classic this past March and is currently preparing for an attempt to break Eddie Hall’s deadlift record of 500 kg (1,102 pounds) on May 2nd. Meanwhile, Shaw hasn’t competed since January’s Arnold Strongman USA contest and had been focused on the WSM event before the postponement. Now he’ll also benefit because he has more time to prepare as he pursues his 5th title.
Featured Image: Instagram/martinslicis