Heavy lies the crown, even upon the strongest head in the world. On Sunday, April 23, Canadian strongman Mitchell Hooper donned that crown when he won the 2023 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) competition. The 27-year-old’s hard-fought victory capped off an exhilarating weekend of strength in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with the entire contest taking place from April 19-23. Tom Stoltman and Oleksii Novikov closed out the podium with second and third-place finishes, respectively.
Hooper’s win confirmed what many fans had spent the better part of the last year speculating about; that he’s the next big thing in strongman. To ascend from being a last-minute replacement pick in 2022 (where he finished a commendable eighth) and then clinching the overall title on his second appearance is nothing short of extraordinary.
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Amazingly, the 2022 World’s Strongest Man wasn’t just Hooper’s first WSM appearance, but his first International competition of his pro career. He wowed strongman fans by winning the Group stage and breaking into the top ten.
After his international debut, Hooper went on a blitz: He stood on the podium at the 2022 Giants Live Strongman Classic, World Open, and and the Shaw Classic. He then went on to win the 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic UK, The Giants Live World Tour Finals, placed third at the 2022 Rogue Strongman Invitational, and, most notably, won the 2023 Arnold Strongman Classic in Ohio.
2023 World’s Strongest Man Finals Leaderboard
The final leaderboard for the 2023 WSM is as follows:
- Mitchell Hooper (Canada)
- Tom Stoltman (United Kingdom)
- Oleksii Novikov (Ukraine)
- Trey Mitchell (United States)
- Evan Singleton (United States)
- Pavlo Kordiyaka (Ukraine)
- Brian Shaw (United States)
- Luke Stoltman (United Kingdom)
- Matthew Ragg (New Zealand)
- *Jaco Schoonwinkel (South Africa) | *Withdrew on contest’s last day
Mitchell Hooper 2023 World’s Strongest Man | All Event Results
By the second day of the 2023 WSM, it had become clear that Hooper was in his element. His performance on each subsequent event confirmed that he could hang with — and advance past — veterans of the sport and previous WSM winners alike. Here’s how Hooper performed on each individual event at the 2023 WSM:
- Loading Race: 5 objects in 0:42.05, 6pts | 1st place
- Deadlift Machine: 8 reps, 6pts | 1st place
- Log Ladder: 5 reps in 0:39.51, 6pts | 1st place
- Conan’s Wheel: 636 degrees, 6pts | 1st place
- Kettlebell Toss: 6 reps in 0:17.18, 6pts | 2nd place
- Reign Total Body Fuel Shield Carry: 64.80 meters, 10pts | 1st place
- KNAACK Deadlift: 8 reps, 10pts | 1st place
- Fingal’s Fingers: 5 reps in 0:49:89s, 5pts | 6th place
- Max Dumbbell: 4 reps, 9.5pts | t-1st place with Evan Singleton
- Bus Pull: 0:30:24s, 10pts | 1st place
- Atlas Stones: 5 reps in 0:036.96, 9pts | 2nd place
Hooper faced his biggest struggle during day three of the 2023 WSM when he placed sixth in Fingal’s Fingers. The Fingers, a fan-favorite event, challenged each of the nine finalists to lift and topple five massive wooden pillars as quickly as possible.
Two-time World’s Strongest Man Stoltman (2021, 2022) and 2022 Rogue Invitational winner Novikov crushed the competition, taking first and second place, respectively, leaving Trey Mitchell, Pavlo Kordiyaka, Evan Singleton, between them and Hooper.
A New Hope
In a May 2022 interview, Mitchell Hooper told BarBend — with an air of prophetic confidence — that fans had only seen his worst. Barely a year after his pro debut, he stood atop the most prestigious podium in the sport of strongman, alongside competitors with many decades more cumulative experience between them.
Hooper’s win in Myrtle Beach is a landmark for Canadian strongman. He’s the first Canadian to win any WSM and the fifth ever to podium after Tom Magee, Dominic Filiou, JF Caron, and Maxime Boudreault. It also heralds a new era for the sport. Hooper’s performances signal that you don’t need twenty years of training under your lifting belt to be a winning strongman athlete; you just need the correct mix of raw talent, a dauntless work ethic, and a good day on the field.
Featured Image Courtesy of World’s Strongest Man