Oleksii Novikov and Robert Oberst Withdraw From 2021 Shaw Classic

Gabriel Peña and Gabriel Rhéaume are now in as replacements.

On August 23, 2021, Brian Shaw announced on the Shaw Classic Instagram page that both Robert Oberst and Oleksii Novikov withdrew from the 2021 Shaw Classic due to injuries. Strongman Gabriel Peña will replace Oberst, and Canadian Gabriel Rhéaume will replace Novikov. The Shaw Classic roster remains 16 athletes deep. The contest is set to occur on August 27-28 in Estes Park, CO.

This is the second shift to the Shaw Classic roster. In June of 2021, Shaw announced that Luke Richardson — who suffered a biceps injury at the 2021 WSM — and Tom and Luke Stoltman had to drop out of the contest. Though fans may feel that these five dropouts slightly dampen the show’s star power, there’s still a fantastic lineup of athletes, including four-time WSM winner Žydrūnas Savickas


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According to Shaw, Oberst has sustained an unspecified shoulder injury. At the time this article was written, Oberst has yet to address his withdrawal. As for Novikov, Shaw says that he suffered a concussion at the 2021 Strongman Classic, so the Ukrainian has decided not to compete. Novikov has also yet to release a statement regarding his decision to pull out from the competition.

“We have a couple of very good alternates who are stepping into the competition,” Shaw says in the video above. “But it’s really sad to see Robert Oberst and Oleksii Novikov pull out of this year’s Shaw Classic.”

About Peña and Rhéaume

As for the alternates, Peña and Rhéaume are top replacements. Peña, who resides in Texas, is a 2020 World’s Strongest Man and 2021 World Open participant. Unfortunately, he had to pull out of the 2020 WSM due to an issue with his heart. Since that withdrawal, he’s posted a series of impressive lifts in the gym:


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A post shared by Oleksii Novikov (@novikov_strong_wsm)

Rhéaume seems to have a shorter resume but a lot of potential. He won the 2021 Canada’s Strongest Man contest, a 10-spot improvement from his 2018 performance in the same show. He’s 24 years old and, according to Strongman Archives, has been competing since 2018. 

Watch the Shaw Classic

In total, the 16 athletes will complete eight events over two days for $50,000 of total prize money. The exact money breakdown has yet to be revealed, but, like last year, Brian Shaw has stated that he will not accept any prize money regardless of how he places. (Last year, he won.) The events are:

Fans will be able to view coverage of the 2021 Shaw Classic by becoming a member of the Shaw Elite Club (packages are $8.99 per month or $89.99 per year) via shawstrength.com. General admission tickets to watch the event live cost a total of $250 for access to both days of competition and are available on Ovation Tix via theshawclassic.com.

Featured image: @novikov_strong_WSM/Photo by Zoie Carter-Ingham