Brian Shaw Discusses What Went Wrong at World’s Strongest Man

Find out what Brian Shaw REALLY thought about how things went down at the 2019 World's Strongest Man!

For the casual, outside observer outside looking in, the 2019 World’s Strongest Man followed the script as one would predict: There were heated events, a close final, and someone was crowned the 2019 World’s Strongest Man. Congrats again to Martins Licis on winning 2019 World’s Strongest Man!

But from competitor and four-time winner Brian Shaw’s point of view, there’s a lot more to say.

Shaw, who finished in sixth place this year, posted to his YouTube channel a thorough recap of the 2019 World’s Strongest Man. He talks about his own performance, how he felt the competition was run, and his future plans — and judging from the conversation on Reddit, there will likely be a few strongman fans nodding in agreement.

Shaw opened the video with talking about how little he really knew about this year’s competition leading up to the event.

“Leading up to World’s Strongest Man I didn’t have a lot of information about the events, and that very much was true going into the contest. Even when we got there, a lot of things changed. The weights, the events, I didn’t find out until the day before the actual competition,” Shaw said.  “That was not good, but that was the same for everybody and everybody had to deal with that.”

When it came to the main problem at this year’s event, Shaw felt it was a missed opportunity from an organization standpoint.

“Through the contests there were several things from an organization standpoint I was disappointed in,” Shaw said. “Because in my mind World’s Strongest Man should be the pinnacle, the best contest. It should be the measuring stick for all strongmen and strongmen competitions. And that was just not the case.”

Shaw made it to the finals, but said even on the final day, the organization was off.

“Even in the finals walking up to the overhead medley, it was written out the order that we were supposed to go in and that was changed literally as we were walking up to the platform to lift. Which is crazy,” Shaw said. He also added that things like this just “aren’t acceptable in the World’s Strongest Man contest.”

Throughout the video though, Shaw made it clear he wasn’t making excuses for where he fell short in the contest, saying numerous times how these changes in the flow of the event affected everyone involved. He made a special point of saying how he felt like Oleksii Novikov of Ukraine, should have been in the finals.

[Read our interview with Brian Shaw from Day 3 of the finals.]

“Novikov made me work to win our group,” Shaw said referencing Group 5 which included Novikov and himself along with Mark Felix (Great Britain), Trey Mitchell (USA), and Gerhard van Staden (South Africa). “Then he actually got eliminated in the stone over bar Last Man Standing event which, you know, he was I think seven points ahead of third place in our group so it was definitely not good for him to get eliminated. I think he had earned his spot in the finals and if the contest had been run in a normal format I think he would have been in the finals.”

This was not an unpopular sentiment following Day 3 of the World’s Strongest Man. Athletes competed in five pairs, wherein each athlete heaved a 200kg Atlas stone over a bar until one of them quit. Whoever is left standing gets to go on to the final. However, there were big discrepancies: Great Britain’s Adam Bishop, for instance, qualified with just one stone lifted. (Robert Oberst injured his bicep on the second lift.) Meanwhile, Novikov completed a mind blowing fourteen reps when he faced off against Trey Mitchell, but because Mitchell was also able to match him and Novikov couldn’t make the fifteenth, Novikov was cut from the finals.

[Read our complete recap of Day 3 of the World’s Strongest Man!]

So Bishop made it to the finals with one rep, JF Caron made it with four reps, but Novikov didn’t make it with fourteen reps — five more reps than the next best performance of the day. A lot of fans felt the Last Man Standing even didn’t put the best athletes in the finals.

Shaw continues on in the video talking about how he felt physically good throughout the competition, but was most disappointed with his performance in the car deadlift hold. That was one event he felt like he should have won, or at least finished close to the top.

As for what’s next for Shaw? Be sure to tune in to the History Channel on July 10th for the airing of a new nonfiction series, ‘The Strongest Man in History,’ which will feature Shaw and three other strongmen, Eddie Hall, Robert Oberst, and Nick Best.

But, as for what he’ll be doing when he’s not basking in his new TV glory, Shaw said it’s about getting back to the drawing board and getting ready for his next contest.

“Go back to the drawing board, get better, work on weaknesses, and have fun!”

Featured image from ShawStrength YouTube Channel.

Celia Balf

Celia Balf

Celia is a Staff News Writer at BarBend. At the BarBend office, you can find Celia writing news stories covering the largest strength sport competitions in the world, in-depth features with world record-holders, big lifts, and everything in-between. Celia also orchestrates and helps create content for the BarBend social media pages. She is a former Division 1 soccer player turned content producer and sports journalist.

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