After months of anticipation, fans of strongman were able to exhale after the conclusion of the 2021 World’s Strongest Man, won by Tom Stoltman of Scotland. Fortunately, the wait for the next contest wasn’t very long.
The 2021 Strongman Classic took place on July 24, 2021, at the legendary Royal Albert Hall in London, England. The event was promoted by Giants Live and featured eleven athletes, seven of which had just competed at the WSM in Sacramento, CA, just over one month prior. Here are the final standings.
- Oleksii Novikov — 44.5 points
- Evan Singleton — 43 points
- Cheick “Iron Biby” Sanou — 37.5 points
- Adam Bishop — 33 points
- Tom Stoltman — 30 points
- Luke Stoltman — 27.5 points
- Laurence Shahlaei — 25 points
- Gavin Bilton — 22.5 points
- Pa O’Dwyer — 21.5 points
- Aivars Smaukstelis — 21 points
- Mark Felix — 9 points
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First Place — Oleksii Novikov
At the 2021 WSM contest, Novikov became just the third defending champion not to qualify for the Finals since the group stage was implemented in 1994. (Gary Taylor in 1994 and Magnús Ver Magnússon in 1997 were the other two champs.) It was an immense upset, and while some may have floundered in disarray from the shocking loss, the Ukrainian let it fuel him en route to victory over a stacked field of competitors, including the 2021 WSM champion.
Novikov’s victory is thanks to placing in the top three in four of the five events. He won the Frame Carry by hauling the implement down the course in a staggering 8.74 seconds. His worst event was the Hercules Hold, where he managed a seventh-place finish with a time of 52.47 seconds. His overall consistency throughout the contest — which he demonstrated at the 2020 WSM to snag the top spot — resulted in him winning the overall contest by a point and a half.
Second Place — Evan Singleton
The rising American star placed no lower than sixth in any event, and he managed two runner-up finishes —his Hercules Hold time of 1:14 was good enough for second place. He also finished second in the Atlas Stones by placing all five stones on the podiums in 20.22 seconds, about three seconds slower than “King of the Stones” Tom Stoltman.
Third Place — Cheick “Iron Biby” Sanou
The Burkinese strongman started his day off in the best way possible by winning the Axle Press and setting the new world record with a lift of 217 kilograms (478.4 pounds), which beat Eddie Hall’s record by a single kilogram. He followed that up by also winning the Hercules Hold with a time of 1:15.
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However, he suffered a biceps injury at some point during the competition and wasn’t able to maintain his lead. He actually bowed out of the Atlas Stones completely. Nonetheless, he was still able to make the podium thanks to his fast start.
The 2021 Strongman Classic Cliff Notes
- The top three athletes in this contest — Novikov, Singleton, and Iron Biby — are all now qualified for the 2022 World’s Strongest Man.
- Tom Stoltman finished in fifth place overall, with his only win coming in the Atlas Stones. He managed to complete all five stones in a time of 16.97 seconds. This makes the third straight year that the World’s Strongest Man winner failed to win his next contest. Martins Licis won the WSM in 2019 but came in third in the Giants Live Wembley event that was won by Mateusz Kieliszkowski. Novikov won the 2020 WSM title but came in third at the Shaw Classic to champion Brian Shaw one month later.
- Many fans were looking forward to the return of Laurence Shahlaei at this contest. The former Europe’s Strongest Man came in seventh place overall. He managed two fifth-place finishes in the Hercules Hold (55.15 seconds) and the Axle Deadlift (four reps).
Featured Image: @giantslivewsm on Instagram /photo by Zoie Carter-Ingham