In the 44th edition of the World’s Strongest Man competition, an event that took place in Sacramento, California, from June 15 to June 20, 2021. We discovered a new beast that could hold the title of “The World’s Strongest Man“. 

In a surprising turn of events, the defending champion, Oleksii Novikov of Ukraine, failed to progress to the final round after failing to secure top three in his head, and the contest was deservedly won by last year’s runner-up Tom Stoltman from Scotland. Four-time champion Brian Shaw came second, returning to the podium after a 2-year absence, and Canada’s Maxime Boudreault was declared third in the competition. 

The 2021 competition made its mark in the history books in various ways. The iconic contest saw Tom Stoltman become the first Scotsman to win the competition and defending champion Novikov failing to make the finals. There is so much more to talk about, Brian Shaw’s keg toss, the sheer mass of the participants, and especially the ‘Train Pushing Event’. 

Here are some pieces of trivia from the 5-day long competition that you might find interesting:


The Weight of the Train

The train used on the Titan Turntable event weighed 30 metric tons or 66,138 pounds. If that were to be converted into weight plates, it would take 1,469 45-pound plates, a 25, and a 10-pound weight plate to achieve the same weight.  Can you believe that?


That Keg Went How High?

The tallest giraffe in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is in Queensland, Australia. The twelve-year-old giraffe, Forest, is 18 feet and 8 inches tall. So when Brian Shaw set the world record in the Keg Toss event by tossing the 33-pound keg twenty-five feet, four inches (7.75 meters) over the bar, it would’ve cleared Forest’s head by more than two meters. That’s higher than a 2-story house.

Brian Shaw
Image Source: Betting Blogger

Mark Felix’s Incredible WSM Legacy 

The 2021 edition of the even was 55-year-old Mark Felix’s 16th World’s Strongest Man appearance (2004, 2006-2011, 2013-2021). His first contest was in 2006, where he placed fourth. Tom Stoltman probably watched that contest as a fan, as he was only 12 years old at the time. Unfortunately, old man Felix was eliminated in the qualifying stage of the 2021 contest after losing the Stone Off to Tom Stoltman himself.


Defying Age

Brian Shaw was hoping to be the oldest man to win the World’s Strongest Man title at 39 years and three months old. Previously Žydrūnas Savickas had won the WSM title at 38 years and eight months of age. Brian Shaw did manage to become the runner-up and is actually the second oldest man to finish in second place. Surprisingly, it was Savickas who took the silver trophy back in 2015 at 39 years of age. Guess who was the champion that year? Brian Shaw.


The Weight of the Men That Moved Weight

Being big is the name of the game in WSM. The combined weight of the ten men who competed in the 2021 WSM Finals is 3,579 pounds (1623 kg), about the size of a fully grown male hippopotamus (on average). Brian Shaw was the heaviest man in the Finals at a bodyweight of 405 pounds (185 kg). The lightest man in the lineup was Eythor Ingolffsson Melsted, who weighed 326 pounds (148 kg).


Stoltman Got a Grip

Another surprising fact, according to the World’s Strongest Man website, is that Tom Stoltman is the only man out of the ten finalists who is left-handed. Matter of fact, it was the grip strength in his left hand that gave out on him during the Hercules Hold when he finished as the runner-up to WSM champion Oleksii Novikov back in 2020. He credits his physical therapy and working with a mental coach to help him prepare for the 2021 WSM contest. He was determined to secure gold this time, which he did.

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We can see that what he did during his practice time has certainly worked, as Stoltman smoked the Giant’s Medley, which included a 772-pound strapless frame carry, in a time of only 18.36 seconds. And then he went on to become the first Scotsman to win the contest. Before this year, the last southpaw to win the title was Hafthor Björnsson in 2018. He was from Iceland.


Leading the Pack

Tom Stoltman also set a record for the largest lead in the Finals after the first two events. He won both the Giants Medley and Titan’s Turntable events to take a seven-point lead (it later fell to 5.5 points after three events). Five-time World’s Strongest Man champion Mariusz Pudzianowski from Poland holds the record for the largest lead after three events — seven points in 2003 and 2006.


A Champion Bows Out Early

2020 champion Oleksii Novikov sadly failed to qualify for the 2021 WSM Finals, which in itself is a rare occurrence. Since WSM implemented the current qualification group system into the contest in 1994, only two defending champions have failed to make the Finals. Welshman Gary Taylor in 1994 and the Icelandic giant Magnus ver Magnusson in 1997 had previously failed to make it to the finals as defending champions. 


Canada’s Strongest Sons

Maxime Boudreault joined champion Tom Stoltman and runner-up Brian Shaw on the podium as the third-place finisher for this year. The 2021 competition marked the second year in a row that a Canadian has secured a podium place in the World’s Strongest Man platform. JF Caron held the position previously in 2020.

Maxime Boudreault
Image Source: Twitter

Before Caron, there had only been two men from the Great White North to place in the top three of any World’s Strongest Man contest. Canada’s Tom Magee placed second in 1982, and Dominic Filiou placed third in 2005. Despite finishing in podium places multiple times now, there’s yet to be a Canadian World’s Strongest Man winner. We all hope to see that change in the years to come. 


No Defending Champions Reign

The past six years have produced six different champions in the competition; Stoltman in 2021, Novikov in 2020, Martins Licis in 2019, Hafthor Björnsson in 2018, Eddie Hall in 2017, and Shaw in 2016. That is the longest streak of different champions since the creation of the contest in 1977. Could Stoltman defend his championship in 2022? That would be a sight to behold. 


First Time Winner

Tom Stoltman has now become the fifth consecutive first-time winner, another streak that had never been achieved before in the contest’s forty four-year histories. 


The 2021 World’s Strongest Man competition in Sacramento, California, was attended either as an audience or participants by various legends from the WSM world. Some of the faces we saw were: 


Tom Stoltman

Brian Shaw

Oleksii Novikov

Magnus ver Magnusson

Žydrūnas Savickas

Eddie Hall

Martins Licis


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