|Most recent tournament|
|2021 World's Strongest Man|
The World's Strongest Man is an international strongman competition held every year. Organized by American event management company IMG, a subsidiary of Endeavor, it is broadcast in the US during summers and in the UK around the end of December each year.Competitors qualify based on placing in the top three at the four to eight Giants Live events each year.
The current event sponsor is SBD Apparel.Previous sponsors include Tachi Palace, Coregenx, Commerce Hotel and Casino, DAF Trucks, Tonka, MET-Rx, and PartyPoker.com.
The event has a number of rival and parallel competitions with which it is sometimes confused, including the Strongman Super Series, the now defunct IFSA Strongman World Championships (run from 2005 to 2007 after the International Federation of Strength Athletes parted company with WSM in 2004) and Strongman Champions League.
There are now several documentaries available that chart the history of WSM. The first major one is Worlds Strongest Man - Thirty Years Of Pain from 2008, celebrating the 30th anniversary.In 2017, a series of videos were released in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the contest.
The concept behind "The World's Strongest Men", as it was originally named, was developed in 1977 for CBS by Langstar Inc. David Webster, a Scot who later received an OBE for his services to sport, was the head coordinator of the competition from its inception. Dr. Douglas Edmunds, seven-time Scottish shot and discus champion and twice world caber champion,worked with Webster and when Webster retired, Edmunds took over. These two men were responsible for inviting the competitors and choosing the events. In the meantime, in 1982, CBS sold the rights to the BBC, who in turn sold the rights to TWI. In 1987, the WSM was not held for the only time since its inception. In that year, the first and only non-team Pure Strength competition was held, but it was not part of the WSM franchise.
For the first several contests, well-known American color commentators and analysts were used on the network broadcast. These included Brent Musburger, Tom Brookshier, and acknowledged strength authority, journalist and author Dr. Terry Todd. Todd was a former powerlifting world record holder himself and went on to establish the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports in 1990. He also was asked to establish the Arnold Strongman Classic in 2001 by Arnold Schwarzenegger. This competition has the largest purse of any Strongman contest, with a $72,000+ top prize in 2017.
During this early period, the contest ranks consisted mostly of American football players, powerlifters, and bodybuilders and were held in American locations until it was moved to Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1983. Two-time winner Bruce Wilhelm (USA) retired and was succeeded by the massive Don Reinhoudt in 1979, a 162 kg (357 lb) heavyweight powerlifter of the USA. Reinhoudt still holds several unequipped world records in powerlifting to this day.
In 1979, newcomer and legendary powerlifter Bill Kazmaier (USA) made his appearance, coming in 3rd after leading much of the competition. He dominated the sport to such an extent from 1980 to 1982, winning by a record 28 points in 1980. He reportedly was excluded from the competition for five years, after becoming the first man to win three consecutive WSM titles. kg (1055 lb) silver dollar coin deadlift, 439.5 kg (969 lb) squat (smith machine), and a then-record 165.6 kg (365 lb) log lift with a rough, unbalanced log. This eventually earned him a place in the WSM Hall of Fame.He set prodigious marks with a 478.5
After Kazmaier left, his nearest rival, former Olympian Geoff Capes from the UK, traded wins with the Icelandic powerlifter Jón Páll Sigmarsson, with Capes winning in 1983 and 1985, and Sigmarsson in 1984 and 1986. Sigmarsson raised the popularity and awareness of the event to new levels.He died three years after winning his 4th and final WSM in 1990. In 1987, Sigmarsson would defeat Capes and Kazmaier in Pure Strength. Kazmaier returned to WSM in 1988, but could not dethrone Sigmarsson, who won his 3rd title. The only other man to claim the title in this era was Jamie Reeves, which he did in 1989. Reeves was injured in 1990, as Sigmarsson narrowly claimed his 4th title ahead of O.D. Wilson, who was leading by 5.5 points going into the final event, a controversial 200m race with 100kg on the back. Sigmarsson won the event, and the much larger Wilson finished way down the field, meaning Jon Pall became the first man to claim four titles.
In 1995, Edmunds and Webster, along with representatives from the competitors including Jamie Reeves, Ilkka Kinnunen and Marcel Mostert formed a governing body called the International Federation of Strength Athletes ("IFSA"). The IFSA began organizing bespoke events, such as the IFSA European Championships and also took the lead in working with the BBC and with TWI to organize the World's Strongest Man competition. For almost a decade, the IFSA and WSM were inextricably mixed, but this changed in 2004. The InvestGroup Ventures' sports rights management arm, InvestGroup Sports Management, invested heavily into IFSA and this led to the creation of IFSA Strongman. The strategy was to acquire most of the international assets and properties relating to the strongman sport. In essence, this was a new organisationwith some, such as Magnus Samuelsson, describing it as "a new company ... with the same name as our old federation". The attempt at dominance was not well received by TWI and disagreement ensued leading to a split in the sport. Previously, in 2001, the IFSA in its former guise had entered an agreement with World Class Events (WCE), headed by Ulf Bengtsson, to run the Super Series. This Super Series was designed to award the World Championship title, but also acted as a qualifying vehicle for the WSM. When strongman split in 2004, the Super Series sided with TWI forming a rival federation to the IFSA. With the WSM being a TWI owned event, IFSA Holdings announced its own World Championships for 2005, to be held in Quebec, and thus from that point had no involvement in the WSM contest.
The split with IFSA, which banned its registered athletes from competing at WSM, meant that not all the recognized best strength athletes in the world were eligible to compete. However, the reputation of WSM as the premier event maintained its lure for broadcasting purposes. In recent years, the competition has been broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2, TSN, Televisa Deportes and Five, and currently CBS Sports Network in the USA. The longevity of the contest in strength athletics and its high levels of TV exposure over the years has led to it being described as "the granddaddy of all strongman contests".
In recent years, to curb injuries, the contest events have included a certain amount of athleticism rather than being about raw strength. This has led some critics to say that contests such as the Arnold Strongman Classic or Fortissimus are the true strongest man competitions. However, it is routinely described as "the Worlds" by top strongman competitorsand despite the critics, it is the leading brand name in the field. No other strongman contest commands close to the WSM's levels of TV exposure. The World's Strongest Man claims a viewership of 220 million.
In the early 1990s, Magnús Ver Magnússon (Iceland) won the title four times (1991, 1994–1996) and became the second and only man along with the legendary Bill Kazmaier to win three consecutive titles. He came into the 1991 contest as the reserve and ended up winning the show, and is the only man to do so.
Magnús would also finish 2nd in both 1992 and 1993. The 1992 contest was won by Dutchman Ted van der Parre, who at 7 feet tall, is the tallest man ever to win or compete at the World's Strongest Man. In one of the closest contests in the competition's history, just 1 point separated Ted in 1st from Magnús and Jamie Reeves, who tied for 2nd. Conversely, in 1993, Welshman Gary Taylor became the shortest man to ever win the contest at just 6 feet tall, defeating Magnús and Riku Kiri of Finland.
Magnús would finally get his second title in 1994, defeating Austrian Manfred Hoeberl in the closely fought contest, with Kiri finishing 3rd for the second year running. He retained his title the following year, with South African Gerrit Badenhorst and Finland's Marko Varalahti completing the podium. In 1996, Magnús made it to three titles in a row, with his closest competitor Kiri pulling out of the final event due to injury, but still finishing in second. Badenhorst made the podium for the second year in a row. Remarkably, none of these three men would make the final the following year.
The late 1990s saw Scandinavian countries taking control of the title, and this lasted until 2002. The relatively small 125 kg (275 lb) but dynamic Jouko Ahola from Finland won two titles in three years during this period. He later became a referee in WSM/strongman events and an actor. Sweden's Magnus Samuelsson would claim the 1998 title, becoming the only man to defeat Ahola in a WSM contest. Following Ahola's retirement, fellow Finn Janne Virtanen would improve on his 1999 runner up finish and take the title for himself in 2000. The final Scandinavian in this group to take the title was Norwegian Svend Karlsen, who did so in 2001.
The early to late 2000s were dominated by five-time Polish winner Mariusz Pudzianowski, earning the nickname: "The Dominator". Looking muscular and defined, he temporarily redefined what a strongman was in the world's eyes. At about 142 kg (313 lb) at max weight, he routinely beat men much bigger than he was. He combined speed and massive strength in one package. Indeed, he was so dominant, that three of his five championships (2003, 2005 and 2007) were won with an event to spare. His final win was in 2008 as bigger and taller men came into the sport.
Pudzianowski's first title was in 2002, as the era of Scandinavian dominance came to end, with Lithuanian Žydrūnas Savickas and Latvian Raimonds Bergmanis completing the podium. He would defend his title in 2003 in spectacular fashion. He won 4 of the 7 events, and claiming two 2nd places and a 3rd place in the remaining events to finish with 66 out of a possible 70 points, and 20 ahead of runner up Savickas. 2003 was also the first appearance of Ukrainian Vasyl Virastyuk, who finished 3rd.
In 2004, Savickas and Virastyuk were tied for the lead heading into the final event, the Atlas Stones. Virastyuk would defeat Savickas to claim the title, with the Lithuanian finishing as runner up for the 3rd year in a row. Originally, Mariusz Pudzianowski finished in 3rd but was later disqualified after failing a drugs test, meaning Magnus Samuelsson would once again finish on the podium.
Following the split of IFSA and WSM, most of the athletes would stick with IFSA. Pudzianowski was, in fact, the only athlete from the 2004 contest to compete at WSM in 2005. He would win the contest with an event to spare ahead of runner up Jesse Marunde, who with 3rd place Dominic Filiou became the first non-Europeans to reach the podium of WSM since O.D. Wilson in 1990.
The 2006 competition ended in dramatic fashion: in the final, Mariusz Pudzianowski started well by coming tied-1st in the Deadlift and winning the Power Stairs easily; but by then winning the last 5 events in a row, Phil Pfister edged out the Pole in the final event, the Atlas stones. Pfister became the first American to win the competition since 1982, and the first American ever to win the competition outside the United States.
Pudzianowski regained his crown in 2007, winning the contest with an event to spare. Fellow Pole Sebastian Wenta claimed 2nd place, with Britain's Terry Hollands rounding out the podium.
In 2008, Derek Poundstone had a large lead over Mariusz Pudzianowski after 3 events but Pudzianowski tied the Deadlift event for first place and then won the crucial Plane Pull to narrow the gap. Pudzianowski and Poundstone then battled for the title of World's Strongest Man in the last event, the Atlas Stones. Pudzianowski blistered through the event and was able to keep pace with the heavier Poundstone. On the final stone, Pudzianowski was able to capitalize on Poundstone's drop and clinched his fifth title.
In 2009, the long-running IFSA/WSM split had ended resulting in finally having all of the top strongmen from around the world all in the same contest. Two-time IFSA World Champion Žydrūnas Savickas would return to the contest after 5 years, and claimed his first WSM title, with defending champion Mariusz coming in second in his final ever WSM contest. Another up and comer Brian Shaw placed third.
Žydrūnas Savickas repeated his victory in 2010, winning by countback 210 kg (460 lb).against Brian Shaw in the closest finish in WSM history. Top IFSA competitor and fan favorite Mikhail Koklyaev finished third in his WSM debut. Savickas set a new world record in the Giant Wooden Log Lift with a lift of
In 2011, Brian Shaw and two-time defending champion Žydrūnas Savickas were tied on points going into the final event. Shaw defeated Savickas in the Atlas Stones, winning his first title. Over the next four years, the pair would trade the title back and forth. Going into the 2012 contest, Shaw suffered from nerve damage in his hands and slipped down to fourth place. This opened the door for Savickas to capture his third WSM title, with fellow Lithuanian Vytautas Lalas coming in second and the Icelandic giant Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson finishing third. Savickas set a new world record in the Log Lift with a lift of 220 kg (490 lb). Shaw would regain his title in 2013, ahead of Savickas (2nd) and Björnsson (3rd). The 2014 contest was one of the closest battles in WSM history, with these three men separated by just two points going into the Atlas Stones. Savickas clinched the title by just half a point ahead of Björnsson, and just 3 ahead of Shaw, becoming the fourth man to win four titles. This victory made Savickas the oldest athlete to ever win the title at the age of 38 years and 8 months.
Shaw would defeat Savickas once again in 2015, with the title coming down to the two of them in the final event for the 4th time. Björnsson finished on the podium yet again, with Britain's Eddie Hall coming in 4th. Savickas didn't compete in 2016, as Shaw successfully defended his title and joined Savickas on four titles. Björnsson made a 5th podium finish as the runner up, as Hall continued his steady rise to finish 3rd, despite placing last in the first event.
In the 2017 contest, two four-time winners (Brian Shaw and Žydrūnas Savickas) competed head-to-head for the first time since the 2015 contest, but Eddie Hall won his first title over runner-up Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson by 1 point and was the first person to win for the UK since Welshman Gary Taylor in 1993. Hall also set a new strongman deadlift world record with a regular bar at 472.5 kg (1,042 lb) performed with just straps. The contest was, however, not without controversy. Björnsson claimed that he had completed one more rep in the Viking Press than the judge awarded him. In 2020, former World's Strongest Man producer, Andrew B. Quinn, claimed the judges were, in fact, lenient on Björnsson. He cited multiple examples of Björnsson not following the rules of the Viking Press, which state that athletes must wait for the "down" signal with each rep, and not "double dip".
The 2018 contest was held in Manila, Philippines for the first time in its history.Eddie Hall, winner of the 2017 World's Strongest Man, did not defend his title. The contest was won by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson of Iceland, who finally clinched the title after three 3rd place and three 2nd place finishes, and became the first Icelander since Magnús Ver Magnússon in 1996 to win the title. Mateusz Kieliszkowski of Poland finished second and four-time winner Brian Shaw of the United States third. Žydrūnas Savickas, also a four-time winner, finished tenth after withdrawing in event four due to an injury.
The 2019 contest was held in Bradenton, Florida.The contest was won by Martins Licis of the United States who defeated defending champion Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson of Iceland. Björnsson suffered an injury, plantar fasciitis, in the qualifying heats but was able to complete the competition and finish 3rd on the podium, with Kieliszkowski finishing as the runner up for the second consecutive year. This year also saw brothers Tom and Luke Stoltman both qualify for the final, becoming the first brothers to both reach the final in history. A new format which included only 25 instead of 30 competitors was used and the entire competition only ran for 4 days instead of the usual 5+. The final was reduced to 5 events and took only one day. The new format was designed to streamline the editing for a quicker television turnaround.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 contest, initially planned to be held in May at Bradenton, was postponed to November instead.In place from May through July was a special series called "World's Strongest Man: Home Edition" on Snapchat Discover, where participating strongman athletes filmed themselves at home recreating strongman events in creative ways, and fans could vote for their favourites. The series was hosted by Eddie Hall. Rongo Keene was declared the winner, earning him a $10,000 prize.
The 2020 contest was to be held on Anna Maria Island from 11 to 15 November, with no physical spectators allowed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.Because of bad weather conditions brought about by Hurricane Eta, the first two days were instead pushed back a day, removing the rest day planned on 13 November. For the first time in WSM history, none of the podium finishers from the previous year (Mariusz Pudzianowski was originally a podium finisher in 2004 before failing a drugs test) would compete in the contest. (Both Licis and Kieliszkowski were injured, whereas Björnsson had retired to focus on his boxing match with Eddie Hall). The contest was won by Oleksii Novikov, who set a new partial deadlift record of 537.5 kg (1,185 lbs) during the finals. Tom Stoltman came in 2nd place winning 3 of 6 events, while Jean-François Caron came in 3rd.
The 2021 edition of the contest took place in Sacramento, California from 15 to 20 June.Defending champion Novikov failed to advance from his qualifying heat, after finishing 4th in a tightly fought group which saw just one point separating 1st and 4th position. Tom Stoltman would improve on his second place finish the year before to claim his first title after defeating four-time champion Brian Shaw head-to-head in the Atlas Stones, and became the first Scotsman to win the title. Shaw would finish second, his best placing since his 4th title in 2016, and his first podium finish since 2018, while Canada's Maxime Boudreault would place third in his first WSM final.
For a complete timeline, see the official WSM site:
Initially, eight men representing various sports and strength disciplines were invited to compete against each other in unique events designed to test each individual to the fullest extent. The earliest events were relatively crude, but new ideas were introduced over the years. Some events had a basis in both powerlifting and Highland Games heavy events, and others were created based on mythological feats of strength. There are a number of events that make up each competition.
Beginning in 2017, the qualifying format was changed. After five events, the leader clinches a spot in the final while the last place competitor is eliminated from the competition. To determine the second finalist of the group, a new event called Last Man Standing was added. An Atlas Stone is placed at the center of an octagon and, one at a time, the competitors must lift the stone and drop it over a 55-inch metal bar. They each have twenty seconds to do this, and once one cannot complete the drop, he is eliminated and the next highest scoring competitor entering the event takes his turn. The competition continues in stepladder fashion, beginning with the fourth and fifth place competitors, until only one remains; that competitor is declared the winner of the event and secures the second place in the final for the qualifying group.
The 2018 competition used the Atlas Stones event to determine the second finalist. The three lowest scorers were eliminated from the competition, and the second and third place finishers squared off with the winner advancing to the final.
The 2019 competition saw the return of Last Man Standing, but instead of featuring the remaining four competitors, only the second and third place competitors square off to determine the second finalist.
|Year||Winner||Runner-up||Third place||Host city|
|2021||Tom Stoltman||Brian Shaw||Maxime Boudreault||Sacramento, California|
|2020||Oleksii Novikov||Tom Stoltman||Jean-François Caron||Bradenton, Florida|
|2019||Martins Licis||Mateusz Kieliszkowski||Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson||Bradenton, Florida|
|2018||Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson||Mateusz Kieliszkowski||Brian Shaw||Manila, Philippines|
|2017||Eddie Hall||Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson||Brian Shaw||Gaborone, Botswana|
|2016||Brian Shaw (4)||Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson||Eddie Hall||Kasane, Botswana|
|2015||Brian Shaw (3)||Žydrūnas Savickas||Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson||Putrajaya, Malaysia|
|2014||Žydrūnas Savickas (4)||Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson||Brian Shaw||Los Angeles, California|
|2013||Brian Shaw (2)||Žydrūnas Savickas||Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson||Sanya, China|
|2012||Žydrūnas Savickas (3)||Vytautas Lalas||Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson||Los Angeles, California|
|2011||Brian Shaw||Žydrūnas Savickas||Terry Hollands||Wingate, North Carolina|
|2010||Žydrūnas Savickas (2)||Brian Shaw||Mikhail Koklyaev||Sun City, South Africa|
|2009||Žydrūnas Savickas||Mariusz Pudzianowski||Brian Shaw||Valletta, Malta|
|2008||Mariusz Pudzianowski (5)||Derek Poundstone||Dave Ostlund||Charleston, West Virginia|
|2007||Mariusz Pudzianowski (4)||Sebastian Wenta||Terry Hollands||Anaheim, California|
|2006||Phil Pfister||Mariusz Pudzianowski||Don Pope||Sanya, China|
|2005||Mariusz Pudzianowski (3)||Jesse Marunde||Dominic Filiou||Chengdu, China|
|2004||Vasyl Virastyuk||Žydrūnas Savickas||Magnus Samuelsson||Nassau, Bahamas|
|2003||Mariusz Pudzianowski (2)||Žydrūnas Savickas||Vasyl Virastyuk||Victoria Falls, Zambia|
|2002||Mariusz Pudzianowski||Žydrūnas Savickas||Raimonds Bergmanis||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
|2001||Svend Karlsen||Magnus Samuelsson||Janne Virtanen||Victoria Falls, Zambia|
|2000||Janne Virtanen||Svend Karlsen||Magnus Samuelsson||Sun City, South Africa|
|1999||Jouko Ahola (2)||Janne Virtanen||Svend Karlsen||Valletta, Malta|
|1998||Magnus Samuelsson||Jouko Ahola||Wout Zijlstra||Tangier, Morocco|
|1997||Jouko Ahola||Flemming Rasmussen||Magnus Samuelsson||Primm Valley Resort, Nevada|
|1996||Magnús Ver Magnússon (4)||Riku Kiri||Gerrit Badenhorst||Port Louis, Mauritius|
|1995||Magnús Ver Magnússon (3)||Gerrit Badenhorst||Marko Varalahti||Nassau, Bahamas|
|1994||Magnús Ver Magnússon (2)||Manfred Hoeberl||Riku Kiri||Sun City, South Africa|
|1993||Gary Taylor||Magnús Ver Magnússon||Riku Kiri||Orange, France|
|1992||Ted van der Parre||Magnús Ver Magnússon||Jamie Reeves||Reykjavík, Iceland|
|1991||Magnús Ver Magnússon||Henning Thorsen||Gary Taylor||Tenerife, Canary Islands|
|1990||Jón Páll Sigmarsson (4)||O.D. Wilson||Ilkka Nummisto||Joensuu, Finland|
|1989||Jamie Reeves||Ab Wolders||Jón Páll Sigmarsson||San Sebastián, Spain|
|1988||Jón Páll Sigmarsson (3)||Bill Kazmaier||Jamie Reeves||Budapest, Hungary|
|1986||Jón Páll Sigmarsson (2)||Geoff Capes||Ab Wolders||Nice, France|
|1985||Geoff Capes (2)||Jón Páll Sigmarsson||Cees de Vreugd||Cascais, Portugal|
|1984||Jón Páll Sigmarsson||Ab Wolders||Geoff Capes||Mora, Sweden|
|1983||Geoff Capes||Jón Páll Sigmarsson||Simon Wulfse||Christchurch, New Zealand|
|1982||Bill Kazmaier (3)||Tom Magee||John Gamble||Magic Mountain, California|
|1981||Bill Kazmaier (2)||Geoff Capes||Dave Waddington||Magic Mountain, California|
|1980||Bill Kazmaier||Lars Hedlund||Geoff Capes||Vernon, New Jersey|
|1979||Don Reinhoudt||Lars Hedlund||Bill Kazmaier||Universal Studios, California|
|1978||Bruce Wilhelm (2)||Don Reinhoudt||Lars Hedlund||Universal Studios, California|
|1977||Bruce Wilhelm||Bob Young||Ken Patera||Universal Studios, California|
|Mariusz Pudzianowski||Poland||5||2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008|
|Jón Páll Sigmarsson||Iceland||4||1984, 1986, 1988, 1990|
|Magnús Ver Magnússon||Iceland||4||1991, 1994, 1995, 1996|
|Žydrūnas Savickas||Lithuania||4||2009, 2010, 2012, 2014|
|Brian Shaw||United States||4||2011, 2013, 2015, 2016|
|Bill Kazmaier||United States||3||1980, 1981, 1982|
|Bruce Wilhelm||United States||2||1977, 1978|
|Geoff Capes||United Kingdom||2||1983, 1985|
|Jouko Ahola||Finland||2||1997, 1999|
|10|| Žydrūnas Savickas |
|8||Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson|
|7|| Jón Páll Sigmarsson |
|6|| Magnús Ver Magnússon |
|5|| Bill Kazmaier |
|3|| Lars Hedlund |
|2|| Bruce Wilhelm |
Australia, Bulgaria, Estonia, the Faroe Islands, Fiji, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Hungary, Iran, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Samoa, Serbia, and Slovenia as of 2019 have all placed in the Top 10 but have not yet won a medal.
Most times WSM top 5 placings: 12 – Brian Shaw (2009–2018, 2020–2021)
Most WSM finals: 13 – Brian Shaw (2009–2021)
Most times qualified for WSM: 16 – Mark Felix (2004, 2006–2011, 2013–2021)
Most consecutive WSM Titles: 3 – Bill Kazmaier (1980-1982) and Magnús Ver Magnússon (1994–1996)
Most consecutive WSM podium finishes: 8 – Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (2012–2019)
Most consecutive WSM finals: 13 – Brian Shaw (2009–2021)
Most consecutive WSM appearances: 14 – Brian Shaw (2008–2021)
Most WSM runner-up finishes: 6 – Žydrūnas Savickas (2002–2004, 2011, 2013, 2015)
Most WSM 3rd place finishes: 4 – Brian Shaw (2009, 2014, 2017, 2018) and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (2012, 2013, 2015, 2019)
Longest Time Between First and Last Championships: 6 years – Jón Páll Sigmarsson (1984–1990) and Mariusz Pudzianowski (2002–2008)
Longest Time Between First and Last Top 3 Finishes: 13 years – Žydrūnas Savickas (2002–2015)
Longest Time Between First and Last Qualifications For Final: 16 years – Žydrūnas Savickas (2002–2018)
Longest Time Between First and Last Qualifications: 20 years – Žydrūnas Savickas (1998–2018)
Longest Gap Between Championships: 3 years – Magnús Ver Magnússon (1991–1994)
Longest Gap Between Top 3 Finishes: 6 years – Bill Kazmaier (1982–1988)
Longest Gap Between Appearances: 10 years – Travis Ortmayer (2011–2021)
The WSM Hall of Fame was created in 2008 to recognize the greatest competitors in the history of the contest.As of 2020, there are six members of the WSM Hall of Fame; Svend Karlsen, Bill Kazmaier, Mariusz Pudzianowski, Magnús Ver Magnússon, Magnus Samuelsson and Jón Páll Sigmarsson.
Jón Páll Sigmarsson was an Icelandic strongman, powerlifter and bodybuilder who was the first man to win the World's Strongest Man four times. He is regarded as one of the greatest strongmen of all time, and is credited with developing Iceland's national identity. He was named Icelandic Sportsperson of the Year in 1981, and was one of the best-known Icelandic athletes. In 2012, Jón Páll was inducted into the World's Strongest Man Hall of Fame.
In the 19th century, the term strongman referred to an exhibitor of strength or similar circus performers who performed feats of strength. More recently, strength athletics, also known as strongman competitions, have grown in popularity. These competitions are now composed of a variety of events in which competitors have to move the highest weights possible, the winner being the one having the highest tally across all events.
Žydrūnas Savickas is a Lithuanian powerlifter and professional strongman. Due to his multiple championship wins in all major international strongman competitions, as well as his longevity in the sport, he is widely considered by many to be the greatest strength athlete of all time.
William Kazmaier is an American former world champion powerlifter, world champion strongman and professional wrestler. During the 1970s and 1980s, he set numerous powerlifting and strongman world records, and won two International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) World Championships and three World's Strongest Man titles. In the 1980s, Kazmaier became famous for his claim to be "the strongest man who ever lived" by equaling and surpassing spectacular and versatile feats of strength of famous strongmen of the 20th century. He is widely considered to be one of the all-time greatest competitors in strength competitions.
Vasyl Virastyuk, is a Ukrainian politician and former strongman competitor. He is a brother of Roman Virastyuk. Virastyuk was the winner of World's Strongest Man 2004. In a 28 March 2021 parliamentary by-election, Virastyuk was a candidate for Servant of the People. On 15 June 2021, he was sworn in as a member of the Ukrainian parliament.
Derek Poundstone is an American former professional strongman athlete from Woodbridge, Connecticut who placed runner-up at the 2008 World's Strongest Man. Derek Poundstone is also a police Sergeant for the Naugatuck, Connecticut Police Department and is the former owner and landlord of an apartment complex and gym.
Europe's Strongest Man is an annual strength athletics competition which began in 1980. The event is held in various locations throughout Europe, and features exclusively European strongman competitors. Mariusz Pudzianowski currently holds the record for most wins with 6 titles. Zydrunas Savickas, Geoff Capes, Riku Kiri each hold three titles, while Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson holds 5 titles. As of 2010, the Europe's Strongest Man contest has become a part of the Giants Live season of annual grand prix events. The contest serves as a qualifying event for the World's Strongest Man contest, with the top 3 placings qualifying for that year's WSM contest.
The Strongman Champions League is a strongman competition circuit, with several Grand Prix events throughout the year and the Strongman Champions League overall champion title going to the overall winner at the end of the season. The competitors include some of the top athletes in the sport, including Žydrūnas Savickas, Krzysztof Radzikowski, Travis Ortmayer, Nick Best, Mikhail Koklyaev, Ervin Katona, Andrus Murumets, Laurence Shahlaei, Vytautas Lalas and Terry Hollands. Initially in close partnership with IFSA, it quickly asserted its independence and has acted as a unifying force in the world of strength athletics, bringing together athletes from IFSA with those affiliated to the World's Strongest Man circuit, and having close cooperation with other major events such as Fortissimus. In 2012, SCL began co-promoting the new Arnold Strongman Classic-Europe contest which will become part of the annual SCL season of events.
The Fortissimus is a defunct event in strength athletics. The name means "the mightiest" and was a multi-event challenge at the end of which the winner is crowned as the "Strongest Man on Earth". It was set up to bring together the strongest competitors on the planet independent of the organisations to which they were signed, and also as a tribute to the nineteenth-century Canadian strongman Louis Cyr, which gave it many similarities to Le Defi Mark Ten International which last took place in Canada in the early 1990s. After its first airing in 2008, the strength athletics magazine Milo described it as the ultimate strongman competition ever held. Despite a successful edition in 2009, a reported lack of a major sponsor for 2010 resulted in the competition being suspended, no future contests have been announced.
Giants Live was created in 2009 as the official Tour that qualifies strongmen to compete in the annual World's Strongest Man contest. At each Grand Prix, up to twelve international strongmen come together and compete over six events. The top three at each contest will receive an invitation to compete at the World's Strongest Man contest for that same year.
The World Muscle Power Classic (WMPC) was one of the most enduring annual strongmen competitions, running for twenty years and in that time attaining the position of the second most prestigious strongman contest in the world, after the World's Strongest Man. It was notable for that reason and for the quality of the strength athletes it attracted, which included every winner of the World's Strongest Man competition from 1980 onwards including Jón Páll Sigmarsson, Geoff Capes and Bill Kazmaier from the 1980s right up to the five time WSM champion Mariusz Pudzianowski, who was never able to capture the WMPC title.
The World's Strongest Man 2009 was the 32nd edition of World's Strongest Man and took place in Valletta, Malta from 26 September to 3 October 2009. It was sponsored by PartyPoker.com. It was anticipated by the strength athletics world as promising to be "the best one yet." The anticipation was based on the organisers ensuring invites were made to "every top athlete in the world" regardless of their affiliation to any particular strength athletics body. In previous years, the schism between the International Federation of Strength Athletes and the organisers of WSM had meant that certain athletes were forbidden to compete, undermining the credentials of the competition.
Stefán Sölvi Pétursson is an Icelandic strongman competitor and entrant to the World's Strongest Man competition.
Laurence "Loz" Shahlaei is an English strongman competitor, winner of England's Strongest Man Britain's Strongest Man and Europe's Strongest Man, and regular competitor at the World's Strongest Man. He was the 2016 Europe's Strongest Man champion.
Brian Shaw is an American professional strongman competitor and winner of the 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2016 World's Strongest Man competitions. In 2011, he became the first man to win the Arnold Strongman Classic and the World's Strongest Man contests in the same calendar year, a feat he replicated in 2015.
The World Strongman Challenge was one of the most enduring annual strongmen competitions, running in various guises for twenty years, with only two years break. In that time it attained the position of one of the most prestigious strongman contest in the world, after the World's Strongest Man and the World Muscle Power Classic. As with its two international counterparts it attracted the top quality strength athletes of its era, which included every winner of the World's Strongest Man competition from 1980 onwards including Jón Páll Sigmarsson, Geoff Capes and Bill Kazmaier from the 1980s right up to the current WSM champion Žydrūnas Savickas.
Strength athletics in Iceland refers to the participation of Icelandic competitors and the holding of Icelandic events in the modern phenomenon of strength athletics inaugurated by the World's Strongest Man. The sport's roots have a long history going back many centuries before the televisation of strongman competitions in the 1970s and Iceland has a role in that more ancient heritage. In terms of modern strength athletics, Iceland has held a preeminent position as a nation due to the enormous success of its competitors on the international stage, who between them have won Nine World's Strongest Man titles, and numerous major European and international competitions.
The 2012 World's Strongest Man was the 35th edition of World's Strongest Man. The event was held on the grounds of the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, California, US. The event was sponsored by MET-Rx. The qualifying heats were held from September 24–27, and the finals took place Sept. 30 & Oct. 1, 2012. The winner was Žydrūnas Savickas, it was his third WSM title. Vytautas Lalas of Lithuania was second, and Iceland's Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson was third.
The World Log Lift Championships is a (mostly) annual competition featuring strength athletes from all over the world, competing exclusively in the Log Clean and Press. Created initially as part of the Strongman Champions League, it has since been part of Giants Live and the championship occasionally switches between the two series.
The 2020 World's Strongest Man was the 43rd edition of the World's Strongest Man competition. It took place in Bradenton, Florida between November 11 and 15. Oleksii Novikov of Ukraine won the competition for the first time in his career, with Tom Stoltman of Great Britain taking second and Jean-Francois Caron of Canada taking third. At 24 years old, Novikov is the youngest person to win the event since 1984.