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Pure relief could be seen on the face of Martins Licis after he easily threw the 420-pound Inver Stone replica over the bar at the inaugural Rogue Invitational strongman competition.

It wasn't just because Licis had earned the largest sum of money for one contest in strongman history (just over $133,000), nor was it just because he had beaten 2021 WSM champion Tom Stoltman on his best event... Martins Licis had also shown the strongman world that his 2019 World's Strongest Man title was no fluke, and that he was finally on the rise again. This was a first competition victory for Licis since the 2020 Arnold USA, nearly two years ago.

The Rogue Invitational started with the highly anticipated Elephant Bar Deadlift. Unfortunately, Brian Shaw and Mikhail Shivlyakov respectively sustained hamstring and calf injuries in this event, while previous issues prevented Jerry Pritchett, Rob Kearney and Mateusz Kieliszkowski from achieving their best lifts.

This left the door wide open for Jean-François Caron, who only gave "80% effort" to get the event win with 926 lb / 420 kg. Tom Stoltman (911 lb) and Martins Licis (906 lb).

The next event, the Cyr Dumbbell Ladder, was all about Oleksii Novikov. The Ukrainian, who lifted a 153.2 kg dumbbell in training recently, cleared the entire set of five weights while no one else got more than three. Licis finished 2nd and Stoltman 5th - the only event in which they were separated by more than one place.

The athletes opened up day two with the Wheel of Pain and, with so many athletes injured, no one managed to push it to Licis's record distance of 119'9, set in 2019. Instead, Stoltman held off Licis for the win with just over 89 feet, meaning that the gap between the leaders was down to a single point.

In the penultimate event, the athletes had to carry a 454 kg yoke for 15 metres before completing 3 reps of a 163 kg log lift. Jean-François Caron set the early pace in 54.51 seconds while Luke Stoltman surprisingly struggled, but it was Mateusz Kieliszkowski who stole the show, viper pressing the log in order to finish in just over 40 seconds. Oleksii Novikov almost beat that time, but stumbled on his last press and had to take a few seconds to recover before trying again.

Tom Stoltman delivered a clean run, finishing in 50.65 seconds to put himself into second place, but Martins Licis did more than enough to beat that time, his 43.33 giving him a two-point lead before the final event.

The five Inver Stone replicas, ranging from 125 to 191 kg, proved challenging for the first eight athletes: only Caron was able to complete the set. Tom Stoltman then went, and he made the stones look easy, stopping the clock in 29.16 seconds. This meant that Licis had to beat Caron's time of 42.45 in order to win the contest.

And it was a piece of cake for Martins. He blew Stoltman's time out of the water and, as is tradition, screamed out his own first name after finishing.

Licis, who missed the last two World's Strongest Man competitions due to a plethora of injuries, will be a major threat to Tom Stoltman and Oleksii Novikov next year. Mateusz Kieliszkowski, meanwhile, took 4th place behind Novikov at the Rogue Invitational in spite of a lat injury... 2022 should be a thrilling strongman season!

Scotland's Tom Stoltman, the current World's Strongest Man, was dominant in his quest to win the British title on Saturday evening in Sheffield. Stoltman amassed 46 out of a possible 50 points and finished in the top 3 in every event to guarantee himself the victory.

The day started with the Dumbbell Medley, a test that has caused Stoltman trouble in the past. At the WUS Strength Island competition in March, the Scotsman had failed to lift the 100 kg dumbbell but on Saturday, he powered through the 100 and 110 kg dumbbells to get off to a good start. He then put in a respectable performance in the Super Yoke and tied for the win in the Deadlift.

After that, the title was just a formality as Stoltman won the Loading Race, just over a second ahead of his brother Luke. Then, in the Atlas Stones, the Albatross made it 11 wins in his last 12 stone runs, putting his Glasgow mishap behind him.

The two previous champions, Adam Bishop (2020) and Graham Hicks (2019) were able to reach the podium. Both athletes tied Tom Stoltman with 8 reps in the Deadlift, and that proved crucial as Luke Stoltman only managed 5 reps. This gave them 5 more points than the Highland Oak in that particular event, which proved decisive as Hicks finished one point in front of the Europe's Strongest Man champion.

This was the first Scottish victory at Britain's Strongest Man since Forbes Cowan's win in 1995, and the first win for a non-English athlete since 2001 (Glenn Ross).

The athletes will start training again soon, as the next Britain's Strongest Man will be taking place in just over 4 months. However, some have other plans: Luke and Tom Stoltman will head to the Rogue Invitational next week, Shane Flowers has entered the Official Strongman Games, and Andy Black will compete at the Magnús Ver Magnússon Strongman Classic. Hibernation has not started just yet!

After narrowly edging out Mateusz Kielizkowski in Dubai two weeks ago, Oleksii Novikov lost by the finest of margins at the inaugural Arnold Sports Festival UK.

Evan Singleton and Oleksii Novikov both finished on 42 points overall, but Singleton was given the win as he was the quickest on the Atlas Stones. The American did not win an event on Sunday, but he was in the top 4 in every discipline.

Novikov, meanwhile, won three individual events as he dominated the Frame Carry, the Deadlift and the Dumbbell Press, but he fell short on the Atlas Stones. The Ukrainian could not lift the second boulder in one fluid motion, which cost him valuable time. Novikov would have needed to be 0.95 seconds faster for the competition win.

Behind the leaders, Trey Mitchell and Jean-François Caron also tied, with 36.5 points each. Mitchell was credited with 3rd place because he was 1.19 seconds faster than Caron in the Atlas Stones. Mitchell, who won the Shaw Classic in August, has had a breakthrough year in 2021, while Caron has brilliantly recovered from the injury he sustained at World's Strongest Man.

55-year-old Mark Felix finished 5th after winning his signature event, the Hercules Hold. Behind him, Scotland's Andy Black took 6th after blitzing the Atlas Stones.

Three athletes dropped out injured: Pa O'Dwyer, Luke Stoltman and Tom Stoltman. All three of them will look to heal their wounds for the next Giants Live contest, Britain's Strongest Man, which takes place on October 23.

The Giants Live tour visited Scotland for the first time ever on Saturday, and the local fans could not have been happier with the result... they were treated to a Stoltman 1-2!

Luke, Not Tom

Just a few weeks ago, 36-year-old Luke Stoltman had no international titles to his name. He now has two! Luke delivered a consistent performance in Glasgow, only getting maximum points in the Log Lift (tying with his brother) and amassing 37.5 out of a possible 50 points.

Still, Luke could hardly have done any better on these events. In the Atlas Stones, his impressive run of 19.91 seconds proved to be enough as his rivals faltered.

"I'm the best in the world, and I will prove that to you next year", Stoltman said.

A Rarity in the Stones

Going into the final event at the Giants Live World Tour Finals, Tom Stoltman had a one-point lead over Evan Singleton. That seemed insurmountable, given the fact that Luke's younger brother had won each of his last 10 stone lifting events in competition.

However, unbelievably, Stoltman mistimed his lift on the fourth stone. The 160 kg rock hit the lip of the platform and crashed to the ground, knocking the heavier fifth stone away in the process.

That was the opening Evan Singleton was looking for, but he made the same mistake and also saw his fifth stone roll away! The two men lost loads of time, and this allowed Luke Stoltman to win the competition. Tom finished one point back with 36.5, while Singleton amassed 33.5 points - just enough to hold off his countryman Kevin Faires.

Two New World Records

The day started with Cheick "Iron Biby" Sanou attempting the log lift world record. The athlete from Burkina Faso had been unable to attend the World Log Lift Championships on September 4 due to a missed connection at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Iron Biby was able to seize his opportunity. He made quick work of 180 and 207 kg before taking on the 229 kg world record attempt. Unlike the Axle Press record he set in July, there was no need for multiple tries! Biby pressed the log with ease, taking the record away from strongman legend Žydrūnas Savickas, who had held it since May 1, 2005.

Sanou was performing in honor of his father, Lancina, who passed away on August 21. Like his son, Lancina Sanou was an educated man: he founded the Alpha Solidarité schools in the city of Bobo-Dioulasso and dedicated his life to helping the youth learn.

Another world record was broken shortly after Sanou had left the platform. The Nicol Stones had been carried 21.50 metres by Scotland's Andy Black earlier this summer, but Kevin Faires was able to set the new mark at 22.20 metres. Black then tried to get his record back, but fell just short at 21.86 metres.

Find full results here.

Two major contests organized by the World's Ultimate Strongman (WUS) organization took place today in Dubai, and both came down to the wire.

WUS was staging their second international men's contest of the year, Friday evening, and they also held their first ever World's Ultimate Strongwoman competition.

Annabelle Chapman Surprises Many

Most observers predicted a battle between three-time World's Strongest Woman Donna Moore and 2018 champion Andrea Thompson. That is not what materialized in Dubai. Instead, Annabelle Chapman, who had been comfortably beaten by Moore a few weeks ago at the UK's Strongest Woman contest, stepped up to the occasion.

Chapman was consistent throughout the events, finishing in the top 4 in each discipline. This was enough for the athlete from Yorkshire as her main rivals all had one major stumble: Donna Moore only got 4 reps in the Log Lift, Melissa Peacock was unable to complete the Farmer's Walk, and Andrea Thompson finished last in the Atlas Stones. Thompson had been struggling with a calf injury throughout the show and missed out on the podium.

Donna Moore finished 2nd today, only two points behind Annabelle Chapman. Moore dug herself an early hole in the Log Lift, coming in sixth place, and although she won the Super Yoke and the Atlas Stones, it was not quite enough for the winner of UK's Strongest Woman.

Canada's Melissa Peacock finished a single point behind Moore to seal the biggest international podium in her career. The lightest woman in the field, Peacock showed her speed and agility in the Chain Railway Carriage and did very well on every event except the Farmer's Walk, where her grip unfortunately let her down. Peacock's performance was extremely impressive nonetheless.

Novikov Edges Out Kieliszkowski

It felt just like 2019 again as Oleksii Novikov and Mateusz Kieliszkowski battled in Dubai. Kieliszkowski, who had not competed in 18 months due to multiple tricep tears, truly showed that he was back.

The Polish athlete's attempt at redemption fell just short, in the end, as he failed the final stone in the series of 10. The stone, weighing 200 kg, was conquered by Novikov and this was what the Ukrainian needed. In the overall standings, Novikov won by a single point!

Although Kieliszkowski was understandably disappointed after coming so close to a win, everyone watching was impressed by how strong he was. Kieliszkowski won three individual events - the Super Yoke, the Farmer's Walk and the Chain Railway Carriage - and finished 10 points ahead of the third place finisher. Kieliszkowski's last international win came in October 2019 at the WUS Dubai contest.

The battle for 3rd place was also a thrilling one, and Aivars Šmaukstelis ended up taking it. The Latvian beat Jean-François Caron by nearly 20 seconds in the Atlas Stones, delivering a great performance to win the event. This is a second WUS podium this year for Šmaukstelis, who had also finished third at WUS Strength Island in March.

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