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It was a shock to everyone, including himself, when Quebec City’s Gabriel Rhéaume clinched the title of Canada’s Strongest Man with an event to spare.

"I just wanted to stay close to the top guys. I was aiming for a top 5 finish, and I trained really hard… This is the result!" an ecstatic Rhéaume told the crowd.

The 24-year-old delivered a very impressive performance throughout the weekend. Despite winning only one of the ten events - the Viking Press, where he powered his way to 14 reps - Rhéaume was consistently in the top 5 places, which brought him the title as his fellow competitors all lost major points in at least one discipline.

It was the first time since 2010 that someone other than Jean-François Caron won the Canadian title. The nine-time winner was forced to miss this year’s edition due to a serious hamstring injury suffered at this year’s World’s Strongest Man. Still, Caron worked hard to organize the two-day competition, which brought hundreds of fans to the small town of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, near Quebec City.

The Turning Point

Odds-on favourite Maxime Boudreault had been trailing Gabriel Rhéaume by four points after the first day of competition. Boudreault was looking for his first Canada’s Strongest Man title, just over a month after finishing 3rd in the World’s Strongest Man competition. The man from Thunder Bay saw his chance in event 7, the Loading Race. Boudreault easily loaded the first three implements, but the 360-pound train wheel caused him some problems as he could not position it high enough on his chest. Boudreault’s right ring finger became stuck between the wheel and the platform, and although he ended up loading the implement in a winning time of 47.28 seconds, the damage was done.

In the Viking Press, Boudreault struggled with a shoulder injury he had suffered at World’s Strongest Man. Normally, any overhead pressing event is great for Boudreault, but he had to settle for 15th place (of 17) on Sunday afternoon, conceding 14 points to Rhéaume.

The Power Medley saw Boudreault unable to squeeze the farmer’s walk implements because of his finger injury. After attempting it twice, the Ontarian let out a disgusted scream and walked away in pain.

This left the door wide open for Gabriel Rhéaume, and he took advantage of it. Rhéaume, who trains at Jean-François Caron’s gym in Quebec City, clinched his victory with a solid performance in the Power Medley, where he made a 915-lb yoke and a 366-lb farmer’s walk (for 15 metres each) look easy.

In the end, Rhéaume won by an astounding 15 points. Although he was not a household name before the weekend, the international strength community will certainly be aware of him now.

Up-and-coming Talent

The World’s Strongest Man podium finisher ended up missing out on the top 3 places because of excellent efforts by Wesley Derwinsky and Sean Hayes.

Derwinsky, from Thorold, Ontario, showed his tremendous potential on Saturday by completing all 8 kegs in the 40 to 55 lb Keg Toss, in a time that would have rivalled the likes of Tom Stoltman, Jean-François Caron and Brian Shaw. He also demonstrated his speed and agility in the Loading Race, finishing 3rd in the event, and in the Power Medley, narrowly missing out on the win.

Derwinsky then won the final event of the weekend, the Power Stairs, in dominant fashion, being the only athlete to complete all 15 stairs. This was no small feat, as most of the athletes had difficulty walking at that point.

This was the case for British Columbia’s Sean Hayes, who suffered a quad tear in the Atlas Stones but courageously carried on during Sunday’s events. Hayes had won the Deadlift on Saturday, and he then managed to maintain himself in the top 8 in every event.

The Power Stairs proved to be a scary moment for Hayes, who either needed 7 stairs or 6 in a good time to guarantee himself a podium finish. However, the British Columbian ran out of gas after the sixth step, and he had to rely on his time. Luckily for Hayes, he had done enough to hold off an injured Boudreault for 3rd place.

Hayes’s performance gave Western Canada its first podium since 2012 (Scott Cummine). With Quebec, Ontario and Western Canada represented in the top 3, it was the first time in the 22-year history of the competition that less than two Quebec athletes finished on the podium.

A Courageous Return

Former World’s Strongest Man competitor Jimmy Paquet knew that he was not in his best shape coming into Canada’s Strongest Man, but he showed up anyway.

"I came here for some motivation to train harder, and it definitely worked. I will compete in strongman as long as my body allows me to do so", said Paquet when interviewed by master of ceremonies Mike Saunders.

Paquet, who had finished 2nd at Canada’s Strongest Man from 2016 to 2019, could not train as hard as he would have liked during the pandemic as he worked long hours on construction sites.

This was evident in all four static events, where Paquet got no points. Still, in the moving events, the crowd saw the same old Jimmy Paquet: fit, fast… and never, ever, giving up.

All in the Family

Strongman has had no shortage of powerful brothers in the past, and a new family of strength might be on the way.

During the weekend, Gabriel Rhéaume delivered a phenomenal performance to win the title, but his identical twin, Frédérick, didn’t do too badly either, finishing 6th overall. The twins clearly have very different strengths: Frédérick got his best result in the Deadlift, while Gabriel seemed to have better overhead pressing and grip power.

At only 24 years old, the Rhéaume brothers might not be able to challenge Tom and Luke Stoltman just yet… But they are certainly the strongest identical twins in the world!

Full results - 2021 Canada’s Strongest Man

Saturday evening in London, Oleksii Novikov set out to prove that his 2021 World's Strongest Man Qualifying Round elimination was just a fluke. He made a great case for himself.

The 2020 World's Strongest Man title winner took his first international victory since last March by scoring 44.5 points at the inaugural Giants Live Strongman Classic. Novikov was delighted with the win, which was decided on the final event, the Atlas Stones. Had the Ukrainian been 2.14 seconds slower on the final stone, he would have lost the title.

The man putting pressure on him was Evan "T-Rex" Singleton, who finished on 43 points. In the past, Singleton has struggled in the Atlas Stones, but he delivered in a big way at the Royal Albert Hall, completing the set in just over 20 seconds.

Singleton arguably lost the title in the first event, the Max Axle Press, where Novikov nailed a solid 190 kg press while the American just missed. "T-Rex" had the power and launched the 190 kg axle over his head, but lost control of the bar while attempting to lock his elbows.

Cheick "Iron Biby" Sanou had no such problems. The big man from Burkina Faso made 190 kg look easy, and managed 205 kg before attempting a new World Record at 217 kg. Unfortunately, Sanou failed after two very difficult cleans... But he did not give up. After his attempt, he pleaded his case with officials Colin Bryce and Darren Sadler in order to have another crack at the World Record. The organizers obliged, and Biby delivered. Despite the fatigue from his previous attempt, Sanou bent himself backwards and effortlessly pushed the bar off his chest for a good lift. He was then so relieved that he collapsed to the ground as the English crowd roared for him.

Iron Biby kept the momentum going in the Hercules Hold, gripping the pillars for just over 75 seconds, giving him the win over Evan Singleton. Surprisingly, Mark Felix only took 3rd place in that event, which marked his first Hercules Hold defeat in a Giants Live contest. Unfortunately for Felix, he suffered a hamstring injury in the Deadlift and had to pull out of the competition.

Felix was not the only athlete to suffer in the Strongman Classic. The Stoltman brothers seemed exhausted from the get go, with Luke notably failing the 190 kg axle. Tom, meanwhile, did not seem to be in his best shape only a month after winning his first World's Strongest Man title. This was expected – and so was Tom's performance in the Atlas Stones. The younger Stoltman won the event easily, finishing in under 17 seconds, allowing him to salvage 5th place overall.

Sadly for Cheick Sanou, he had to retire before the final event due to a bicep injury. According to Colin Bryce, the organizers made the decision to take Iron Biby out of the contest to avoid aggravating his condition. Despite this, Biby had sent his message, taking 3rd overall and proving that he can master more than just the overhead events.

Shahlaei's Heroic Comeback

On June 13, 2019, Laurence Shahlaei suffered what was thought to be a career-ending injury when he tore his Achilles tendon at the World's Strongest Man contest. However, this was not the way he wanted to leave the strongman scene.

Shahlaei made his comeback at the Strongman Classic, and he showed that he still belonged, finishing ahead of current UK's Strongest Man Gavin Bilton and 2020 WSM finalist Aivars Šmaukstelis.

The London crowd professed its love for Shahlaei many times during the contest, and the 2016 Europe's Strongest Man champion paid them back with solid performances in multiple events. "Big Loz" delivered an especially gutsy effort during the Deadlift, grinding out 4 difficult reps of the 350 kg axle.

After placing the fifth Atlas stone on its podium in a very respectable time, Shahlaei addressed the crowd for one last time.

"It's been an amazing journey, with lots of ups and downs. But this [pointing the crowd], this has been incredible here tonight. What a place to go out, in front of so many fans!"

Shahlaei thanked the crowd and underlined all the work done by Colin Bryce and Darren Sadler to make the sport of strongman better – Big Loz also thanked them for having given him the chance to compete one last time.

2022 WSM

As with every Giants Live competition, the top three finishers are guaranteed an invite to the following year's World's Strongest Man contest. Oleksii Novikov, Evan Singleton and Cheick Sanou will therefore all get invites. If Sanou accepts, it will be his first WSM appearance. The athlete from Burkina Faso was slated to compete at the 2018 WSM, but a bout with malaria prevented him from doing so.

The next stop in the World's Strongest Man Qualifying Tour will take place on August 14, with the Giants Live World Open in Manchester, England. The top six finishers from the Strongman Classic will be there, but Rauno Heinla, Gabriel Peña and Mikhail Shivlyakov are going to challenge them. The contest will feature the 2021 World Deadlift Championships.

After a 10-month hiatus, Strongman Champions League is ready to resume its activities. The SCL is going back to Fefor Høifjellshotell in Vinstra, Norway, to continue its 2020-2021 season.

Current SCL leader Sean O'Hagan will compete in the Norwegian stage, but his closest pursuer, Aivars Šmaukstelis, will take part in the Giants Live Strongman Classic instead. Other leading SCL contenders such as Ervin Toots, Kelvin de Ruiter and Dennis Kohlruss will look to challenge O'Hagan, who was the winner in Norway last year.

The host country will be well represented in this contest, but Norway's Strongest Man title winner Ole Martin Kristiansen will not be there. Instead, the men who finished second, third and fourth in the 2020 Norway's Strongest Man contest will compete. It will be an SCL debut for Henrik Hildeskor, who had stopped competing for multiple years before his impressive showing on the Norwegian scene in 2020. Stefan Sekej is used to international competitions, and he will look to improve on his best result, a 9th place finish in 2019 SCL Norway. Håkon Heitmann Kollerød will also get his first taste of the Strongman Champions League.

Veteran strongman Dainis Zageris will be a threat, as always. The Latvian has 12 SCL wins to his name over his career, and a victory in Norway would tie him for 3rd place in SCL victories with Ervin Katona. Zageris most recently won the 2020 SCL Finland competition ahead of Aivars Šmaukstelis and Ervin Toots.

The 2021 SCL Norway competition is the 4th stage of the 2020-2021 Strongman Champions League season. The SCL decided to hold one season over two years because of the many cancellations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nine SCL competitions will be held this year, with the World Finals possibly taking place in late November.

With multiple athletes withdrawing from the Giants Live Strongman Classic, which will be held on July 24 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, two additional strongmen have been given invitations to participate in the contest.

Two-time UK's Strongest Man Gavin Bilton will be making an appearance in the Giants Live Strongman Classic. "The Welsh Bull" won his second UK title in May and acquitted himself well in his group at World's Strongest Man two weeks ago.

The competition features good events for Bilton, including the Hercules Hold. Last year, the Welshman finished 4th in this event at the Europe's Strongest Man contest, nearly holding on for a full minute.

Ireland's Pa O'Dwyer also received his invitation to the Royal Albert Hall show earlier this week. "The Limerick Lion" most recently competed at the 2021 UK's Strongest Man competition, finishing 4th.

"Over the moon to be apart of this show! It’s been 120 years since the Royal Albert Hall held the last Strongman show and I’m delighted to be flying the Irish flag at it", said O'Dwyer on Instagram.

The Deadlift for reps could be O'Dwyer's best event at the Giants Live Strongman Classic. The Irishman pulled a solid 6 reps with 345 kg at the 2020 World's Strongest Man contest.

Giants Live have confirmed that three athletes have currently pulled out of the Strongman Classic: Terry Hollands, Mateusz Kieliszkowski and Luke Richardson are all recovering from serious injuries at the moment, and they will not be able to compete on July 24. Kieliszkowski has now resumed training after undergoing tricep surgery, while Hollands and Richardson both suffered a torn bicep at World's Strongest Man in June.

The full lineup for the 2021 Giants Live Strongman Classic is available here.

The 2021 World's Strongest Man (WSM) competition is now over. After a week of fantastic performances by 25 elite strength athletes, Tom Stoltman is leaving Sacramento as the World's Strongest Man.

Stoltman knew it, too. As he left his native Scotland, he posted to social media that he would be "coming home as the World's Strongest Man."

Road to the Title

Tom Stoltman started his 2021 WSM campaign the right way on June 15, setting the best time out of all groups in the Loading Medley. "The Albatross" had struggled with his grip in the past, but he made the frame carry portion of the Loading Medley look easy. Stoltman then tied for the win in the Deadlift with Mark Felix and Trey Mitchell, putting him in the driver's seat in group 2.

But then, a series of 3rd place finishes in the Train Push, Overhead Medley and Pickaxe Hold meant that Mitchell won the group by a single point. This forced Stoltman, the "King of Stones" to take on Mark Felix in the Stone Off.

It was a mere formality for the eventual WSM Champion. Stoltman easily matched Felix's 5 lifts, finishing on a 200 kg stone, qualifying him for his 3rd consecutive WSM Final.

"The Albatross" went off to a blistering start in the Giant's Medley. Despite almost being beaten by his older brother, Luke Stoltman, Tom proceeded to win the event. He then dominated the Titan's Turntable, giving him a 7-point lead - the largest lead after two events in the history of WSM. A tie for 2nd place in the Reign Keg Toss put Stoltman in a great position after 3 of 6 events.

In the Max Log Lift, however, Stoltman lost his balance while attempting to press 195 kg, meaning that he would tie for 8th place in the event. Still, the damage was limited by his closest rival, 4-time Champion Brian Shaw, failing to lift 205 kg.

In the KNAACK Deadlift, Shaw again edged out Stoltman, 9 reps to 8, closing the gap down to a single point. It would all come down to the Atlas Stones, which were once Shaw's event.

But now, it's Tom Stoltman's event. And in a must-win situation, the 6- foot-8 Scotsman delivered, completing the set in 20.21 seconds, more than 8 seconds ahead of his closest rival, Canada's Maxime Boudreault.

Rare Occurrences

By winning his 1st WSM title, Tom Stoltman has become the 5th first-time winner of the competition in the last 5 years. It is the first time in WSM history that new champions have been crowned for 5 years in a row.

Stoltman is also the first WSM Champion to win the first two events in the WSM Final since Vasyl Virastyuk did so, back in 2004.

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