The World's Strongest Man first hit our TV screens way back in 1977, and in that time has produced and showcased the talents of so many incredible athletes. My top 10 were chosen based on their achievements in the sport and the legacy they leave behind. Let me know who features in your top 10 in the comments.
Before I dive in, here are some of my best of the rest that didn't quite make the cut.
O.D. was a monster of a man and a world champion powerlifter. In 1990's World's Strongest Man he was in first place going into the last event when there was a last minute event change, which saw the athletes running a race with bricks on their back. It was more cardio than strength, and resulted in O.D losing out of what I believe to be his deserved title that year.
Mike stormed onto the Strongman scene most notably in 2010, when he won the amateur Arnold's, earning himself an invite to the 2011 Arnold Classic.
Mike came 2nd in 2011's Arnold Classic and went on to win in 2012 - a massive achievement for an athlete who was relatively new to the international Strongman scene. In the three years that Mike qualified for World's, he made the final all three times.
Mike's untimely death in 2013 was a devastating loss to the sport. I've no doubt that this man would have been the World's Strongest Man. Mike was incredibly funny, charismatic and unbelievably talented. He is very sadly missed in the Strongman family.
Svend was a brilliant Strongman character in the 00's. The epitome of hard work and commitment, he placed 3rd at 1999's WSM, 2nd in 2000 and eventually took the title in 2001. The Viking had tremendous strength and athleticism, and was one of my favourite Strongmen to watch at the time.
Two time Arnold's Classic winner Derek is probably one of the strongest athletes never to have won The World's Strongest Man. A small mistake cost him the title in 2008. Derek was an incredible endurance athlete with a strong work ethic and tonnes of determination.
Number 10: Geoff Capes
Because no Strongman list would be complete without Geoff Capes. Two time World's Strongest Man winner Geoff was a real pioneer of the sport, with his epic rivalry between him and Jon Pall helping to generate public interest in Strongman. He had great athleticism and was strong enough statically to win at the time. The face of British Strongman for such a long time, you could ask almost anyone in Britain who Geoff Capes is and they'll likely be able to tell you.
Number 9: Vasyl Virastyuk
Probably the least well known athlete in my top 10, Vasyl competed throughout the 00's, and is one of just two athletes who won both The World's Strongest Man and the IFSA World Championships (the other guy being Zydrunas). Vasyl also took second place at the Arnold's three times behind Zydrunas, who was winning almost everything at the time, and has beaten both Mariusz and Zydrunas in their prime.
Safe to say, Vasyl is a strong dude. He was one of my favourite athletes to watch just before I started training for Strongman myself. His intensity, determination and explosiveness made him exciting to watch, and forever cements him in my top 10.
Number 8: Jon Pall Sigmarsson
Jon Pall Sigarsson is a name I still see cropping up on social media as being hailed the greatest of all time. Jon Pall was hugely popular thanks to his larger than life personality and amazing determination. He won a total of 4 World's Strongest Man titles, although as previously mentioned, I still believe that 1990 title belongs to OD Wilson.
In 1987, Jon Pall, Geoff and Kaz competed in Pure Strength, which was kind of like a mini World's Strongest Man just for the three of them. Jon Pall dominated the competition, proving that he really was number one at the time.
Number 7: Eddie Hall
Where to begin with Eddie Hall. I've been competing against Eddie for several years now, and watching his rise to the top was almost bewildering. I remember in 2012 Britain's Strongest Man, Eddie was forced to bow out of the deadlift when it reached 400kg, and just 4 years later went on to pull that incredible 500kg. One thing that can't be denied about Eddie, he's a man of his word. He always said he'd win WSM, and even when he wasn't placing anywhere in comps and people were saying it would never happen; Eddie remained adamant.
When it comes to pure strength, Eddie absolutely has a claim to being one of the strongest men to ever walk this planet. He was never quite as consistent at events as some of the other top guys, but statically he was second to none. Eddie never won the Strongman Grand Slam (WSM, Europe's and Arnold's), which is the only reason he's not higher up the list. However, his feats of strength, self belief and determination to succeed earn him a solid spot in my top 10.
Number 6: Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson
Right now I consider Thor to be the world number one. He's won everything there is to win and had a incredible 2018, winning Europe's, World's and the Arnold's. The guy doesn't have any weaknesses. A genetic freak, he's a static monster, incredibly athletic and has a work ethic second to none. For such a long time Thor was the 'nearly' guy; always the bridesmaid but never the bride. He's still hungry and I believe he could dominate in the sport for years to come if he stays motivated.
Thor became world famous thanks to his role as The Mountain in GoT, and many people thought he wouldn't have the same motivation to train and compete. This couldn't be further from reality. I stayed in Iceland for a few days last year to train with him, and when it comes to his training and recovery, no stone is left unturned. He has an excellent team working with him and I really do believe with his talent he has the potential to be the greatest of all time if he can stay motivated.
Number 5: Magnus Ver Magnusson
Magnus was always one of my favourite Strongmen to watch on TV. A four time World's Strongest Man winner, Magnus competed at a time when Strongman equipment wasn't readily available to train on, yet he had an amazing ability to adapt and to work the equipment out quickly. Magnus knew every trick in the book, and his smart approach to the events teamed with his strength and athletic ability made him a dominating force in the sport through the early to mid 90's.
For me, Magnus' most impressive achievement was in 1991 when he came into World's as a reserve and went on to win the competition. Who the hell wins World's the first time they compete?!
Magnus is still very involved in the sport and is the head referee at World's Strongest Man. He's known for being a strict but consistent and fair ref, and is well liked and respected by all the athletes.
Number 4: Bill Kazmaier
If I had to pick one favourite Strongman of all time, it would probably be Kaz. A three time World's Strongest Man winner, Kaz was probably the only guy from the 80's that was statically strong enough then to compete with the athletes of today. Kaz was a monster that dominated the static events and never really had anyone that could push him in that respect, because no one came close. I don't think we saw what Kaz was statically capable of as he was only as strong as he needed to be to out-lift the other athletes. Also a world champion powerlifter, many regard Kaz as one of the strongest men to have ever lived.
Kaz looked the part with his powerful physique and monster traps, and he had a scary intensity that went with it. Kaz was so intimidating that he genuinely scared athletes when it came to one on one events.
I wholeheartedly believe that Kaz would've taken many more WSM title wins had it not been for his ban where many of his prime years were taken away from him. Unfortunately, thanks to the ban we'll never know what he was truly capable of achieving in the sport.
Still heavily involved in the sport, Kaz is now a charismatic commentator for Giants Live, and he can often be found behind the scenes entertaining the athletes with his many stories.
Number 3: Mariusz Pudzianowski
Many people would consider Mariusz to be the greatest of all time with him having the most World's Strongest Man titles under his belt. A five time champion, Mariusz took the sport to another level in the 00's. Mariusz was never the strongest static athlete, which was apparent when it came to very heavy static competitions like the Arnold's.
However, in competitions like World's with a good mix of events, Mariusz was tough to beat. Also 6x Europe's Strongest Man, a 16x Super Series winner and 7x Poland's Strongest Man, the Arnold's was the only title to ever elude him. Mariusz had incredible endurance when it came to events for reps or distance, and thanks to his lean physique, he looked impressive too.
The only reason Mariusz isn't higher on my list is because he was winning World's at the time when World's split, and some of the top guys were competing in the IFSA World's Championships instead. That said, his 2003 WSM win is still for me one of the most impressive and dominating performances I've ever seen in the sport.
Number 2: Brian Shaw
Four time World's Strongest Man and three time Arnold's winner Brian Shaw is one of the smartest and most professional Strongmen you're ever likely to meet. As well as being genetically gifted and naturally talented, his attention to detail is what makes him really stand out from the rest.
Brian doesn't leave a single stone left unturned when it comes to his competition prep. He'll have replica equipment made for obscure events, he'll bring his own food with him half way across the world, and he analyses and plans absolutely everything to do with training and recovery.
Brian is a static beast, can move quickly and makes most events look like child's play. He's hugely motivated and despite the amount of contests he's won, he still wants more. Brian's won his titles in the toughest era of Strongman against the strongest opposition, and for that I regard him as one of the best ever.
Number 1: Zydrunas Savickas
I've talked about some awesome Strongmen and their impressive careers, but no one's Strongman career comes close to that of Zydrunas Savickas.
Four time's World's Strongest Man, two time IFSA World Champion, eight time Arnold's winner, and with countless other victories, titles and world records under his belt, Z has been hugely successful in the sport for over 20 years. Starting out in the Magnus Ver era and still competing and winning competitions now, no one has stayed at the top for such a long time and against such tough opposition.
People have counted Z out so many times over the years, yet he still has the ability to come back and shock with a world class performance. I say it all the damn time, 'Never count out Z.'
Z has always been known for his static strength, particularly his shoulder power. He originally broke the world log record in 2005 when he was the first man to put up 200kg, and year on year he's continued to take that record up a little bit at a time. It still sits with him now at 228kg.
One of the best things about Z is that despite his huge success in the sport, he remains a humble, grounded and approachable guy. I'm lucky to class him as a friend, but without bias and without doubt, to me he is the greatest Strongman of all time.
Until the next one,
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