By Neola Wilby
Nostalgia, World Records and marriage proposals at Giants Live’s London debut!
On Saturday the 6th July 2019 Giants Live brought strongman out of the North of England for its first big Arena show in London. The crowd at Wembley Arena were treated to some strongman action in true epic Giants Live style.
The night kicked off with the much anticipated World Deadlift Championships 2019. It was the first time the competition has been run as a max weight event since Eddie’s famous half tonne world record.
The Championships were as inspirational and entertaining as ever, with a starting weight of 400 KILOS! With all but Luke Stoltman making that first lift, it showed just how much Eddie’s incredible feat in 2016 really has raised the bar and driven forward strength athletics to exciting new heights.
Only Tom Stoltman and Kieliskowski were knocked out in the second round, with 420kg on the bar and Heinla and Bremner both skipped the 420 lift to head straight for the 440kg deadlift.
Heinla, Pritchett, Kearney, Bishop and Nedzmin all smashed the 440kg lift and USA’s Jerry Pritchett and Estonian Rauno Heinla pulled 455kgs – both with strong, fast, confident lifts.
Bosnian Nedzmin Ambeskovic was the only other man to attempt the 455kg lift but, alas, it wasn’t his night. In an emotional interview after the lift, Nedz explained how proud he was to represent Bosnia and dedicated his lifting to his father who was sadly killed at war.
Though he apologised to the crowd and was visibly disheartened that he hadn’t made the lift, the supportive strongman crowd was not in the least bit disappointed - and we hope it’s not the last we will see from Nedz at Giants Live!
Back on that famous half tonne night in 2016, Jerry and Bennidict Magnisson both pulled 465kilo lifts, sharing the record for the second biggest weight ever lifted from the floor. With Benni out of the running with a hamstring injury, all hopes were pinned on Pritchett to beat his own record and get close to the 500, but, despite huge support from the crowd with chants of ‘Jer-ry, Jer-ry, Jer-ry’, the American didn’t manage to beat his previous competition best. Though he was the only man to attempt it, his 467.5kg lift was unsuccessful.
So the World Deadlift Championships ended with a joint victory for Pritchett and Heinla. Though Eddie’s record sits safe for another year, with such strong and promising lifters in our midst, we left the competition more convinced than ever that the mythical 501 deadlift really will be possible one day.
Deadlift guests, Nedzmin and Bremner, then left the remaining athletes to continue with the show. Event 2 was the hand-shredding Farmer’s Walk where athletes must race over a 40m course carrying steel girders weighing 160kg - in each hand!
Kieliskowski took the lead with a speedy 18.78 second run, but the prize for most entertaining run had to go to Kearney and Bishop for their photo finish - with barely a tenth of a second in it!
Event 3 was the 150kg overhead safe press – for reps! Scotsman, Luke Stoltman, managed an incredible 12 repetitions but was just pipped by Kieliskowski who smashed out 13 reps for the event win.
Although Luke was the only athlete unable to lift the starting weight in event 1, he was on good form for the rest of the competition and would have placed on the podium if his deadlift had not let him down.
One of the most epic moments of the night had to be Mark Felix beating his own world record in Event 4 - the Pillars of Hercules. With an 83.62 second hold, smashing his previous record of 82.26 seconds, the ever-humble 53 year old athlete continues to defy the aging process and astonish and inspire us all. Felix is absolutely deserving of the roar of the crowd and worship he received from Wembley Arena.
Next, there was a unique strength showdown with a little sprinkling of nostalgia as 3 x World’s Strongest Man, Bill Kazmaier, and 4 x World’s Strongest Man, Magnus Ver Magnusson went head-to-head on the Pillars of Hercules.
Seeing the look in Kaz’s eyes as he got pumped for the lift backstage, we were all momentarily transported back in time. Childhood memories of watching these true legends on TV at Christmas in the 1980’s and 90’s came flooding back. Seeing them out of retirement and competing live was such a special moment for all 6,000 strongman fans in the Arena.
Show organisers had adjusted the Pillars of Hercules to reduce the weight by around 20kgs each side for the Legends Challenge, but it seemed Magnus Ver Magnusson was on a mission to prove there was no need to mollycoddle these granddaddies of strength. The whole audience was stunned, screaming and on their feet as Maggi held on for a for a jaw-dropping 1:41:20 seconds!
It was a huge win for ‘old man strength’ and both men received a standing ovation and the absolute respect of the crowd for their sportsmanship. Maggi may have won the Challenge, but Kaz, the older of the two men at age 65, showed he’s still got it, too, looking as buff as ever and ripping off his shirt in celebration - just like old times!
Of course, we ended the evening with the Atlas Stones. 5 stones - 120kg, 140kg, 160kg, 180kg and 200kg – must be loaded onto huge platforms as fast as humanly possible!
Licis, after not performing as well as many had expected on the back of his recent big win, managed to pull back enough points with a 20.37 second stone run to place third in the competition overall. It was a great podium finish for the Americans as Pritchett came in second place, despite straining a recent pec injury on the Safe Press in event 3.
Poland’s Mateusz Kieliskowski won the event, solidifying his place as one of the strongest men in the world and surely paving his journey to becoming a future World’s Strongest Man.
The 2019 World's Strongest Man Arena Tour concludes on 7 September 2019 at Manchester Arena! Don’t miss the last show of the season!
And next year, Giants Live returns to London for the Strongman Classic at the Royal Albert Hall in what promises to be the crowning jewel of the 2020 World’s Strongest Man Arena Tour. You don’t wanna miss this celebration of strongman history! Find out first when pre-sale tickets go on sale! >>here<<.