2010 Arnold Strongman Classic
The season has started! The Arnold Strongman Classic took place March 4-7 in Columbus, OH. It’s part of a greater event, the Arnold Sports Festival, which covers everything from arm wrestling to Irish dancing to fencing.
I wish I could’ve gone this year. I’m an Ohioan by birth and Columbus is about an hour from my hometown. It’s actually good that I wasn’t planning to go, seeing as how my whole household was sick (I’ll spare you the gory details, but it was ugly).
In any case, their strongman competition for pros consisted of five events, and it was a close race.
The first event was Apollon’s Wheel. It’s an extremely heavy clean and press with a starting weight of 371 lbs.
The succession of weights ran to 393, 415, 437, and finally to 459 lbs. When the athlete felt like he had reached his upper limit for weight, he was to do as many reps as possible at that weight.
I said before that Strongman scoring is weird, and this event is a prime example. Heavy weight trumps reps, so one lift at 459 lbs scores higher than 3 reps at 437 lbs.The bar started at 371lbs and increased to 393, 415, 437, and finally 459lbs.
Three competitors successfully pressed the 459lb bar, Zydrunas Savickas and Derek Poundstone, along with Misha Koklyaev of Russia. Savickas won this event with ten points (no surprise there). Our World’s Strongest Man champion owns this event.
I know, I know, sounds a little phallocentric. Well, it does take huevos grandes to attempt this event! In the World’s Strongest Man circuit, this event is called Atlas Stones. This interpretation, where you lift increasingly heavy stones over a bar, is relatively new.
These stones were crazy heavy. Stupidly heavy, even. The heaviest stone this year was 533 lbs., the highest ever used in competition. Compare that to the 353 lb stone used in the Axio Labs Strongman event in South Africa last year, and you’ll immediately understand the low scoring.
Poundstone lifted the 533lb stone three times as did Brian Shaw and Travis Ortmayer. In a crazy twist, they all slipped trying to get it over the bar a fourth time. As such, placing was decided by the split times of each man. Shaw did it the fastest, so he was awarded ten points.
Savickas, the current World’s Strongest Man, only earned 3.5 points in this round, as moved from first to fifth place. Ouch. The guys took a break to come back the next day to finish the competition.
Circus Dumbbell Lift
This event is flat out bananas. A one-armed lift with a 228 lb dumbbell? It’s even ludacris to type it.
There’s a guy at my guy who does 180 lb. tricep presses on an incline bench. He asks me to spot him sometimes. He starts with the 100 lb. dumbbell, then I place a 45 lb and a 35 lb plate on top of it.
Seeing my friend do this with two arms, I can’t imagine what it would be like to do a one-armed clean and jerk with that monster of a dumbbell. Not only are we working the crap out of the shoulders, we’re also talking amazing grip strength here.
The guys started in reverse order of standings, which adds to the crazy excitement of an event. Savickas thrust up a ninth rep, and the crowd was going wild. No surprise there, I’d applaud if my husband and I could lift that thing together.
Then Poundstone stepped up and showed us why he won the Arnold last year. He hit ten reps with 30 seconds left on the clock and called it an event. It’s gotta be great to be the leader and know exactly what you have to do to get the win!
Y’all, for real. I barely have words for this event. You know how large car tires are, right? Well, let’s think about this. They stacked three tires on each side of a bar and told the guys to start lifting.
I have to say, I’m surprised at how well Savickas did in this event. He’s got a hamstring injury, and after that disappointing showing in the Manhood Stones, I wasn’t expecting much from him. Oh ye of little faith, says he.
Savickas managed a 1027 lb lift. Can you believe that? Brian Shaw, my pick for the next big American strongman, came in second, and our reigning Arnold champion came in at a respectable 1016 lbs.
The guys then took a much-needed and well deserved break. The final event, the timber carry, was to be held on the main stage in the evening. Going into this event, Captain America was leading Savickas by 3 points.
Last year, the logs for the timber carry weighed about 900 lbs. Since apparently this event is going for a record in batcrap crazy, they decided to up the ante and give our guys one heck of a finish.
This event is called the Giant Farmer’s Walk in WSM events, so you may be familiar with it.
Not only were they carrying 1000 joint-ripping pounds, they were also navigating a steep incline. Bonkers, I tell you. The first three guys weren’t able to make a go of things, but Phil Phister showed us all how it’s done. It took him almost 21 seconds, but at least he proved it could be done.
Then Brian Shaw stepped up and flew up the incline. I don’t know if he tripped on the incline itself or got a little cocky and lost focus, but he dropped the timbers just short of the finish. What a heartbreaker.
Then our big Russian, Misha Koklyaev, practically ran up the ramp in 11.85 seconds. It’s the stuff of legends. I’m sure everyone in the room felt the tension as Zydrunas Savickas stepped up to the apparatus.
After all, Poundstone might screw up and allow him to win, but that could only happen if Savickas beat Koklyaev’s time. Even if he was unable to win, he could at least take second place with a good time. Savickas delivered, with a time of 10.16 seconds.
Now, if you’re Derek Poundstone, all you have to do is finish and not take four minutes to do it. Seriously, he was four points ahead, so it wasn’t going to take the performance of his life to repeat as Arnold Strongman Classic champion.
Never one to back down from a challenge, Derek showed us what he’s made of. He got to the top of that 36 foot ramp in 9.28 seconds. 3.9 feet per second, carrying 1003 lbs. I think we have a champion on our hands!
The coolest part? After he engaged in the obligatory handshaking and check accepting, he invited his girlfriend onto the stage.
He proposed to her. She accepted, there was cheering and crying and celebrating. What a perfect ending to a great competition. Congrats on the win and the soon-to-be wife, Derek Poundstone.
Derek Poundstone-45 points
Zydrunas Savickas-41 points
Travis Orymayer-37.5 points
Misha Koklyaev-37 points
Brian Shaw-33 points
Dave Ostlund-22.5 points
Phil Phister-20.5 points
Kostiantyn Ilin-17 points
Nick Best-13 points
Brian Siders-8.5 points