Since the dawn of humankind, the male physique has been associated with brute force. As such, it’s no surprise that there is an entire competition dedicated to men pushing the human body to its limits, and beyond.
The athletes who take part in the World’s Strongest Man competition, which has been running since 1977, are known for upping the ante each and every year – and last year marked the 40th anniversary of the annual competition. But its appeal wouldn’t be so enduring if it was simply about incremental gains. Rather, the feat attracts millions of fans each year on account of its inimitable moments, and of course, the personalities involved.
Thankfully, over the last 40 years, there have been no shortage of such instances. Take a gander at how the conception of the “World’s Strongest Man” has evolved throughout the decades.
1. 1977 – Bruce Wilhelm
Former Olympian and shot put champion, Bruce Wilhelm, won the first of two victories in a tug-of-war final, and was crowned the first ever World’s Strongest Man.
2. 1982 – Bill Kazmaier
Kazmaier won his third successive title in 1982, and became famous for claiming to be “the strongest man who ever lived” after equaling or surpassing spectacular feats of strength made by renowned athletes of the 20th century…
3. 1991 – Magnús ver Magnússon
Magnús ver Magnússon won the first of his four championships in 1991.
4. 1997 – Jouko Ahola
Ahola won the first of his two World’s Strongest Man titles in 1997, and also set the record for the Hercules Hold – managing to lift 434lbs for an eye-watering 45.7 seconds. In 1999, he’d go on to lift the heaviest ever Atlas Stone, which weighed 187kg.
5. 2002 – Mariusz Pudzianowski
Pudzianowski won the first of his five championships in 2002. He’d go on to win again in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008, making him the only World’s Strongest Man competitor to win five times.
6. 2006 – Phil Pfister
Not only was Pfister the first American to win the title since 1982, but he beat Mariusz Pudzianowski’s (then) three-time winning streak.
7. 2009 – Žydrūnas Savickas
Žydrūnas Savickas won the first of his three titles in 2009.
8. 2013 – Brian Shaw
In 2013, Brian Shaw won his second title in Sanya, China. He then went on to win first place in 2015 and 2016.
9. 2017 – Eddie Hall
Eddie Hall won the title of World’s Strongest Man in 2017, and is the current world record holder for deadlift with straps.
Well, I bet your gym gains aren’t feeling so impressive now. While such strong-men seem to possess superhuman skills, it’s evident that they spend a gruelling amount of time in the gym in order to be able to attempt such feats.