As I predicted, this year’s Arnold Strongman Festival has turned out to be a hugely exciting event. First Derek Poundstone, the 2009 and 2010 ASC champion bowed out of competition due to complications of a previous back injury only three days before his pending arrival in Columbus. On the same day 6x national powerlifting champion Brian Siders also withdrew due to an unspecified injury. Veteran Mark Felix takes gets a 72 hours-notice invitation to fill in one of the spots, but the other remained vacant. Add in a new world record, broken not once, but 3 times, in the deadlift and it makes for a wild start to the weekend.
As for the American’s, two big men showed the world their true worth in this game. Massive underdog Mike Jenkins showed what he had to make the 390lb Apallons wheel press where some of the others faltered. He then went on to pull a new personal record of 906 and place in the top half of the field. Big Brian Shaw came in today at his usual 6’ 8” frame but added a very muscular 15lbs to his already massive 420lbs. It translated to a big double push and a third place in the wheels, but broke the world record in the deadlift with a 1,060lb pull.
On the other side of the spectrum, Travis Ortmayer and Nick Best had tremendous subpar performances today, much to their families chagrin. Travis, coming off an a badly broken ankle at the World’s Strongest Man last year, opted to try the heavier of the two Apallons bars and missed completely. He later came back to push the small bar for two reps thus taking him out of the cellar in the points chase. In the next event, Travis started off his pulls hitting a clean 944 opener that looked really nice but jumped to 1,010 and missed it with two tries. Nick Best opted to pass on the 415lb bar and went to the small one right away. Two tight cleans but no presses on this event. In the deadlift Nick went right to the bar at 944 for a powerful pull but missed his second and third attempts of 1,005lbs. Friday was a massively disappointing day for these two.
The not so surprising Lithuanian and 6 time Arnold Strongman Classic champion Zydrunas Savickas has been one step ahead of everyone today. For every pull and push, Big Z has had his own uncompromising answer. Misha Koklyev pushed 4 reps out of the large Apallon bar and Big Z came back with 5. When UK deadlifting phenom Mark Felix broke the ASC deadlift record of 1,038 with a massive and convincing 1,060… Big Z went 1093lbs. Brian Shaw also went 1,093lbs and then followed with a 1,107lb pull for a massive new PR. However, Big Z wasn’t done. He pulled a 1,110lb pull for a new ASC record and an exclamation on his day.
Tomorrow is a whole new day with all new events. First event Saturday is the Manhood stones. Two stones, weighing 452lbs and the second 535lbs are to be lifted over a 49” bar as many times as possible. Each athlete can choose which stone they want to lift and each is scored in a weighted scoring system. The second event of the afternoon is the Timber Carry. This year’s apparatus is up 175lbs from 2009’s unit. Athletes will carry the Timber up a 32’ inclined ramp as quickly as possible. This year contestants are allowed to use lifting straps on the bar for added leverage making this a test of overall strength and athleticism.
This year’s Arnold Strongman Classic is still wide open for the top half of the field to make a big move for this year’s ASC crown. Find our exclusive play by play coverage Saturday at 2:00pm EST in Muscle Central at RxMuscle.com.