The announcement is not yet official, but the ten invitees to the Arnold Strongman Classic have been known for a few weeks now. None of the invites are truly surprising, but there is a little “hhmmmm” factor to consider. Coupled with the announcement that the 2012 ASC champion Mike Jenkins is sitting the 2013 version out due to a surgical knee issue, we have a field of nine. No announcement has been made as to who will fill the number ten slot, but those in the know are hoping to see tradition return.
Editors note: Since this article was posted several interesting things transpired on the same day of publication. First, reigning Worlds Strongest Man and 7x Arnold Strongman Classic Champion Zydrunas Savickas has withdrawn from the 2013 Arnold. Sources are not clear, but it is rumored he amongst others is frustrated at the increasing weights of the events and he is picking carefully when he will compete in 2013. Replacing Big Z will be Icelands deadlift world record holder of 1,015lbs, Benedict Magnussen. In other news, the All American Strongman event at the L.A. Expo will infact give the winner the last invitation to the Arnold Strongman Classic in Columbus, Ohio....
Promoter and master's athlete Odd Haugen produces the All-American Strongman Championship which takes place every January at the L.A. Fit Expo in the namesakes, Los Angeles, Ca. In the past few years, the winner of Odds' event was given a spot in the March dance in Columbus. Last year, Mike Burke championed an outstanding weekend in L.A. and took the golden ticket to the Arnold he went on to finish in the top half of the field at the ASC. This year there was no plan to do allow someone the opportunity to win their way to Columbus via a win in L.A. Will the announcement be made soon that the All-American athletes will get a shot?
Others in the industry believe it will be another American named to replace Mike Jenkins. The question is who? Robert Oberst seems like he could be a good fit. Oberst took third in his very first pro show at the America's Strongest Man. As we know, the ASC favors massive men vs smaller men and at 6' 6” and 400+lbs, Oberst fits that bill. Travis Ortmayer who has been to the big show on several occasions is always a possibility, but after a less than stellar 2012, is not likely. So the question is who then? Who will fill Big Mike Jenkins shoes?
There are a plethora of big men across the pond who are itching to make the trip to the states for one of the biggest events in the world. But again, who?
In the mean time, here is the list of invitees as we know it now. Dr Terry Todd and company are always looking for top talent to make this show THE show fans of the sport look forward to. Now with Arnold stops in Brazil and Europe, it's hard to know if the U.S. will continue to be THE place to compete...
Mikhail Koklyaev – Russia
Zydrunas Savickas – Lithuania
Vytautas Lalas – Lithunia
Brian Shaw – United States
Mike Burke, Jr – United States
Adam Scherr – United States
Derek Poundstone – United States
Thor Bjornsson – Iceland
Krzysztof Radzikowski – Poland