The fourth event of the 2023 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) contest in Myrtle Beach, SC, occurred on Day Two of competition on April 19. The 30 Qualifying stage athletes battled in the “Conan’s Wheel,” tasking each to carry a 440-pound apparatus filled with large stones in a circle via a Zercher grip for the farthest distance possible.
The strongmen in each of the five Qualifying groups went in turn order based on their rank from in the Log Ladder event at the end of Day One.
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2023 World’s Strongest Man Loading Race Results
Below are the results for each of the groups:
- Pavlo Kordiyaka — 742 degrees
- Pa O’Dwyer — 722 degrees
- Bobby Thompson — 649 degrees
- Konstantine Janashia — 633 degrees
- Eddie Williams — 614 degrees
- Tom Stoltman — 598 degrees
O’Dwyer was the first athlete to the Wheel on the sunny 63-degree morning. He banged out a full rotation and showed no signs of fatigue until the tail end of the run at a distance of 722 degrees.
Janashia entered the stage second. A big lift to kick off the effort led to a smooth first rotation. Long strides looked good until a sudden drop was met with the medical team hopping onto the platform. Janashia was administered oxygen but remained on his feet and walked off on his own.
Williams ran third for a warmed-up crowd. A slower heel-toe approach garnered a clean first rotation. His head bobbled at the halfway mark in the second rotation, and the run ended shortly thereafter.
Thompson shuttled in the clean-up position. His hamstring scare at the end of Day One did not appear to join him on Day Two. A high hoist of the Wheel on his sternum offered comfortable positioning. He dropped near the mark where Janashia fell and rested on the bar for an extended period as the blood rush left his head.
The announcer touted Kordiyaka as the fifth to run. A steady first rotation that slowed at the 9 o’clock mark lasted until he touched the floor just past the second full rotation.
Tom Stoltman had the leader’s advantage of knowing the distance to beat — Kordiyaka’s 742 degrees. Stoltman racked the weight high and tight to his sternum. His grip slipped at a rotation and a half, and he couldn’t regain it despite an intense fight to do so.
- Oleksii Novikov — 897 degrees
- Gavin Bilton — 557 degrees
- Luke Stoltman — 545 degrees
- Kristján Jón Haraldsson — 524 degrees
- Fadi El Masri — 70 degrees
- Thomas Evans — 69 degrees
El Masri opened the event for Group Two. He lifted the apparatus three times only to set it back down before leaving the starting zone to officially begin his run. Once to the course on his fourth attempt, it only remained off the ground for less than a right angle.
Haraldsson ran second in his WSM debut. A steady stride through a full rotation revved up the crowd. A long lunge right before the halfway mark on the second rotation ended the run.
Bilton moved quickly compared to the previous two in his group. He passed Haraldsson’s mark, but his drop was abrupt. The strategy of the hare over the tortoise put him in the lead with three athletes to go.
Novikov ran fourth for the group. A high rack and fast feet closed the first rotation in style. His pace only increased as he destroyed the rest of the field to score the farthest distance of the entire field at 897 degrees.
Luke Stoltman entered the stage and zoned in, listening to the crowd’s chants of “Spicy!” A big lift led to a slight back-peddle before the run took off. One rotation down and his breathing became labored. The Wheel felt another half-rotation before kissing the ground.
Evans was the last athlete in the group, and he faced the seemingly impossible task of eclipsing Novikov’s run. An unfortunate trip early in the run ended it shortly after it began.
- Mitchell Hooper — 636 degrees
- Mathew Ragg — 628 degrees
- Aivars Šmaukstelis — 575 degrees
- Mateusz Kieliszkowski — 538 degrees
- Spenser Remick — 470 degrees
- Graham Hicks — 425 degrees
Remick opened the show for Group Three. A tight hug on the bar cleared the first rotation. A stop-and-start pace in the first quarter of the second rotation won the crowd’s favor.
Kieliszkowski stepped up to run second in the group. He took a near-running pace through the entire one-and-a-half rotations of his heat. The Polish strongman appeared disappointed as he exited the stage.
Šmaukstelis yawned before his full-toothed grin led him to the stage. His eyeline shifted constantly as his head bobbled throughout, but his run was enough to lead the first half of the group.
Hicks ran fourth in the group, and his lower center of gravity was his edge in the event. He was steady until passing go on the first rotation and dropped shortly thereafter.
Ragg ran the penultimate heat for his group. A shaky opening leveled out by the time he collected the figurative $200. He used that to pay his way to the boardwalk at 9 o’clock and take over the lead.
Hooper entered the stage last to continue his perfect game thus far in the contest. A winning result would lock up the group win with only one event left before the Stone-Off. He clasped his hands at a half-moon and ground his way to a winning distance, leveraging the leader’s advantage of running last. This win locked him in the overall win in Group Three and his second consecutive WSM Final appearance.
- Jaco Schoonwinkel — 713 degrees
- Kevin Faires — 636 degrees
- Rauno Heinla — 572 degrees
- Gabriel Rhéaume — 476 degrees
- Brian Shaw — 411 degrees
- Adam Bishop — 292 degrees
Bishop ran the opener for Group Four. He locked in a three-quarter circumference before stumbling and dropping the Wheel. He was clearly upset with the result and stormed off the stage after a moment to catch his breath.
Rhéaume was second to run and scorched Bishop’s distance by a half circle. It was a solid run but unlikely to hold the lead. It ultimately resulted in fourth overall in the event.
A stoic Faires ran third in the group, and his prowess for midline events was displayed. He took the event lead off a steady-handed run with the same distance Hooper scored to win Group Three.
Heinla stepped up in the fourth position to continue his impressive performance thus far in Qualifying. It was just another day at the office for the Estonian, making a clean run into second place with two athletes to go.
Schoonwinkel has impressed thus far in the contest and took the penultimate run for Group Four. He was the first strongman to move the Wheel without a lifting belt. A full rotation showed the South African unfazed. He dropped narrowly before crossing the checkpoint of a second rotation.
Shaw took the last run in the group, knowing Schoonwinkel’s distance is the one that mattered. A deep squat and tight lift of the Wheel and the big man went into cruise control. A staggered pace took hold after one rotation, off-setting his hips, making the run unsustainable for much longer.
- Eythor Ingolfsson Melsted — 629 degrees
- Evan Singleton — 589 degrees
- Trey Mitchell — 523 degress
- Paul Smith — 518 degrees
- Mark Felix — 470 degrees
- Jean-Stephan Coraboeuf — 143 degrees
Felix opened for Group Five, and his pace and composure walking with 440 pounds in his arms would have fooled anyone that he’s the oldest WSM competitor ever at 57. The announcer dropped the presentational facade momentarily as Felix’s run genuinely impressed him.
Coraboeuf took the second position in the turn order. The drone camera filming overhead sounded like a cloud of locusts as the French strongman took hold of the Wheel. Rolling heel to toe helped him open strong, but a sudden drop before a half circle sent him off stage early.
Smith was in third position, and a strong and steady run helped him overtake the lead from Felix. A fast heat for Smith saw him on and off stage in less than a minute.
Ingolfsson Melsted ran fourth for Group Five, four points back of second overall. He was effectively locked to compete in the Stone-Off but still had space to gain the runner-up advantage of lifting second. A tight midline paired with a blistering pace left only a quarter of the second rotation on the table.
Singleton ran next, only a half-point behind Mitchell for the overall lead in the group. A bounce at the initial lift was the only noticeable shift before a smooth trip around the arena fell just shy of Ingolfsson Melsted’s mark.
Mitchell closed out the event yet again and knew the distance to beat. The upcoming Kettlebell Toss is historically a weak event for Mitchell, so cushioning his lead by two points over Singleton would be a boon for his chances to maintain his stand atop the group. Floating through the first rotation as his beard danced on his face, he slowed by 3 o’clock on the second rotation. He finished short of Singleton’s mark, and the group remains a nail-biter with one event left before the Stone-Off.
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