Mitchell Hooper Reveals His Predictions for the 2024 World’s Strongest Man – Fitnessnacks

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    The 2024 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) contest is set for May 1-5, 2024, in Myrtle Beach, SC. While the reigning champion Mitchell Hooper will be making his first title defense attempt, many of the sport’s biggest names are sitting on the sidelines this year.

    The 2024 WSM roster has been plagued with withdrawals due to injuries. Top WSM contenders of the past half-decade, including Martins Licis, Mateusz Kieliszkowski, and Oleksii Novikov, have all withdrawn. Likewise, younger athletes with a ton of promise have also bowed out of the event, including Shane Flowers and Kristján Jón Haraldsson.

    Predicting the final standings for a contest with an ever-changing roster is challenging. However, Hooper shared his leaderboard predictions when the contest wraps on May 5. Check out his takes below:

    [Related: Ronnie Coleman vs. Mariusz Pudzianowski: A Fantasy Strongman Showdown]

    The breakdown of the competition is as follows:

    • Day One — Qualifying Stage
    • Day Two — Qualifying Stage
    • Day Three — Rest Day
    • Day Four — WSM Final
    • Day Five — WSM Final

    Each day of competition features three events, meaning that the entire contest contains 12 events. However, only the top 10 athletes at the end of Qualifying will advance to the WSM Final.

    The Qualifying stage holds six groups of five athletes. While not officially stated that group selection is seeded, Hooper does not mince words, stating that WSM will, “100 percent,” make the groups, “somewhat even and reasonable.”

    The winner of each Qualifying group advances to the WSM Final. Second and third-place finishers in each group battle in a Stone-Off, the latter of which must lift first. The winner of each Stone-Off will move on to the Final.

    Day One comprises the Webster Stones (similar to a Nicol Stone carry), the Deadlift Ladder, and the Sandbag Steeplechase (effectively a loading race). Day Two comprises the Viking Press, the Car Walk, and the Stone-Off.

    Mitchell Hooper’s 2024 WSM Final Predictions

    Here are the athletes Hooper believes will advance through the Qualifying Stage:

    • Mitchell Hooper
    • Tom Stoltman
    • Evan Singleton
    • Mathew Ragg
    • Rauno Heinla
    • Luke Stoltman
    • Aivars Smaukstelis
    • Trey Mitchell
    • Bobby Thompson
    • Austin Andrade / Jaco Schoonwinkel

    [Related: Rob Kearney Will Retire From Competitive Strongman After 2024 World’s Strongest Man]

    2024 WSM Final | Day One Predictions

    The opening event of the 2024 WSM Final is the KNAACK Medley. Hooper considers this a “bread and butter” event for him, and history only supports that claim.

    The second event is a Max Axle Press, in which athletes must have an effective technique to secure heavier loads but look toward the athletes with impressive overhead strength to excel.

    Thompson’s prowess overhead, with his shorter stature comparatively to the field, means he has to travel the weight a smaller distance and can press with the best. Expect a big performance from the “American Nightmare.”

    The Keg Toss closes the first day of the WSM Final, and Hooper’s predicted field is situated to advantage Tom Stoltman. He has shown in the past that he can push the toss to world-record heights and will be the tallest athlete in the field, which is certainly favored in this type of event.

    However, athletes with explosive power and impressive speed can likely keep pace (read: guys like Hooper, Singleton, and Mitchell if he is fully recovered from his Achilles injury from the 2023 Rogue Strongman Invitational).

    2024 WSM Final | Day Two Predictions

    Conan’s Wheel opens the closing day of competition. The Zercher position for distance around an axis will test stamina and, according to Hooper, “how bad [each athlete] wants it.” Distance events like this will heavily favor those who run the event last, as the information for distance to beat is an unparalleled advantage that typically skews this contest.

    Hooper told BarBend in 2023 that his leader’s advantage through the Final (i.e., knowing reps and distances to beat during his run) was equivalent to a five or six-point advantage. Given that WSM Final events award 10 points to the winner of each event, having an effective half-event handicap in a six-event contest is monumental.

    Deadlift for Reps is the penultimate event of the competition, and no one has shown better deadlift results than Hooper over the past year. The athletes likely to contend for the win in this event from his predicted finalists are Thompson, Ragg, and Mitchell (again, assuming he is competing at 100 percent). Similarly, Tom Stoltman’s deadlift is among the best in the world on his good days.

    The closing event is the Atlas Stones. No one on the planet is contesting Tom Stoltman in that arena if history repeats itself. However, Stoltman’s edge is common knowledge among all the athletes, and they are almost certainly calibrating the performances they need to afford conceding first-place points to Tom Stoltman in the Stones.

    If Tom Stoltman has a one-point lead overall heading into the Atlas Stones, he is almost assuredly locked for a third WSM title (the tie-breaker is each athlete’s Atlas Stones time.)

    Winner Thoughts

    At the end of the day, Hooper feels the contest will culminate in a rematch from 2023 for the throne — Mitchell Hooper vs. Tom Stoltman for the title. Given the results from the past year across the various major strongman contests, this stands as the default belief as we head to Myrtle Beach.

    While the rest of the field is expected to battle for bronze, many WSM debuts are happening in 2024. As we saw with Schoonwinkel in 2023, before injury pulled him from the competition, rookie heat can strike in Myrtle Beach. Suffice to say, the 2024 WSM will be filled with unpredictable performances that could shake up the elite level of the sport.

    Featured Image: @theworldsstrongestman on Instagram

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