On 6 April Tom and Luke Stoltman competed against the strongest “strong men” from across Europe at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
They faced back-to-back Arnold Strongman Classic winner Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, also known as “The Mountain” in Game of Thrones.
This year, the competition brought some of the strongest men from Georgia, Iceland, Poland, Russia and the United Kingdom.
This sport is so versatile that it attracts men from other sports such as powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, rugby, discus throw, and arm wrestling. Some of the men work or serve as police officers or even marines outside of the sport.
In each event, the strong men earn points for their performance and whoever has collected the most points at the end wins. Like a pentathlon, this competition tests raw strength, speed and endurance, making every year different from the last.
This year, nine athletes had to prove themselves in five different events, starting with a log press. An athlete has to lift a giant wooden log off the platform by grabbing two grip handles within it, then roll it up to the chest and then lift it over their head. The winner is the one who presses the heaviest log.
Both Stoltman brothers pressed 190kg and shared third place at the log press. The winner, Mateusz Kieliszkowski from Poland, placed with a massive 214kg lift.
This event also had many uncompeting special guests, including bodybuilder Larry Wheels and the World’s Strongest Man Rob Kearney.
The second event was a Giant 350kg Axle deadlift. To win this event, the competitor needs to pull the bar above his knees and lock the back out and make sure they complete at least one more rep than their opponents.
The axle deadlift didn’t go well for the Scottish brothers – Luke placed last, Tom was fifth. Thor Bjornsson from Iceland placed first with 10 reps.
Third sees the athelete complete a tractor tyre flip and a giant anchor pull medley in the shortest time possible. This superset tests endurance and raw strength.
Younger brother Tom placed third, with Luke only one position behind.
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One of our favourite moments from Saturday 😍 An incredible stone run and the ultimate show of brotherly love and sportsmanship from Scotland’s Strongest, @tomstoltman and @luke.stoltman 💪 . . 👉 Watch the full livestream only at @officialstrongman_ 👉 Join us on the next stop of the 2019 Tour! 6 July 2019 – Giants Live Wembley @ssearena *featuring the World Deadlift Championships* [TICKET LINK IN BIO!]
The fourth event is two Giant Pillars of Hercules – this event tests the contender’s endurance and determination as they lift two very heavy pillars off the ground using grips and hold them for as long as possible.
This event wasn’t so easy for Tom – he finished last. Luke performed better than his brother, placing 6th. Mark Felix, a 53-year-old veteran from England proved that age is just a number and placed first in this round.
The penultimate test is the atlas stones, which is traditionally the last event in most competitions. Athletes need to lift five stones off the ground and put them on platforms starting with the lightest stone and moving to the heaviest as quickly as possible.
Tom is known as a top-notch stone lifter and his dominant first place performance was no surprise – lifting all five stones in just under 22 seconds. Luke competed directly against his brother, but finished sixth with the atlas stones.
After all five extreme strength events, Bjornsson placed first with a huge point advantage and, with this victory won his 5th Europe’s Strongest Man title. Kieliszkowski came second and Konstantine Janashia from Georgia finished third.
Tom, who finished third at Britain’s Strongest Man 2019, finished fourth at the European tournament and Luke finished sixth overall.
Tom shared his thoughts on this accomplishment on his Instagram: “First Europes and highest placed Brit and one mistake cost me podium. Was wanting 5th or 6th so to be 4th and that close to podium felt special.
“Onto the next one! Every comp I’m wanting to grow mentally and physically and get a step closer to wsm each time.”
Luke also talked about his performance: “Going head to head with the best stone lifter in the world who happens to be my brother was something special. The pride I have seeing Tom show the world he is going to be the best is incredible. Moments like that don’t come around so we have to grasp them and make it count.”