Worlds strongest man contest swells on AMI beaches

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A shot-for-TV strongman contest June 16 takes up the north end of the Manatee Public Beach, with spectators clamoring for a glimpse of “Mountain,” one of 25 contestants. The World’s Strongest Man was crowned at the beach. Islander Photo: Jack Elka
Great Britain’s Luke Stoltman and Trey Mitchell of the United States race towards the finish line with 250-pound kegs during the Tachi Palace World’s Strongest Man finals June 16 at Manatee Public Beach. Earlier events were held in Bradenton and at Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach. Islander Photo: Kevin P. Cassidy
The cameras go up June 16 for Hafthor Julius Bjornsson of Iceland — “Mountain” in the Game of Thrones — as he lifts a 375-pound log in the of the Tachi Palace World’s Strongest Man at Manatee Public Beach. More photos, page 24. Islander Photo: Kevin P. Cassidy
A sandcastle on the beach welcomed people to the 2019 Tachi Palace World’s Strongest Man sporting event at the Manatee Public Beach. Islander Photo: Kevin P. Cassidy
Hafthór Júlíus Björnsson, representing Iceland at the 2019 Tachi Palace World’s Strongest Man competition, overhead presses a 345-pound circus barbell June 16 during the finals in Holmes Beach. Islander Photo: Ryan Paice
Adam Bishop, representing Great Britain in the World’s Strongest Man competition, one-hand overhead presses a 220-pound circus dumbbell June 16. Islander Photo: Ryan Paice
Eddie Williams, left, representing Australia at the 2019 Tachi Palace World’s Strongest Man competition, competes against Aivars Smaukstelis, representing Latvia, for repetitions during the overhead log press event June 14 at Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach. Islander Photo: Ryan Paice
Aaron West, who hosted the final day of the 2019 Tachi Palace World’s Strongest Man competition, announces the next round of competitors in the June 16 finals. Islander Photo: Ryan Paice
Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, representing Iceland at the 2019 Tachi Palace World’s Strongest Man competition, poses June 14 for fans after competing in the overhead log press. Björnsson, known for his role as Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane in HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” was crowned champion at the 2018 competition. Islander Photo: Ryan Paice
Mikhail Shivlyakov, representing Russia at the 2019 Tachi Palace World’s Strongest Man competition, overhead presses a 341-pound wood log June 14 for his fifth of six repetitions during the events. Islander Photo: Ryan Paice

Muscles, beach crowds, TV cameras. What a competition!

The Tachi Palace World’s Strongest Man contest descended upon Bradenton and Anna Maria Island June 13-16. The event started in downtown Bradenton with 25 competitors in five groups. They participated in five events over three days, including semifinals at Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach and the finals — for 10 competitors — at Manatee Public Beach in Holmes Beach.

The athletes competed in a monster truck pull, giant’s medley, super yoke and farmers walk, deadlift reps, overhead press reps and last-man standing over the first three days of the event.

They battled it out for the title of world’s strongest man in five events, including the loading race, where competitors carried a 250-pound keg, a 275-pound anvil and two 300-pound sandbags, racing a distance of 12 meters to place the objects on a 42-inch-high table.

The second event saw two athletes go head-to-head, picking up four weights in succession in a timed race. They started with two 130-pound dumbbells, a 220-pound weight that they had to hold up with one arm, a 350-pound circus barbell and, finally, a 375-pound log.

The third event was the overhead press medley followed by the squat lift, where competitors tried to get the most reps.

Finally, the signature event of the World’s Strongest Man, the atlas stones.

In this event, competitors lift and put five stones on a table faster than their opponents. The stones start at 260 pounds and get heavier, culminating with a stone that weighs 440 pounds.

The competition brought about1,000 enthusiastic and curious people to each venue, though getting a good look at the action was difficult.

Some folks adapted and found ways to get a view, including a few people who brought stepladders to peer over the crowd.

The finals at the beach concluded with an awards ceremony celebrating the champion — the World’s Strongest Man —  Martins Licis of the United States.

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