The 2021 Europe’s Strongest Man (ESM) competition took place on Saturday, September 4, 2021, at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, England. The event brought together several of the top Strongman athletes who duked it out for top spots and almost 10,000 fans. Last year’s winner Luke Richardson would not defend his title due to suffering a biceps injury and Scotland’s Luke Stoltman would secure the victory.
The 36-year-old Strongman veteran is a 5-time winner of Scotland’s Strongest Man and placed 7th at the World’s Strongest Man contest in both 2019 and 2021. He also broke the British log lift record last year.
Luke’s younger brother Tom (Stoltman) won the 2021 World’s Strongest Man competition and was scheduled to compete at ESM as well, however, he had to withdraw after testing positive for Covid-19.
The placings earned both Stoltman and Hicks a spot at the 2022 World’s Strongest Man competition while Novikov is already eligible for the competition.
Athlete Final standings
- Luke Stoltman (GBR) — 40.5 points
- Oleksii Novikov (UKR) — 39 points
- Graham Hicks (GBR) — 30.5 points
- Rauno Heinla (EST) — 30 points
- Marius Lalas (LTU) — 28 points (T-5)
- Pa O’Dwyer (IRL) — 28 points (T-5)
- Ervin Toots (EST) — 20 points
- Gavin Bilton (GBR) — 12 points
- Johnny Hanson (SWE) — 11 points
- Adam Bishop (GBR) — 1 point
Here are the details of each event from the competition.
Max Log Lift
The log lift Championships was one of the highlights of ESM and it was an exhilarating event with two of the best log pressers in the world participating in Luke Stoltman and Graham Hicks who’ve approached Big Z’s (Zydrunas Savickas) 228 kg/502.6 lbs record that’s held since 2005.
Another significant presser, Cheick “Iron Biby” Sanou who holds the axle press record of 217 kg/478.4 lbs was supposed to compete as a guest but couldn’t make it out due personal reasons.
Stoltman and Hicks ended up tying for first with a 195 kg/429.9 lbs log press. Novikov took second with 180 kg/396.8 lbs.
The rest of the field could not advance past 180 kg which was the opening weight for the event.
Next up was the Shield Carry where athletes had to carry, well, a shield for distance. Lithuania’s Marius Lalas outperformed the group by carrying the crazy heavy 200kg/440.9 lbs shield for 54.2 meters. Stoltman was the runner-up in the event while Ervin Toots was third.
- Marius Lalas — 54.2 meters
- Luke Stoltman — 42.2 meters
- Ervin Toots — 37.7 meters
- Rauno Heinla — 37.05 meters
- Pa O’Dwyer — 34.85 meters
- Gavin Bolton — 32.1 meters
- Oleksii Novikov — 27.85 meters
- Graham Hicks — 27.4 meters
- Johnny Hanson — 22.3 meters
- Adam Bishop — 7.45 meters
This event shows who possesses otherworldly total-body strength and mental stamina and to no surprise, deadlift master Rauno Heinla completed the most reps (9) with 360kg/793.7 lbs.
Graham Hicks did 8 reps and Marius Lalas, Oleksii Novikov, and PA O’ Dwyer all finished with 6 reps for a three-way third-place tie.
Adam Bishop, another top deadlifter, had to withdraw prior to this event due to an injury.
- Rauno Heinla — 9 reps
- Graham Hicks — 8 reps
- Marius Lalas — 6 reps
- Oleksii Novikov — 6 reps
- Pa O’Dwyer — 6 reps
- Gavin Bilton — 5 reps
- Luke Stoltman — 3 reps
- Ervin Toots — 2 reps
- Johnny Hansson — 0 reps
In the car walk event, athletes race down a 20 meters long course while carrying a 450 kg/992 lb Volkswagen Beetle frame and Oleksii Novikov sealed the deal with the fastest time of 11.19 seconds.
Stoltman made it in 13.59 seconds for a second-place finish and PA O’ Dwyer was third with 16.07 seconds.
- Oleksii Novikov — 11.19 seconds
- Luke Stoltman — 13.59 seconds
- Pa O’Dwyer — 16.07 seconds
- Marius Lalas — 16.79 seconds
- Johnny Hansson — 20.6 seconds
- Rauno Heinla — 22.84 seconds
- Ervin Toots — 24.91 seconds
- Graham Hicks — 25.76 seconds
- Gavin Bilton — 7.73 meters*
Bilton was the only competitor who didn’t make it past the line and therefore his result was displayed by distance.
For the final event, the Strongman athletes had to lift massive stones from the floor up onto the platforms, and Oleksii Novikov was the best in this event, lifting all six stones in a time of 18.74 seconds.
Stoltman’s second-place performance of 5 stones in a time of 20.58 seconds was enough to get him the overall win at Europe’s Strongest Man.
- Oleksii Novikov — 6 in 18.74 seconds
- Luke Stoltman — 5 in 20.58 seconds
- Rauno Heinla — 5 in 21.2 seconds
- Pa O’Dwyer — 5 in 22.23 seconds
- Graham Hicks — 5 in 22.42 seconds
- Ervin Toots — 5 in 23.5 seconds
- Marius Lalas — 5 in 24.76 seconds
- Johnny Hansson — 5 in 48.01 seconds
That’s a Wrap!
It came down to the top guys battling it out for first, but ultimately, there could only be one winner at the 2021 Europe’s Strongest Man and that was Luke Stoltman who held it down and made his little brother proud in the process. This is also his first international title, and what a feat to edge out Ukraine’s Oleksii Novikov who’s been on fire lately.
We look forward to seeing how he performs in future Strongman competitions, and all of the athletes who competed on Saturday deserve to be acknowledged for their efforts.