Legendary Strongman Brian Shaw is widely considered to be one of the greatest strength athletes of all time. The four-time World’s Strongest Man recorded some insane lifts over the year, breaking multiple records and becoming an inspiration for many people. He was last seen in action at the 2023 World’s Strongest Man, which took place on April 19-23, in South Carolina. It did not go as well as he hoped, but in a recent video posted on YouTube, Shaw shared his thoughts on his final appearance at the competition.
Brian Shaw grew up playing basketball in his younger years and found a passion for lifting heavy weights while training to succeed in one of the most famous ball sports in the World. He kicked off his professional career as a Strongman at the Denver Strongest Man show in 2005. His WSM debut, however, came in 2008, while he also managed to land the third place on the podium the next year. In 2011, Shaw won the coveted WSM title and created history by becoming the first athlete to win both the WSM and the Arnold Strongman Classic in the same year. He repeated the feat by winning both titles in 2015 as well.
Shaw launched the inaugural Shaw Classic competition and scored gold in December 2020. He then started working on improving his training facilities and gave the fans a look into his massive new gym in July of last year. The equipment was modified to hold more weight and allow him and other contenders to fit in them. Then, he showed off his crazy strength by leg-pressing a 2,000-lb car in preparation for the 2022 Shaw Classic.
Brian Shaw also experimented with his eating process and switched out his usual diet to try a vegan one last September. Shaw wolfed down 9,000 calories from vegan food for a single day. He admitted he could never replace red meat from his diet and reported feeling uneasy due to the sudden change. A few weeks later, Shaw opened up about his reasons for not attempting a 500-kg (1,102.3-lb) deadlift at the height of his powers.
Speaking of Brian Shaw’s diet, the Trifecta CEO Greg Connolly spilled the beans on what it takes to feed the giant athlete. Connolly revealed it cost his firm over $60,000 per year to fuel Shaw.
Shaw teamed up with fellow icon Eddie Hall for a brutal shoulder workout last November. They collaborated again for a comical lower-body training session days later. However, as the start of a new season took place, Brian Shaw announced his plans to move on from elite competitions. He revealed the 2023 WSM would mark his last appearance at the competition. As for his final showing, Shaw will step away after participating in the upcoming 2023 Shaw Classic.
During the build-up to the contest, Shaw laid out how he nearly lost his leg after picking up an injury a few months ago. Fortunately, he was able to recover and get on track for the event. He detailed his battle with leg cellulitis that affected his ability to do basic tasks.
He completed his final appearance at the 2023 WSM, where he turned in a sensational performance at the stone-off and finished seventh overall.
Brian Shaw breaks silence on last appearance at 2023 World’s Strongest Man
In a recent YouTube video, Brian Shaw shared his thoughts on his final appearance at the 2023 World’s Strongest Man. He started by praising the other contenders before breaking down his performance.
“First and foremost I want to congratulate the guys that were at the top. Mitchell Hooper on winning, Tom Stoltman on second, and Oleksii Novikov on third,” said Shaw. “They performed very well and deserve to be up there on that podium. I know there were some questions about my leg, we put out some videos. I want to say my leg was not a factor as far as the competition goes on and really played no role. I did have to overcome that but it was in the rear view mirror by the time we competed so it did not play a role.
“I was ready to go I was dialed in, felt good, got my group definitely a tough group and I feel like all of these groups this year were tough in the qualifiers. I felt like I performed very well. I won two events, tied for first in the deadlift which I was happy about. The loading medley, third place really not that bad. I could’ve improved a couple different things maybe kinda got a couple seconds faster which may have changed one point there. In the end that might have been a big point but I really feel like the event I was disappointed with. The qualifiers was Conan’s Wheel, ended up in fifth place, I was going out last so I knew exactly what I had to do. I was so focused on getting my grip right and getting my feet in the right position and getting my pickup right. I just forgot to take that big breath that you need to take on a Conan’s wheel before you take off and start. I realized that about a quarter of the way into the first turn I just didn’t have much air. I opened myself up to not winning the group with that performance.”
Shaw talks about his historic stone-off & calls for a change in the format
He shared his mindset going into the stone-off battles for landing a spot in the finals. He argued against the current format as it puts those athletes at a disadvantage.
“I wish I could’ve found that extra half a point to win the group because I had to go into a stone off with Ronald. I knew he was one of the guys who you don’t want to get in a stone off situation. He can lift a lot so going into that stone off I had to really tap into a spot mentally and then get into a spot physically that I wanted to save for the final I did not want to tap into that in the qualifiers.”
“It was easy for me but the after effects of being in that stone off were probably more of a death sentence in this World’s Strongest Man competition. Then, I realized at the moment and I have to remember this is the first time that I’ve really been involved in a stone off. I obviously always disagreed with it. I always felt like it put the athletes that had to compete in the stone off at a massive disadvantage, especially if they had to do a big number of reps because your recovery before the final is challenging enough. Even with every effort I tried to put into recovering and being ready to go for the final. I just wasn’t able to recover. In hindsight, that’s really and truly what it kind of came down to for me. My training, the numbers I put up here were very good. I was very confident about walking into WSM and putting on a great show. I felt I was fully capable of winning WSM, especially with the events we had in the final.”
Brian Shaw believes his age may have factored in; analyzes day two
Brian Shaw believes the age gap with other athletes may have played into his recovery. He also gave his take on the second day of the contest.
“My game plan was to set the tone in the fingers be able to know how many reps I needed to pull in the deadlift and then be able to kind of dictate my distance. Instead of going in that order because of the rain they put the shield carry out first and then we did deadlift and then Fingal fingers so I had to deal with but so did the others.”
“I’m not sure if it was a fatigue factor or just coming out of the gate a little bit quick but I feel I burned up pretty quick and was only able to make it to about 40 meters which I knew was not going to be good enough for a good result in that event. So, I definitely got frustrated with that and tried my best to kind of put that behind me.”
“So finished with four fingers and I knew at that moment that was a big blow to my chances of being toward the top of WSM finishing toward the top. So I just had to kind of take a moment, go out, and sit by myself a little bit, and know the frustration was high. The disappointment was high.”
“Looking back my sleep not as good as it should have been. That was definitely a thing. I was not sleeping well and don’t know if that was the bed, my brain not turning off me not calming down.”
“When I had to do that stone off obviously it hurt me from a recovery standpoint work output standpoint and the simple fact is I am for a lot of these guys that are in the final I’m more than 10 years older than them, some of them closer to 15 years older than them. As much as I hate to say and admit it, it’s probably going to be harder for me to recover in that condensed period.”
“Day two of the finals, I kinda had to regroup. My training results were good in the warm-up. I could definitely tell the dumbbells felt heavier and that’s never something you want to feel. For it to feel heavier than it should, it definitely was an indicator I was tired again you strap it on. You go out, do what you can do, result was not what I wanted.
“Going into the bus pull, I love any type of heavy pull so I was hoping it would be hard heavy and it was definitely was anything but that. There was seven competitors that were separated by less than a second so that’s a massive indicator that it was too light and especially for WSM, it’s not good, it has to be a lot heavier. That was a massive letdown.”
“Going into stones, with this being my last WSM, I wanted to go out and put on a great show, give it everything I had and I did do that. I could tell from the first stone it was just way harder than it should have been far as carrying the stones in getting them loaded. The glutes and hamstrings just were not there.”
Shaw urged for changing refereeing standards
Brian Shaw called for a stricter standard for the head judge while criticizing the conduct in specific events.
“I truly hope they do in the future make it more of a pure competition. Another thing I wanted to talk about is the refereeing. It has not been at a standard that it should be at. A lot of people have pointed at the max dumbbell. It’s never the athlete’s fault. I think there needs to be a level in strongman and I’m certainly not the one that’s making the choices about who the head referee is. But if I was I’d be taking a hard look at the head referee.”
“I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t disappointed with my performance overall. I didn’t perform up to my capabilities but with everything that came with the competition what I had to fight through. I can honestly say that I gave it everything I had its was not for a lack of effort or trying. I think that at the end of the day I can only look at myself. If I say stone off took a lot out of me, I should’ve figured out a way in the qualifier to get another half point so I stayed out of that. I didn’t have to do that so again falls back completely on me. But it’s disappointing to go to WSM with that after the prep I had. I wasn’t able to fully put that on display and show everybody.”
He wasn’t satisfied with his performance and will be gearing up for the Shaw Classic.
“It’s tough to end my career at WSM with that performance but again it’s something that was special in so many different ways.”
“I am moving on. My next and final competition will be the Shaw Classic in Colorado in August. I’m excited about it.”
Bodybuilding legend Ronnie Coleman reacted to some of Brian Shaw’s craziest lifts in Strongman competitions earlier this week. He was left stunned by Shaw’s unreal strength.
Brian Shaw stands as the fourth-winningest strongman with 26 international competition wins under his belt. He will look to add another accolade when he competes at the Shaw Classic later this year.