Strongman. Not just a strange pseudo-portmanteau. It is also one of the most awe-inspiring sports on the planet.
This month sees the return of one of the most enjoyable spectacles on the British Strongman calendar - the teams competition. The World's Ultimate Strongest Team competition returns on 30th May 2015, this year being held at the Britannia Stadium, home of Stoke City FC.
The stadium, not usually known as the 'arena of giants', will be the setting for five herculean challenges, as eight teams from around the world challenge for the title of World's Strongest Team. Think a reworking of David versus the Goliath, but with only Goliaths.
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Eddie Hall announced on Twitter that he will team up with World's Strongest Man veteran Mark Felix. Felix, from Blackburn, has recently turned 49-years-old and represents the old guard of the sport - yet still this year he will be taking the team spot that 35-year-old Terry Hollands held last year.
Previous World's Strongest Man, and the man touted by many to be the strongest that ever lived, Zydrunas Savickas, will not be competing, however should be in attendance. It is perhaps Icelander Hafthor Bjornsson who will offer most competition for all, as he teams up with Austrian Oak and general nice guy, Martin Wildauer.
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Bjornsson, who will relish the opportunity to compete, will want to show the field that he has what it takes to follow in the footsteps of some of the greatest Icelandic strongmen, including Jon Pall Sigmarsson and Magnus Ver Magnusson.
The tournament will include fan favourite events such as the 2-man deadlift and atlas stones, but also unconventional strongman events such as 2-on-2 wrestling, which makes its first ever competitive appearance (not that a 2-man deadlift should be considered as 'conventional'...) All-in-all it should prove to be an eye-popping event, and not just for the spectators.
Eddie Hall, who has elevated his stature on the international stage since winning the UK title four times, is keen to impress fans on his home turf. At 6"3, Eddie can appear a little short compared to some in the sport, but he more than makes up for it with 26 and a half stone of muscle and attitude, and is sure to be a favourite with the crowds at the Britannia.
British man-lion Rob Frampton (not the 17th century Bishop of Gloucester) will also be taking part with his team-mate being up-and-coming talent, and Lancashire design engineer, Graham Hicks. And the field would not be complete without the presence of the American raiders, Jerry Pritchett and Mike Burke. Much like during the '40s, the Americans will go all-out to score in England.
The events in Stoke will be taking place just one month after World's Strongest Man 2015 - which was held in the slightly more tropical destination of Malaysia. Fans of the sport, due to ridiculous contractual obligations and a load of nonesense, will be forced to wait until Christmas to watch WSM on television, when it is eventually aired eight months late on Channel 5.
Tickets are still available for World's Ultimate Strongest Team 2015 @UltimateWST on twitter and via their website.
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