This was a long time coming, just a little History. I have bought tickets multiple times for the Giants Live Show and work has always clashed on the last minute so I have missed it. At Body Power 2018 I was walking by the SBD Stand taking more water to the lovely Paige Hathaway and everyone was queueing for Hafthor “The Mountain” Bjornsson and Big Z when I noticed someone, I wanted to meet and as yet hadn’t had the chance.
Colin Bryce (right) was that person, I was more psyched to meet him than Hafthor or anyone else at the Body Power event. I told him I had bought multiple tickets, and never actually made the Giants Live show. I told him I had once emailed Giants Live about shooting there and his wife Monica basically told me “see that short pier, long walk please” only much more politely he just chuckled like it was the norm. When I met Monica she was lovely :). I had a decent chat with him about the sport and I had a little Fan boi moment too. Colin has been an Olympic bob-sleigher, a pro wrestler, even a strongman competitor but more importantly he’s been at the heart of the Strongman World for nearly a Decade and has such a vast knowledge of the sport and all athletes including those coming through and the future direction of the sport. Anyway he told me to come on down and check out the Giants Live final at the Manchester Arena in 4 months, and since its my home town I kept the weekend free and boom there I am.
It was a fantastic show, the shear amount of people involved in the show from about 50-60 arena staff, about 25 people from Giants Live, and about 20 event management people, a dozen filming and shooting, its such a huge thing and ran almost without mistakes.
Family Friendly Event
I spoke to a dozen members of the 7,000 strong audience vox pops style, many of them noted how the athletes had many friends and family in the audience. Indeed even Colin and his wife had their daughter at the event too.
There was one chap whose phone battery had died and he had been waiting to meet Eddie Hall for an age, and he had little twin girls who was so excited but they wasn’t able to get a pic so he asked me if I could take a picture for him. He even offered to pay me, but that wouldn’t be in the spirit of strongman, so I took the pic and emailed it over him. The wee girls loved the pic. I’ll ask the father if I can post the picture here so you guys can see them 🙂
I can 100% without a shadow of a doubt tell you, Strongman and Giants Live are 100% a family event. There was so many excited kids, this was also commented on by some of the ShowSec Security guys, who said they had never seen so many young kids at such an event. The ShoeSec guys also commented how approachable and friendly everyone was, taking time to chat and do photos etc, unlike various other acts they names (but I won’t repeat).
I didn’t get to speak to Mikhail Shivlyakov but the comradery and sportsmanship between these two gents is truly inspiring. To the extent that they pushed each other and psyched each other up, I have little doubt neither man would have pushed as hard as they did alone.
At one point Shivlyakov was giving Janashia a head and shoulder massage and giving him a pep-talk to get him ready to smash the next event. It was non-shouting encouragement and then shouting back in Russian, a plenty of people in the audience joined in shouting too, people really got behind the pair. Interesting in the Strongman Team show, they are teaming up as Team Bear and I think they will be outstanding together.
There were similar comradery between Matjaz Belsak and Adam Bishop too.
Eddie Hall Commentary
Eddie “The Beast” Hall was in attendance and doing the commentary, it was interesting to hear that Eddie Hall thinks the Harlequins Strength Coach is going to huge. Eddie was also blown away by Kieliszkowski’s improved technique with stones, I have said before he could improve his technique, now he has and WOW!
I am backing Martins Licis, Konstantine Janashia, Mateusz Kieliszkowski and Iron Biby to be the the new blood and heralds of change. Around a decade ago Big Z stepped up and The Dominator Stepped down, soon after Brian Shaw and Hafthor Bjornsson arrived and the podium was set. I think the same change is occurring again only this time its these 4 guys.
Eddie is returning to competition on 19th January 2019 at the Giants Live in Leeds, Eddies transformation from Deadlifting Powerhouse to Dominator-esque svelt power should be in line by then and we’ll see the new more toned Eddie. I can tell you he’s gotta be 25% smaller than last time met him in 2017.
The Winners of Giants Live Final
The winners and the final score was somewhat of a surprise, I was expecting Kieliszkowski, Janashia, Licis to take the podium stops, but wasn’t sure what order. I was pretty sure Kieliszkowski would win, the man is just plain impressive and we have only just started to see this machine.
1, Mateusz Kieliszkowski – 44 Points
2, Martins Licis – 43.5 Points
3, Adam Bishop – 37.5 Points
4, Matjaz Belsak – 36 Points
5, Vytautas Lalas – 31.5 Points
Kieliszkowski only had 1 weak event which was the Giant Axle Press, it almost felt like watching Mariusz Pudzianowski all over again, he just dominated nearly every event, coming 1st or 2nd in all events part from the press. Ironically Martins Licis weakest event was the Car Walk, if they both improved these fields they would have both been circling the 50s and annihilated everyone else.
There is a funny photo from when Licis see’s the final scores in black and white and he’s telling Kieliszkowski, “This close”, although I initially captioned it differently in my head.
A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.