World's Strongest Man Hafþór 'Thor' Björnsson will quite literally face a gripping new superhuman challenge to keep hold of his Europe's Strongest man title in Leeds - meet the The Pillars of Hercules.
Like a Medieval torture device, which threatens to pull them apart, the strongmen must use chains to hold two giant pillars of weight upright, either side of them, for as long as possible.
There is no time limit and the winner is the muscle man who is able to support both pillars for the longest time.
It's a version of the Hercule's Hold - used only before at the World's Strongest Man finals - where each pillar weighs a staggering 160kgs, a total combined weight of more than 50st.
The new big pull, never before seen in Leeds, is one of five gruelling trials of strength featuring some of the biggest names in strongman competition taking part in Giants Live Europe’s Strongest Man 2019 showdown at Leeds First Direct Arena on Saturday, April 6.
BUY TICKETS: Tickets are £23.70 to £131, with VIP tickets including the opportunity to meet the strongmen. For full details and to book tickets visit www.firstdirectarena.com or call call 0844 248 1585.
BUY MERCHANDISE: Visit the Giants Live store online for a new range of strongman clothing and more at store.giants-live.com.
Four times ESM champion and new World’s Strongest Man Thor, AKA 'The Mountain' from TV;s Game of Thrones, is odds-on favourite to secure a record fifth title
But 11 competitors will be standing in his way including World’s Strongest Man runner-up Mateusz Kieliszkowski from Poland.
Four times World’s Strongest Man winner, USA's Brian Shaw, will also be going up against Thor and all-comers when he guests in event one, The World Log Lift Championships.
Also takibg part in the log lift will be last year's joint winner and new fan favourite, Iron Biby of Burkina Faso, the 180kg, cartwheeling behemoth who has arguably the best shot at overcoming Zydrunas Savickas’ 228kg world record. Though Shaw will also have his sights on Robert Oberst’s American record of 211kg.
Brit-hating braggart, Oberst, is also going to be there with Rob Kearney - the world’s first openly gay professional strongman. New strength sensation, Larry Wheels, who has moved from bodybuilding to powerlifting stardom and now aims to test his strength among the biggest in the world.
Newly- crowned Britain’s Strongest Man, Graham Hicks, from Morecambe, who won his first major title in Sheffield last month looks to be in superb form and will be eying a podium place and the British log record, of 213kg, held by retired former World Strongest Man, now show host and pundit, Eddie Hall - who famously set a half a tonne deadlift world record in Leeds.
Scotland’s Luke Stoltman may also look to add to his recent 200kg press, especially with his six foot eight inch younger brother Tom “The Albatross”, breathing down his neck. Tom placed 3rd at Britain’s and may have gone a couple better had it not been for a disastrous 2nd event.
The second event will be a 350kg / 770lbs deadlift for repetitions – an event ideally suited to both Björnsson and The Georgian Bull, Konstantine Janashia, who is a former world deadlift champion.
The tyre flip and chain drag in event three will provide a change of pace from the static lifting and athletes like Kieliszkowski, former professional rugby player, Adam Bishop, and Terry Hollands will look to make their move up the leaderboard.
Event four, The Pillars of Hercules, brings the vital element of grip strength into the equation, which might just result in one of the major contenders’ chances slipping through their fingers.
The athletes will have to block out the pain as they hold up the two massive pillars connected to chains using just the strength in their bare hands. as they battle to stop their arms being pulled from their sockets.
The final event, the Atlas Stones, will be a mouth watering prospect with Björnsson and Kieliszkowski regarded as the best in the world very possibly going head to head. However, if Tom Stoltman’s stone run at the British Championships is anything to go by, both men could be under significant threat in this event.
Few would bet against the mighty Thor in what should be one of the greatest spectacles of strength Europe’s Strongest Man has ever seen. But the sheer volume of talented athletes will put the big guns under relentless pressure and as has been so often seen, one slip and it could all be over.
The trials of strength, all devised by organiser Darren Sadler, are reminiscent of the twelve legendary labours performed by the mythical Greek demi-god, Hercules.
Sadler’s ethos is to provide a mixed array of events, thus providing an all-round examination of the athletes’ abilities.
all-conquering Icelandic strongman Thor
Now the 6ft 9ins and 30st muscle star turned actor, who plays The Mountain in TV smash hit Game Of Thrones, has confirmed he will return to the UK in his bid to be Europe champ for a fifth time.
* Tickets are also on sale for Britain’s Strongest Man 2020 which will return to Sheffield FlyDSA Arena on Saturday, January 18, priced £28 to £196, Call the box office on 0114 256 5656 or visit www.flydsaarena.co.uk