The time is nigh for the ultimate test of human power: The 2017 World’s Strongest Man.
If there is one trait fans of strongman have more than those of any other spectator sport, it’s patience. The biggest strongman events are over in a matter of days, and they only take place a few times per year. In early March, the season began in a flash with Brian Shaw’s victory at the Arnold Strongman Classic. But despite Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Midas Touch marketing, many fans still consider The World’s Strongest Man the pinnacle of the sport.
This year, WSM is doubling down on their previous location by returning to Botswana, Africa, where Brian Shaw and Zydrunas Savickas will look to beat each other and tie Mariusz Pudzianowski’s all-time record of five World’s Strongest Man titles.
In 2016, the event was held in Kasane, a city in the far north of this southern African country, near the borders of Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and before the backdrop of Chobe National Park’s wild elephants. For 2017, our favorite strongmen will move to the capital city, Gaborone, on the border of South Africa, situated between several non-profit wildlife reserves.
As readers may or may not know, Botswana is home to both white and black rhinos, which are under grave threats from ivory-hunting poachers. The government of Botswana has fought tenaciously against this environmental crisis, and as a result the rhinoceros populations have seen a dramatic rise. In fact, the nation has a dedicated Rhino Squad, prepared for combat against these armed criminals. Botswana’s aggressive preservation policies hope to keep their land populated with wonderful wildlife for visitors and strongmen on safari.
According to the Botswana Tourism Office, The 2017 World’s Strongest Man begins with Qualifiers on May 20th. The even more highly anticipated Finals will take place on May 27th & 28th.
Originally, the Botswana Tourism Office falsely reported that the event would take place between May 6th and 14th, but this information has since been corrected, and based on my conversation with WSM’s marketing wing, I expect The World’s Strongest Man to corroborate these new dates with an official press release soon.
Weather conditions this year should be familiar to the competitors, as Gaborone and Kasane share a climate classification as semi-arid. May is the beginning of winter in Botswana, so temperatures will be bearable. Botswana Tourism suggests their “winters are clear-skied and bone-dry,” with warm days and cold nights and mornings. No problem for our toughest lifters.
More challenging for this year’s competitors will be dethroning Brian Shaw, who has the benefit of defending his two-win streak in familiar territory.
Featured image: @theworldsstrongestman on Instagram
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