Scotland’s Tom Stoltman is celebrating this week after beating off competition from 29 other athletes to be named the World’s Strongest Man (WSM). The 27-year-old Highlander, who hails from the port town of Invergordon, became one of the few strongman to win back-to-back titles on Sunday (May 29).
Held in Sacramento, California, for the second year running, the competition is by far the biggest in the strength sports calendar. Despite winning only one of the weekend finale’s events, Stoltman finished in the top three in each task having sailed through last week’s qualifying rounds.
Despite sitting in third position behind leader Oleksiy Novikov, the Ukrainian power house and 2020 title winner, with two events to go, his rival founded in the power stairs. It gave the Scotsman a 1.5 point lead heading into the final event, and his favorite of his, the Atlas stones.
READMORE:Scot Tom Stoltman scoops World’s Strongest Man crown for second year in a row
Last year, Stoltman became the first Scot to win the coveted title and is the first strongman to win back-to-back WSM titles since American Brian Shaw won his fourth in 2016. He joins England’s Geoff Capes as the only two Brits to retain their WSM titles. and one of only 10 to do so in the competition’s 45-year history.
Standing at 6ft 8in tall and weighing in at 397lb (180kg), he was already a two-time Scotland’s Strongest Man champion. He is also the younger brother of five-time Scotland’s Strongest Man and 2021 European champion, Luke Stoltman, 37, who finished a creditable 7th in this year’s contest.
Tom Stoltman’s personal records
As you’d imagine, Tom Stoltman has a pretty impressive resume when it comes to his personal records across a variety of strength events. In the gym he has deadlifted 420 kg (930 lb), with a 215 kg (474 lb) best in the log press. His personal best squat lift in the gym is 345 kg (761 lb), and he is the current world record holder for the Atlas stones – where athletes have to lift small boulders onto a platform – with a 286 kg (631 lb) best.
When it comes to powerlifting, he is also no slouch. In the squat he has a record of 325 kg (717 lb), a 220kg (490 lb) in the bench press and a deadlift best of 360 kg (790 lb).
Elsewhere in WSM competition, his deadlift (with straps and deadlift suit) record is 430 kg (950 lb), with an 18-inch deadlift best of 478 kg (1,054 lb). Stoltman also has a personal best of 190 kg (420 lb) in the axle press, and a keg toss record of 7.50m (24.6 ft).
What has Tom Stolman said about his autism diagnosis?
Stoltman has been married to his wife Sinead since 2015 and is reported to be a big fan of Rangers FC. He was diagnosed with autism when he was just five years old.
He took to his YouTube channel in February this year to share his experience with the condition. He describes being bullied at school and how his teachers “didn’t understand it”. “A lot of people didn’t understand it,” he added.
“Childhood for me was very hard, I got bullied in school, I just wanted to hide away to myself,” he said. He said an exchange with a teacher, someone he had trusted, who told him he would never amount to anything in his life from him was a particularly crushing blow
Stoltman said that his experience at school made him so unhappy that, at one point, that he even contemplated suicide. Nowadays, however, he considers autism his “superpower” from him.
“I think, with the autism, the gym saved my life,” he said, even though he hated it at first “with all the mirrors and people” when brother Tom first got him involved. “Everything is quiet, without a thought in my head,” he It will be just tunnel vision and I’d literally tear the bar apart until I’m either dead or get told to stop.”
Stoltman said it was speaking to a clinical psychologist that helped him deal with his mental “fragility” and build up his confidence until it matched his physical strength. “Before then I was physically strong but mentally weak, but then I went to being a champion within a year-and-a-half – just by having somebody talk to me on a screen,” he said.
Although still a young man with much of his career still ahead of him, Stoltman said he wants to leave behind a legacy, particularly for other young people with autism, and show them how it’s possible to be a success. “There’s Tom Stoltman, he has autism,” he said. “He’s won the World’s Strongest Man…let’s do it.”
The WSM contest highlights are available to watch online via YouTube. It is unclear when or where the competition will be broadcast on TV in the UK. Last year, Channel 5 carried delayed coverage in December.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.