Full List of World’s Strongest Man (WSM) Winners

The World’s Strongest Man (WSM) is a strongman athletics competition held annually and has given the world some of the most powerful humans ever. Only 24 men have been able to win the prestigious accolade of being a WSM winner. In this guide, we’ll honor the list of World’s Strongest Man winners till 2023.

List of World's Strongest Man winners

As the Strongman universe prepares for the World’s Strongest Man contest 2024 which is scheduled for the first week of May in Myrtle Beach, S.C., it’s important to know about past legends of the sport. We have presented all the winners, runner-ups, and third-place holders of every WSM competition to date below.

All World’s Strongest Man Winners:

The World’s Strongest Man is a strongman competition designed to test the sheer limits of athletes. It not only pushes their physical strength but also their mental toughness and agility. Only the most powerful of the men in every aspect can stand tall and come out as the victor of the most coveted contest of the sport.

It’s none less than the Olympia, Super Bowl, and WrestleMania for a Strongman athlete. The 24 men we have discussed below were able to achieve the most prolific feat in the almost fifty years of history of strongman athletics. Let’s move further and take a look at all the winners of the World’s Strongest Man event till now.

1. Bruce Wilhelm (1977-1978):

Bruce Wilhelm etched his name in history when he won the inaugural World’s Strongest Man competition at Universal Studios, California in 1977 after defeating sports legends like Ken Patera, Bob Young, Franco Columbu, Lou Ferrigno, and others.

The American Olympic weightlifter and shot putter Wilhelm topped his feat in the following year and won for the second year in a row. So, Bruce Wilhelm is the first person to win the World’s Strongest Man contest.

WSM winners: Bruce Wilhelm

  • Country: America
  • Height: 6 feet 3
  • Weight: 326 lbs

2. Don Reinhoudt (1979):

Don Reinhoudt finished second at the 1978 World’s Strongest Man competition but then became the victor the next year. He won the 1979 WSM, an event which was the debut contest of strongman legend Bill Kazmaie, who placed third when Reinhoudt lifted the trophy.

WSM Winners: Don Reinhoudt

  • Country: America
  • Height: 6 feet 3
  • Weight: 380 lbs

3. Bill Kazmaier (1980-1982):

Just a year after his debut, Bill Kazmaier went on to win the World’s Strongest Man contest for three years in a row between 1980 and 1982. He was the first major superstar of the sport who helped increase its popularity on a global level. However, he went on a hiatus after 1982 and then returned to WSM in 1988.

WSM Winners: Bill Kazmaier

  • Country: America
  • Height: 6 feet 3
  • Weight: 326 lbs

4. Geoff Capes (1983, 1985):

Geoff Capes won the World’s Strongest Man contest in 1983 following Kazmaier’s absence. The British powerlifter became the first non-American man to win the WSM. He won the title once again in 1985 by defeating Jón Páll Sigmarsson by just 1.5 points.

WSM Winners: Geoff Capes

  • Country: England
  • Height: 6 feet 5
  • Weight: 375 lbs

5. Jón Páll Sigmarsson (1984, 1986, 1988, 1990):

Jón Páll Sigmarsson, from Iceland, came close to winning the WSM several times before finally lifting the trophy in 1984. He then won the World’s Strongest Man contest once again in 1986. Simarsson then won the title two more times, defeating the returning Kazmaier at WSM in 1988, and then in 1990.

Unfortunately, Sigmarsson died in 1993 at the age of just 32 due to an aortic rupture while deadlifting in his gym. It was speculated due to a congenital heart defect that he suffered from which could have been exacerbated by his use of anabolic steroids.

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WSM Winners: Jón Páll Sigmarsson

  • Country: Iceland
  • Height: 6 feet 3
  • Weight: 295 lbs

6. Jamie Reeves (1989):

Jamie Reeves was the second British man to win the World’s Strongest Man competition when he lifted the trophy in 1989. He managed to defeat legends like Simarsson and Kazmaier, who were placed third and fourth in the competition, respectively.

WSM Winners: Jamie Reeves

  • Country: England
  • Height: 6 feet 3
  • Weight: 322 lbs

7. Magnús Ver Magnússon (1991, 1994-1996):

Magnus Ver Magnusson was the second Icelandic strongman to dominate the WSM. He won his first title in 1991 and then became the runner-up in the next two years. Magnusson then regained his crown and won three straight WSM competitions from 1994 to 1996.

WSM Winners: Magnus Ver Magnusson

  • Country: Iceland
  • Height: 6 feet 3
  • Weight: 362 lbs

8. Ted van der Parre (1992):

Ted van der Parre is the first and only man from the Netherlands to win the World’s Strongest Man competition. He lifted the trophy in 1992 and was also a three-time champion of the Strongest Man of the Netherlands contest. He is also the tallest man ever to win the WSM.

WSM Winners: Ted van der Parre

  • Country: Iceland
  • Height: 6 feet 10
  • Weight: 350 lbs

9. Gary Taylor (1993):

Gary Taylor won the World’s Strongest Man in 1993 and became the shortest man ever to win the competition, a year after Parre became the tallest man to achieve the feet. However, he had a short-lived career as Taylor failed to move beyond the qualifying heats in the following year.

WSM Winners: Gary Taylor

  • Country: England
  • Height: 6 feet
  • Weight: 295 lbs

10. Jouko Ahola (1997, 1999):

Jouko Ahola ended Magnusson’s historic reign to win the 1997 World’s Strongest Man. He also went on to become the runner-up and then claimed the title once again in 1999. During this period, he also won two Europe’s Strongest Man championships.

WSM Winners: Jouko Ahola

  • Country: Finland
  • Height: 6 feet 1
  • Weight: 275 lbs

11. Magnus Samuelson (1998):

Magnus Samuelsson won the World’s Strongest Man title in 1998 in his fourth attempt for the championship. He was a famous second-generation arm wrestler from Sweden. He went on to compete in the WSM for nine more years but failed to become the victor. Samuelson retired from the sport in 2008.

WSM Winners: Magnus Samuelson

  • Country: Sweden
  • Height: 6 feet 7
  • Weight: 344 lbs

12. Janne Virtanen (2000):

Janne Virtanen was the runner-up at the 1999 World’s Strongest Man and then won the title a year later. He took the trophy from his fellow countryman Ahola, who didn’t defend his title in 2000. This year’s event was also the debut contest of Mariusz Pudzianowski, who later became one of the greatest legends of the sport.

WSM Winners: Janne Virtanen

  • Country: Finland
  • Height: 6 feet 5
  • Weight: 287 lbs

13. Svend Karlsen (2001):

Svend Karlsen became the first and only World’s Strongest Man winner from Norway in 2001. He also won the Europe’s Strongest Man in the same year. Karlsen is also a 3-time runner-up at the Arnold Strongman Classic, and a 3-time winner of Norway’s Strongest Man in 2003, 2005, and 2006.

WSM Winners: Svend Karlsen

  • Country: Norway
  • Height: 6 feet 2
  • Weight: 282 lbs

14. Mariusz Pudzianowski (2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008):

Mariusz Pudzianowski is the man with the most World’s Strongest Man competition wins. He won his first two titles in 2002 and 2003 and then won in 2005. He went on to win two more times in 2007 and 2008. The Polish strongman also won six Europe’s Strongest Man titles before retiring in 2009.

WSM Winners: Mariusz Pudzianowski

  • Country: Poland
  • Height: 6 feet 1
  • Weight: 313 lbs

15. Vasyl Virastyuk (2004):

Vasyl Virastyuk won the World’s Strongest Man competition in 2024. He is one of the only two men to defeat the legend Mariusz Pudzianowski when he was on a run to claim five titles. Pudzianowski finished third this year but he was disqualified later due to testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

WSM Winners: Vasyl Virastyuk

  • Country: Ukraine
  • Height: 6 feet 3
  • Weight: 320 lbs

16. Phil Pfister (2006):

Phil Pfister is another man to defeat Pudzianowski during his peak years. He was also the first American to lift the World’s Strongest Man trophy since Kazmaier’s victory in 1982. Apart from this career-defining victory, Pfister also had four fourth-place finishes at WSM in 1998, 2001, 2007, and 2008.

WSM Winners: Phil Pfister

  • Country: America
  • Height: 6 feet 6
  • Weight: 375 lbs

17. Žydrūnas Savickas (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014):

Žydrūnas Savickas is another legendary strongman athlete with four WSM titles. The Lithuanian powerlifter won his first title in 2009 and the second in the following year. He then claimed two more victories in 2012 and 2014. Before this, Savickas experienced three runner-up finishes in a row by 2004.

WSM Winners: Žydrūnas Savickas

  • Country: Lithuania
  • Height: 6 feet 3
  • Weight: 375 lbs
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18. Brian Shaw (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016):

Brian Shaw is one of the most famous and strongest strongman athletes of all time. The Colorado native won the World’s Strongest Man contest four times- 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2016. Before that, Shaw was placed third in 2009 and ended up as a runner-up after tying with Savickas on points in 2010.

WSM Winners: Brian Shaw

  • Country: America
  • Height: 6 feet 8
  • Weight: 441 lbs

19. Eddie Hall (2017):

Eddie Hall won the World’s Strongest Man competition in 2017 after having several close finishes in the mid-2010s. In 2016, he also became the first human to deadlift 500 kg (1,102.3 lbs). However, he immediately retired from the sport after his 2017 but returned in November 2022 for a brief stint.

WSM Winners: Eddie Hall

  • Country: England
  • Height: 6 feet 2
  • Weight: 434 lbs

20. Hafþór Björnsson (2018):

Hafþór Björnsson won the World’s Strongest Man in 2018 after losing the title by just a single point in the previous year. The Icelandic heavyweight made his debut in 2011 and retired from the sport in 2020. He announced a potential return for 2024 but didn’t confirm in which competition he would compete.

WSM Winners: Hafþór Björnsson

  • Country: England
  • Height: 6 feet 9
  • Weight: 441 lbs

21. Martins Licis (2019):

Martin Licis shocked the world in 2019 when he won the World’s Strongest Man contest by defeating heavyweights like Mateusz Kieliszkowski and Björnsson. Before this victory, Licis had back-to-back fourth-place finishes at the competition. He also won The Squat Lift and Atlas Stones in 2019.

WSM Winners: Martin Licis

  • Country: Latvia
  • Height: 6 feet 3
  • Weight: 355 lbs

22. Oleksii Novikov (2020):

Oleksii Novikov won the World’s Strongest Man competition in 2020 which took place in Florida in November after uncertainty due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Ukrainian man’s path was made easier by defending champ Licis’ injury. Novikov is also a 2-time World’s Ultimate Strongman contest.

WSM Winners: Oleksii Novikov

  • Country: Ukraine
  • Height: 6 feet 1
  • Weight: 306 lbs

23. Tom Stoltman (2021, 2022):

Tom Stoltman won the World’s Strongest Man competition in 2021 and then repeated his achievement in the following year. He was also the runner-up in the 2019 event. Stoltman, popularly known as “The Albatross,” became the 10th person to win multiple WSM trophies.

WSM Winners: Tom Stoltman

  • Country: Scotland
  • Height: 6 feet 8
  • Weight: 408 lbs

24. Mitchell Hooper (2023):

Mitchell Hooper became the first Canadian strongman athlete to win the World’s Strongest Man contest when he lifted the trophy in 2023. He will be looking to defend his championship this year in Myrtle Beach but Stoltman, his arch-nemesis, will be looking to hunt down his rival and add the third trophy to his cabinet.

WSM Winners: Mitchell Hooper

  • Country: Scotland
  • Height: 6 feet 3
  • Weight: 320 lbs

These are all the men who have lifted the prestigious WSM trophy till now.

List of World’s Strongest Man Winners by Year:

Here is an overview of all the World’s Strongest Man competition winners, runner-ups, and third-place holders from 1997 to 2023:

Year

Winner

Runner-up

Third place

Venue

1977 Bruce Wilhelm Bob Young Ken Patera Universal Studios, California
1978 Bruce Wilhelm Don Reinhoudt Lars Hedlund Universal Studios, California
1979 Don Reinhoudt Lars Hedlund Bill Kazmaier Universal Studios, California
1980 Bill Kazmaier Lars Hedlund Geoff Capes Playboy Club, Vernon, New Jersey
1981 Bill Kazmaier Geoff Capes Dave Waddington Magic Mountain, California
1982 Bill Kazmaier Tom Magee John Gamble Magic Mountain, California
1983 Geoff Capes Jón Páll Sigmarsson Simon Wulfse Christchurch, New Zealand
1984 Jón Páll Sigmarsson Ab Wolders Geoff Capes Mora, Sweden
1985 Geoff Capes Jón Páll Sigmarsson Cees de Vreugd Cascais, Portugal
1986 Jón Páll Sigmarsson Geoff Capes Ab Wolders Nice, France
1988 Jón Páll Sigmarsson Bill Kazmaier Jamie Reeves Budapest, Hungary
1989 Jamie Reeves Ab Wolders Jón Páll Sigmarsson San Sebastián, Spain
1990 Jón Páll Sigmarsson O.D. Wilson Ilkka Nummisto Joensuu, Finland
1991 Magnús Ver Magnússon Henning Thorsen Gary Taylor Tenerife, Canary Islands
1992 Ted van der Parre Magnús Ver Magnússon Jamie Reeves Reykjavík, Iceland
1993 Gary Taylor Magnús Ver Magnússon Riku Kiri Orange, France
1994 Magnús Ver Magnússon Manfred Hoeberl Riku Kiri Sun City, South Africa
1995 Magnús Ver Magnússon Gerrit Badenhorst Marko Varalahti Nassau, Bahamas
1996 Magnús Ver Magnússon Riku Kiri Gerrit Badenhorst Port Louis, Mauritius
1997 Jouko Ahola Flemming Rasmussen Magnus Samuelsson Primm Valley Resort, Nevada
1998 Magnus Samuelsson Jouko Ahola Wout Zijlstra Tangier, Morocco
1999 Jouko Ahola Janne Virtanen Svend Karlsen Valletta, Malta
2000 Janne Virtanen Svend Karlsen Magnus Samuelsson Sun City, South Africa
2001 Svend Karlsen Magnus Samuelsson Janne Virtanen Victoria Falls, Zambia
2002 Mariusz Pudzianowski Žydrūnas Savickas Raimonds Bergmanis Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2003 Mariusz Pudzianowski Žydrūnas Savickas Vasyl Virastyuk Victoria Falls, Zambia
2004 Vasyl Virastyuk Žydrūnas Savickas Magnus Samuelsson Nassau, Bahamas
2005 Mariusz Pudzianowski Jesse Marunde Dominic Filiou Chengdu, China
2006 Phil Pfister Mariusz Pudzianowski Don Pope Sanya, China
2007 Mariusz Pudzianowski Sebastian Wenta Terry Hollands Anaheim, California
2008 Mariusz Pudzianowski Derek Poundstone Dave Ostlund Charleston, West Virginia
2009 Žydrūnas Savickas Mariusz Pudzianowski Brian Shaw Valletta, Malta
2010 Žydrūnas Savickas Brian Shaw Mikhail Koklyaev Sun City, South Africa
2011 Brian Shaw Žydrūnas Savickas Terry Hollands Wingate, North Carolina
2012 Žydrūnas Savickas Vytautas Lalas Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson Los Angeles, California
2013 Brian Shaw Žydrūnas Savickas Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson Sanya, China
2014 Žydrūnas Savickas Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson Brian Shaw Los Angeles, California
2015 Brian Shaw Žydrūnas Savickas Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson Putrajaya, Malaysia
2016 Brian Shaw Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson Eddie Hall Kasane, Botswana
2017 Eddie Hall Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson Brian Shaw Gaborone, Botswana
2018 Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson Mateusz Kieliszkowski Brian Shaw Manila, Philippines
2019 Martins Licis Mateusz Kieliszkowski Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson Bradenton, Florida
2020 Oleksii Novikov Tom Stoltman Jean-François Caron Bradenton, Florida
2021 Tom Stoltman Brian Shaw Maxime Boudreault Sacramento, California
2022 Tom Stoltman  Martins Licis Oleksii Novikov Sacramento, California
2023 Mitchell Hooper Tom Stoltman Oleksii Novikov Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
2024 TBA TBA TBA Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
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Note: The World’s Strongest Man competition did not take place in 1987 because the organizers failed to finalize a venue and make arrangements for the event in time. Instead, the “Pure Strength” competition was held which Jon Pall Simarsson won, defeating Geoff Capes and Bill Kazmaier.

Final Thoughts:

The World’s Strongest Man contest always features the toughest men from the planet but only a single victor emerges on top. There are only 24 men who have achieved this marvelous feat and only 10 of them have won the title more than once. Here’s a quick recap of all the World’s Strongest Man winners till now:

  1. Bruce Wilhelm (1977-1978)
  2. Don Reinhoudt (1979)
  3. Bill Kazmaier (1980-1982)
  4. Geoff Capes (1983, 1985)
  5. Jón Páll Sigmarsson (1984, 1986, 1988, 1990)
  6. Jamie Reeves (1989)
  7. Magnús Ver Magnússon (1991, 1994-1996)
  8. Ted van der Parre (1992)
  9. Gary Taylor (1993)
  10. Jouko Ahola (1997, 1999)
  11. Magnus Samuelson (1998)
  12. Janne Virtanen (2000)
  13. Svend Karlsen (2001)
  14. Mariusz Pudzianowski (2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008)
  15. Vasyl Virastyuk (2004)
  16. Phil Pfister (2006)
  17. Žydrūnas Savickas (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014)
  18. Brian Shaw (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016)
  19. Eddie Hall (2017)
  20. Hafþór Björnsson (2018)
  21. Martins Licis (2019)
  22. Oleksii Novikov (2020)
  23. Tom Stoltman (2021, 2022)
  24. Mitchell Hooper (2023)

That’s all for this post. If you have any doubts or queries regarding anything mentioned here, feel free to visit the comments section. We’ll be glad to hear from you.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the World’s Strongest Man winners:

Who won the first World’s Strongest Man contest?:

American weightlifter Bruce Wilhelm was the first-ever winner of the World’s Strongest Man when he won the prestigious trophy in 1977. He defeated NFL player-turned-strongman Bob Young and wrestler-turned-strongman Ken Pater who became the first runner-up and third-place holder, respectively.

Who has won most World’s Strongest Man contests?:

Mariusz Pudzianowskis holds the record of winning the most number of World’s Strongest Man contests with victories in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2008. Jón Páll Sigmarsson, Magnús Ver Magnússon, Žydrūnas Savickas, and Brian Shaw hold the second place combined with four WSM victories each.

Who is the current World’s Strongest Man?:

Canadian heavyweight Mitchell Hooper is the current World’s Strongest Man title holder. He won the 2023 WSM by defeating former champions Tom Stoltman and Oleksii Novikov in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

How many World’s Strongest Man winners are there?:

There are 24 winners of the World’s Strongest Man in the 47 years history of the strongman athletics competition. 10 men have won the title more than once while 14 men have won the most prestigious strongman competition only once.

Do the World’s Strongest Man competitors use performance-enhancing drugs?:

The World’s Strongest Man competition prohibits the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and competitors are regularly tested for any violations. If they are found using any PEDs, they are stripped of their accolades for the year and banned for a certain period from competing.

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