Brian Shaw’s legacy is undoubtedly secure in the pantheon of strongmen. The 40-year-old living legend has been professionally carrying yokes and placing Atlas stones on podiums for the better part of 15 years. As he looks ahead to the next phase of his life that doesn’t involve lifting huge things at a few select times on the calendar, Shaw is ready to close an important chapter.
On January 9, 2023, Shaw announced that the 2023 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) it was his last appearance in the famous international competition. When the latest edition is released on Apr. 18-23, 2023, in Myrtle Beach, SC, Shaw will make “another big push” for a historic fifth career WSM title.
If Shaw is finally set to compete at the 2023 WSM, it will mark his 16th appearance in the prestigious competition. He has appeared in the WSM Finals, which come after the heat stage cutoff, in 14 of his previous bouts, but fell short of advancing in his WSM debut in 2008. Until now, Shaw has never finished lower than sixth place (2019) at WSM and can boast of 10 podium results.
More impressively, when taking a historical context of victories, Shaw’s four WSM championships tie him for the second most of all time with Žydrūnas Savickas, Magnús Ver Magnússon, and Jón Páll Sigmarsson. With five WSM titles, only Poland’s Mariusz Pudzianowski has more wins as he stands alone at the top of the game. Shaw’s last WSM title came in 2016 when he defeated 2017 WSM champion Eddie Hall (third place) and future 2018 WSM champion Hafthor Björnsson (second place).
When discussing what his final appearance will mean for him, Shaw was candid and seemed optimistic about his prospects for a 2023 return to the competition.
“After taking some time to think about it, I want to give the World’s Strongest Man one more big push.” Shaw said. “I feel like I’m there. My body is in great shape, and mentally, I think this year I’m going to be in a better place. […] Now, there is a lot of work to do. I won’t skate about that fact. I don’t think it’s easy in any way, shape, or form. But the work can be put in and it can be amazing. “
To win his fifth career WSM title, Shaw faces a tall task in a stacked field of superstars. In addition to Shaw, the roster will likely include some form of reigning two-time champion Tom Stoltman, 2019 champion Martins Licis, and 2020 winner Oleksii Novikov.
One thing is for sure: If Shaw can overcome the ultimate test of talented teammates, his status as a living legend strongman can only grow to the extent of a WSM swan song.
Featured image: @shawstrength on Instagram
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