Tom Stoltman celebrates his 28th birthday Monday.
And the Scottish strongman loves his present: a second consecutive “World Strongest Man” crown.
Stoltman surged past Ukraine’s Oleksii Novikov in the final two events at the competition in Sacramento, California, on Sunday to reclaim his crown. Novikov and Martins Licis (United States) finished tied for second.
“To do it once is unbelievable,” he told USA TODAY Sports by phone Sunday. “Back to back? Almost unheard of.”
Stoltman became the 10th competitor to win the event twice and is the first strongman to claim consecutive titles since Brian Shaw of the U.S. won his third and fourth crowns in 2015 and 2016.
Novikov won three consecutive events (deadlift, Flintstone barbell and bus pull) to lead the pack going into the power stairs. Stoltman trailed by 3.5 points going into the second-to-last event, but Novikov mustered four points compared to Stoltman’s nine. The final event was Stoltman’s signature one: the Atlas Stones.
“You still have to keep your head in it,” said Stoltman, whose nicknames include “The Albatross” and “King of the Stones.” “You can’t overthink these things.”
Stoltman credited his team around him for keeping him focused all the way to the end. They often repeated positive affirmations. Having his wife, Sinead, with him in Sacramento was special, Stoltman said.
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In the end, he won by 10.5 points thanks to his victory in the Atlas Stones.
“It was kind of an easy ride to the end for me,” Stoltman said.
Lifting runs in the family. His older brother, Luke, is a five-time Scotland Strongest Man winner and won the Europe Strongest Man title in 2019.
At the World’s Strongest Man, Tom Stoltman steadily improved his results before winning in 2021. He finished fifth in 2019 and took third a year later.
Another member of Stoltman’s support system who he wanted to shout out was his nutritionist. As the two-day competition progressed, Stoltman said he felt stronger.
“My body feels unbelievable right now,” he said.
As for when the 6-foot-8, will next pick up a weight.
“Hopefully not until next year,” he said.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.