2005 South African Strongman Championships


EVENT 8: The Atlas Stones

The last event of the M-Classic 2005 SA Strongman Championships was the atlas stones. There were five stones in total weighing 125kg (275lb), 135kg (297lb), 145kg (319lb), 155kg (341lb) and 165kg (363lb) that had to be loaded on pedestals with the lightest stone having to be loaded on the highest pedestal. The pedestals were placed quite far apart. The picture below is not very clear but if you look closely you'll get an idea of the relative heights and distances involved. The pedestals are the blue and orange objects towards the centre of the picture.

The scoring worked in such a way that the time was taken for each stone loaded so that failure to load all the stones would mean that the fastest guy to load a lesser amount of stones scored higher. Here's the results of the final event:

Ettiene 36.62
David 45.91
Andre 46.53
Willem 59.66
Arno 79.65
Rory 4
Hennie 1
Stephan 1
Johan 1
Malone 1

Predictably Ettiene ran away with this event, finishing is an amazing 36.62 seconds. That is FAST! I don't know if there are many people in the world that can do better than that. There were a few notable upsets on this event. The first was Malone Horn, who injured his bicep on the second stone, forcing him to abandon this event. At least it didn't look like he tore the bicep like he did two years ago at the WSM. The other upset was Johan who dropped the second stone and basically quit his attempt. Johan is well known as a top class atlas stone athlete and I don't think that many people would have bet money on him not placing in the top 3.

Willem did very well here and loaded all five stones in under 60 seconds for 4th position. Rory ended his competition with a very good performance by loading four stones and almost getting the last one. There was almost disaster on this event when Stephan dropped the second stone, breaking it into pieces. We almost thought that was the end of this event but luckily a spare stone was at hand and the event could be continued.

So why was I so slow? Simple. I knew that Dave's lead over me was too big for me to have any hope of catching him. My main concern then was to defend my third position against Malone.  I was watching the scoreboard all the time calculating which position I needed to place in order to do just that. When Malone was forced to quit on the second stone, it became clear that nobody could challenge my third position anymore. I basically didn't have to do this event at all and would still place third overall. I decided to do it nonetheless just to see if I could load all the stones. I ended up walking leisurely from stone to stone and still managed to load all 5 stones in the allocated 90 seconds. It looked quite funny as it seemed that I didn't have a care in the world!


As it turned out, there was not much of a surprise when the final result was calculated and the winner was announced.

Ettiene 146
David 137
Arno 125.5
Malone 116.5
Andre 112.5
Willem 106
Johan 103.5
Stephan 97
Hennie 96.5
Rory 91


The only guy to gain a position here was Willem who moved up into 6th overall. A very fine performance indeed. But there could only be one winner and there was almost no doubt right from the start who it would be: Ettiene Smit. Ettiene was in a class of his own and won a full three out of eight events and never placed out of the top 3. Simply superb. Below is Ettiene receiving his first prize in front of a packed house.

Below are some more pictures taken during the atlas stones.

Rory did particularly well on this event.

Rory again.


Willem on 135kg (297lb).

Willem displaying the back development that's going to make him a champion deadlifter.

The second pedestal proved troublesome to a lot of guys including Johan.

Andre performed excellently and almost got second place. I had all the time in the world.
Big man Dave Cooks.    

Personally I don't think that we could have hoped for a better South African champion than Ettiene Smit. This being his second consecutive title, I believe that he is ready for the big time and we are expecting big results from him on the international circuit. Ettiene has got the potential to follow in the footsteps of the great Gerrit Badenhorst. Well done, Ettiene.

Seeing that the M-Classic was about more than just strongman and also included bodybuilding, I thought it appropriate to leave you with a glimpse of what else was on display during the day. I'm sure you'll agree that it would not be fair of me to keep this picture all to myself...

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For comments or feedback please email bigarnie@bigarnie.co.za

Page last updated 10 May 2005