Five Americans Go Through to the 2008 WSM Finals

With the qualifying round of the 2008 MET-Rx World's Strongest Man contest completed, five Americans have made it through to the finals.

Setting the stage for the upcoming battle, head referee Colin Bryce, who has been directly involved with the World's Strongest Man contest since 1996, said, "It's the best field ever. We have seven events coming up that should split the field. We have good tests of all types of strength."

Mariusz Pudzianowski led the field on the Axle Press this morning, winning "easily," further reinforcing feelings that he will be a major force to be reckoned with in the WSM finals. 2006 WSM winner Phil Pfister is also getting nods as the favorite to win, in part because of his impressive performance throughout the qualifiers and in part because the events in the finals are well-suited to the hometown hero. Derek Poundstone and Travis Ortmayer continued to be mentioned as podium favorites, and just to keep Mariusz from being the only one sporting a damaged limb, Derek Poundstone reportedly tweaked his foot/ankle today. Taking a bigger hit today, Mark Felix tore a biceps on the stones, although he continued and finished the event.

Finally, what better way to end the qualifiers than with the stones, and to add an accent mark, to have a stellar performance on them.

Arild Haugen did the honors, with a performance that was in another league - blowing through the series several seconds faster that the second-fastest finisher. As one wag put it, "Someone else might be King of the Stones, but this makes Arild Haugen the Emperor."

Here are the finalists for what promises to be the best World's Strongest Man contest ever: Derek Poundstone, Jason Bergmann, Phil Pfister, Sebastian Wenta, Tarmo Mitt, Terry Hollands, Mariusz Pudzianowski, Arild Haugen, Travis Ortmayer, and Dave Ostlund.

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