Legendary Strongman Brian Shaw recently announced his plans to retire from elite competitions after his final appearance at the 2023 Shaw Classic. Widely considered one of the greatest strength athletes of all time, Shaw has broken multiple records and inspired many people with his insane lifts. He made his professional debut at the Denver Strongest Man show in 2005 and competed in his first World’s Strongest Man (WSM) in 2008, where he landed third place on the podium. In 2011, he won the coveted WSM title and became the first athlete to win both the WSM and the Arnold Strongman Classic in the same year. He repeated the feat in 2015.
Shaw also launched the inaugural Shaw Classic competition and scored gold in December 2020. He then worked on improving his training facilities and gave fans a look into his massive new gym in July of last year. The equipment was modified to hold more weight and allow him and other contenders to fit in them. He also experimented with his eating process and switched out his usual diet to try a vegan one last September. Shaw wolfed down 9,000 calories from vegan food for a single day, but admitted he could never replace red meat from his diet and reported feeling uneasy due to the sudden change.
Speaking of Shaw’s diet, the Trifecta CEO Greg Connolly revealed it cost his firm over $60,000 per year to fuel Shaw. Shaw teamed up with fellow icon Eddie Hall for a brutal shoulder workout last November and they collaborated again for a comical lower-body training session days later. However, as the start of a new season took place, Shaw announced his plans to move on from elite competitions. He revealed the 2023 WSM would mark his last appearance at the competition. As for his final showing, Shaw will step away after participating in the upcoming 2023 Shaw Classic.
During the build-up to the contest, Shaw laid out how he nearly lost his leg after picking up an injury a few months ago. Fortunately, he was able to recover and get on track for the event. He detailed his battle with leg cellulitis that affected his ability to do basic tasks. He completed his final appearance at the 2023 WSM, where he turned in a sensational performance at the stone-off and finished seventh overall.
In a recent YouTube video, Shaw shared his thoughts on his final appearance at the 2023 World’s Strongest Man. He started by praising the other contenders before breaking down his performance. “First and foremost I want to congratulate the guys that were at the top. Mitchell Hooper on winning, Tom Stoltman on second, and Oleksii Novikov on third,” said Shaw. “They performed very well and deserve to be up there on that podium. I know there were some questions about my leg, we put out some videos. I want to say my leg was not a factor as far as the competition goes on and really played no role. I did have to overcome that but it was in the rear view mirror by the time we competed so it did not play a role.
“I was ready to go, I was dialed in, felt good, got my group definitely a tough group and I feel like all of these groups this year were tough in the qualifiers. I felt like I performed very well. I won two events, tied for first in the deadlift which I was happy about. The loading medley, third place really not that bad. I could’ve improved a couple different things maybe kinda got a couple seconds faster which may have changed one point there. In the end that might have been a big point but I really feel like the event I was disappointed with. The qualifiers was Conan’s Wheel, ended up in fifth place, I was going out last so I knew exactly what I had to do. I was so focused on getting my grip right and getting my feet in the right position and getting my pickup right. I just forgot to take that big breath that you need to take on a Conan’s wheel before you take off and start. I realized that about a quarter of the way into the first turn I just didn’t have much air. I opened myself up to not winning the group with that performance.”
Shaw also talked about his historic stone-off and called for a change in the format, arguing that it puts those athletes at a disadvantage. “I wish I could’ve found that extra half a point to win the group because I had to go into a stone off with Ronald. I knew he was one of the guys who you don’t want to get in a stone off situation. He can lift a lot so going into that stone-off, I knew it was going to be tough. I was able to get the first stone, he got the second stone, and then I was able to get the third stone. Then, we went to the fourth stone and I was able to get it up. It was a very historic moment for me and I was very happy with that. I’ve always been good at stones and it’s always been one of my favorite events.
“I think the stone-off is a great event, but I think it should be done differently. I think if you’re going to do a stone-off, it should be a progressive stone-off. So, if you’re going to do a four-stone series, start with a 300-pound stone, then go to a 350-pound stone, then go to a 400-pound stone, and then go to a 450-pound stone. That way, if you’re stronger, you’re going to win. It’s not going to be a situation where you’re going to be at a disadvantage because you have to lift a stone that’s not your weight. I think that’s something that should be looked at in the future.”
Shaw’s final appearance at the 2023 WSM may not have gone as well as he hoped, but his legacy as one of the greatest strength athletes of all time is secure. He will continue to inspire many people with his incredible feats of strength and dedication to the sport.