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The Item: Strongman Competition, Strength Sports, Andrew Oye's WSM Pro Athletes Roundup

The Scoop: Just Announced: WSM World's Strongest Man producers IMG released the official list of professional strongman athletes qualified to compete at the 2012 World's Strongest Man Championships contest in Los Angeles, California. The qualifying heats are scheduled for September 24-27, and the finals for September 30 and October 1.
Qualified Athletes
Johannes Arsjo - Sweden
Mateusz Baron - POL
Nick Best - USA
Hafthor "Thor" Julius Bjornsson - Iceland
Mike Burke - USA
Jean Francois Caron - CAN
James Fennelly - Ireland
Chris Gearing - UK
Ed Hall - UK
Ole Martin Hansen - Norway
Graham Hicks - UK
Terry Hollands - UK
Louis-Philippe Jean - CAN
Mike Jenkins - USA
Ervin Katona - Serbia
Misha Koklyaev - Russia
Sebastian Kurek - POL
Vytautas Lalas - Lithuanian
Eben Le Roux - Australia
Jack McIntosh - UK
Alex Moonen - Netherlands
Akos Nagy - Hungary
Lauri Nami - Estonia
Derek Poundstone - USA
Krzysztof Radzikowski - POL
Zydrunas Savickas - Lithuanian
Brian Shaw - USA
Frankie Sheun - South Africa
Josh Thigpen - USA
Martin Wildauer - Austria

Reserve Athletes
Jerry Pritchett - USA
Adam Scherr - USA

The "So What?": Qualified athletes won or placed well in Giants Live Grand Prix Competition Series events, won officially sanctioned WSM events, or acquired  eligibility based on placings at the 2011 World's Strongest Man contest. Several athletes on the list will make their debuts in a major strongman contest. 2011 World's Strongest Man Champion Brian Shaw suffered a bicep injury at the Arnold Sports Festival's 2012 Arnold Strongman Classic (where IFBB Pro Branch Warren won the IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Bodybuilding Championships), but reportedly has bounced back after surgery.

Andrew Oye's Verdict: In addition to Brian Shaw, eyes will be on the Arnold Sports Festival's 2012 Arnold Strongman Classic winner Mike Jenkins; 3-time America's Strongest Man Champion Derek Poundstone; 2009 and 2010 WSM Champion Zydrunas Savickas; 2011 Olympia Strongman Challenge winner Mike Burke; and (since some are looking for a Polish successor to MUSCLE INK Magazine cover athlete 5-time WSM Mariusz Pudzianowski, a pro strongman turned MMA fighter) 2-time Giants Live Poland powerhouse Krzysztof Radzikowski.

Incidentally, as recently reported in "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report," the American Strongman Corporation's 2012 America's Strongest Man contest moved from Los Angeles and returns to Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend (September 28-29) in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness will also crown a winner among IFBB Pro League athletes who will compete in the IFBB Mr. Olympia Bodybuilding Championships against reigning titleholder IFBB Pro Phil Heath).

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