VIDEO PREVIEW: Strongman Graham Hicks faces Game Of Thrones giant Thor at Europe's Strongest Man
NEWLY crowned Britain's Strongest Man Graham Hicks will face his biggest challenge this weekend - Game Of Thrones superstar Hafþór 'Thor' Björnsson.
Viking king Thor, who plays warrior The Mountain in the hit TV series, is the new World's Strongest Man and odds-on favourite lift the Europe's Strongest Man title, for a record fifth time,He also wants Big Zydrunas Savickas’ 228kg World Log Lift record.
But the log event is not ideally suited to tall men and Lancashire man Hicks, at 5ft 10ins the smallest man in the competition, also has his sights set on the log lift and European title at Leeds First Direct Arena this Saturday, April 6.
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He is certainly hoping for a podium place and he is favourite to grab the British log lift record, of 213kg - currently held by retired former World Strongest Man, now show host and pundit, Eddie Hall.
A world class field of guest competitors from around the globe are flying in for the World Log Lift, which will also be the first event of the day to find Europe's top strongman.
They include four times World’s Strongest Man winner, USA's Brian Shaw, the near 7ft, 35 stone colossus from Colorado. Brit-hating braggart Robert Oberst’s and last year's log lift joint winner, new fan favourite, cartwheeling Iron Biby, of Burkina Faso.
Giant Icelander Thor heads the Euro-invasion with contenders such as Konstantine Janashia and Mateusz Kieliskowski on he bill.
Former European champ Laurence Shahlaei will also be competing as will the stalwart, Terry Hollands, who placed third in 2017.
Morecambe muscle man Hicks, aged 33, by day a British Aerospace systems support worker, who services Eurofighters when he’s not lifting logs or carrying cars, saw his strongman career soar to new heights when he became Britain's top strongman at Sheffield FlyDSA Arena in January.
It was his first major professional title and he now looks to pose a serious threat at what is the biggest one-day strongman show in the world.
A four times World’s Strongest Man competitor, twice runner up at Europe’s Strongest Man and third in 2014, Hicks’ blend of raw power, speed and most crucially, a cool head, could prove decisive.
Whatever the outcome of event one, the dad of two - with a third child due in July - should be well placed to continue with the remaining four events of Europe’s Strongest Man, including the new, torturous, Pillars of Hercules, tyre flip and chain drag.
* Tickets are also on sale for Britain’s Strongest Man 2020 at Sheffield FlyDSA Arena on Saturday, January 18, priced £28 to £196, call the box office on 0114 256 5656 or visit www.flydsaarena.co.uk