Brandon Lirio interviews Chad Coy about the 2023 World’s Strongest Man and the biggest controversies surrounding it

Strongman Chad Coy is a lifer when it comes to strongman. He’s competed in over 120 strongman competitions and been lifting heavy weight since the 1980s. He is also a strongman coach for some of the most elite athletes currently competing – including 2023 World’s Strongest Man competitors Trey Mitchell and Kevin Faires. Which is a big reason why Brandon Lirio invited Coy onto the podcast this week. In our latest episode of the U-Natty States Of America podcast, Chad Coy shares behind the scenes insight from the 2023 World’s Strongest Man – and touches on some of the viral controversies that emerged during the competition.

The 2023 World’s Strongest Man, as always, was the single biggest strongman event of the year. It is to strongman, what Mr. Olympia is to bodybuilding. The greatest strongman in the world battle to claim the title of World’s Strongest Man. This year, Mitchell Hooper continued his incredible rise in the sport by dethroning returning champ Tom Stoltman and claiming the first place trophy.

But the event was not without controversy. Weather related incidents shifted the schedule and caused some confusion for those watching the event – and there was some online criticism of certain calls by the judges in important events. This includes the Shield Carry and the Dumbbell Overhead Press.

Chad Coy, coaching both Kevin Faires and Trey Mitchell at the event, was behind the scenes at the 2023 World’s Strongest Man. Not only that – but he has been to this historic event for many years across his career in strongman. Brandon Lirio wanted to clear the air about a few of these controversies with the help of someone who was there on the inside. Let’s jump into it.

The rainy Shield Carry and Pavlo Kordiyaka’s penalty

One of the most controversial moments of the 2023 World’s Strongest Man came with the Shield Carry – which ended up being the first event of the finals due to inclement weather. This was not intended to be the first event – but was changed in order to accommodate for the weather and prevent further delays. All strongmen agreed to compete in this event despite it still raining – as the forecast showed it would clear up for the later events.

While an event such as the Shield Carry seems like a challenging one to do in the rain, Chad Coy reveals that no athletes were forced into competing against their will in these conditions. Each of the ten finalists were asked if they were comfortable competing – and all agreed. Allowing for the competition to move forward.

But the bigger controversy came with Pavlo Kordiyaka, who missed touching the line during his shield carry, earning him a penalty that dropped him from first place to fourth in the event. Many fans, who were at the event in person, claimed that this was a false call – that Kordiyaka clearly touched the line – this sentiment started spreading online as the event progressed.

Chad Coy debunks this issue – stating that he was right behind Kordiyaka during the event and saw him clearly miss the line. He even states that it wasn’t particularly close. He also believes that the penalty he received was lenient.

Were judges impartial during the Dumbbell Overhead Press Event?

Another criticism some fans had during the 2023 World’s Strongest Man was during the Dumbbell Overhead Press during the finals. Many believe that the judges were not calling accurate locks on the lift. This is the moment that the athlete has successfully lifted the bar overhead, controlled it, and “locked” to complete the lift.

Were the judges impartial to certain athletes and causing a shift in the final results? Chad Coy doesn’t think so. While he does admit that the calls on locks were not as tight as he prefers – he thinks that the calls were, “consistently inconsistant.”

What Coy means by this is the calls were lenient overall – and didn’t seem to hurt or favor one athlete over the other. Like in many sports – the ref or judge has an overall level of leniency for fouls, penalties, and regulations. These judges may have been lenient – but it didn’t put any athlete at a particular disadvantage.

Wrap Up

Ultimately, the 2023 World’s Strongest Man was a huge success. The fan turnout was far bigger than any of the organizers could have anticipated. Though this may have led to a somewhat chaotic fan experience – it also is a sign that the sport is growing, that they will be prepared to accommodate at the same location next year, and continue to improve the overall experience for strongman as a sport.

The controversies this year were small and typical with this sort of sport and being able to dive deep into the event as a whole with Chad Coy helps provide further insight. Brandon Lirio and Coy also discuss Brian Shaw, how this was his last WSM competition of his career, and how he forever changed the landscape of the sport for the better. You can watch the full interview in our latest episode of the U-Natty States Of America podcast above.

Don’t forget to check back every Wednesday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Jacob Ladon
Jacob Ladon is a staff writer and former amateur bodybuilder. He has been passionate about bodybuilding since he was 15 years old and discovered the joys of training in the gym. He reports and comments on all bodybuilding related matters.