9 min read

Stonelifting at the Arnold Sports Festival

A recap of stonelifting at the Arnold Sports Festival 2024, plus some big news!

The Arnold Sports Festival has taken over March, so here's a look at the stonelifting stuff we've seen. Let's jump straight in!

Here's your list of topics, feel free to jump around:

  • Arnold Classic recap
  • The Jeck Stones
  • Arnold UK
  • Dinnie Stones enamel pins SOLD OUT!
  • Quick-fire news

Arnold Classic recap

Spoilers: Arnold Classic day two

In tribute to the late David Webster, most of the competition crew wore kilts on day two of the Arnold Classic. The stone carry was the first event of the day – refereed by Stevie Shanks – with the women taking on the Jeck Stones (more on them in their very own section), while the men had the Replica Dinnie Stones.

A screenshot from the Arnold Strongwoman Classic livestream. Rebecca Roberts walks with the Jeck Stones down the course.
Rebecca Robers carries the Jeck Stones. Image: Rogue Fitness

I think this was the first time we've ever seen a natural stone carry like this in a top-level women's competition. And one element that made it fun to watch was the distinct clusters of distances that they posted.

One cluster of athletes managed to hit the half-way mark of the course, while another group – Inez Carrasquillo, Lucy Underdown, and Rebecca Roberts – clustered around the end of the course. A few steps separated the athletes in these clusters, which really impacted their points.

But Angelica Jardine was quick on her feet, carrying the stones nearly a full length and a half at 91 feet 8 inches (27.94m), surpassing everyone else by a huge margin!

Since this is the first time we've seen the Jeck Stones in competition (as far as I know), I think that makes Angelica's carry the world record!

On the men's side, the Replica Dinnie Stone carry historically appeared as a Rogue Record Breakers event, but this time they were an event in the full strongman competition. And I thought it was fantastic!

Five of the men managed to carry the stones over 17 feet 1.5 inches (the width of Potarch Bridge), and four of those broke Kevin Faires' previous record of 31 feet 7 inches (9.63m).

Mitch Hooper was the final athlete to take on the Replica Dinnie Stones, which gave him the advantage of knowing exactly how far he needed to walk. After crossing the winning mark, he paused for the crowd before taking a final few steps and dropping the stones.

A cropped screenshot from the Arnold Strongman Classic livestream. Mitch Hooper pauses with the Replica Dinnie Stones and looks at the audience.
Mitch Hooper sets a new world record carry with the Replica Dinnie Stones. Image: Rogue Fitness

For someone that has repeatedly expressed his dislike for these carries, Mitch is annoyingly good at them. I think Mitch's dominance in the event overshadowed some of incredible carries by Tom Stoltman, Mateusz Kieliszkowski, Evan Singleton, and Hafthór Björnsson. Mitch's new record stands at 41 feet 4 inches (12.6m).

The final event of the competition was the stone medley. Both the men and women's event had the same format: a stone press, a stone over bar, then a stone to shoulder for reps. And the fatigue really started showing after the carry and the pressing events from earlier in the day.

Most of the women managed to press the first stone and hoist the second over the post. But only three could shoulder the final 117kg (259 lb) stone – Sam Belliveau, Olga Liashchuk, and Angelica Jardine.

A screenshot from the Arnold Strongwoman Classic livestream. Olga Liashchuk stands with the Jeck Stone on her shoulder.
Olga Liashchuk shoulders the final stone in the stone medley. Image: Rogue Fitness

Angelica Jardine stood out again with another dominant performance, shouldering the stone four times! Like a lot of people, I didn't really know anything about Angelica going into the competition. But she was fantastic to watch. And I'm looking forward to seeing her in more competitions in the future.

The weights for the stones on the women's side were just about perfect. Although, like the frame carry, I think they're going to need heavier stones in a few years because the athletes are just getting so strong.

In the end, the women's podium was incredibly close – all podium athletes were within half a point of each other.

Angelica's two wins in the stonelifting events helped secure her place on top of the podium, taking home the Katie Sandwina trophy. Lucy Underdown took second place overall thanks to her event win the deadlift (count back rules), while Olga Liashchuk took third place.

The men's stone medley truly revealed the fatigue they were feeling. Three men had withdrawn from the competition, and three more failed to press the first stone. Then the stone over bar took out a couple more competitors with biceps concerns, leaving three athletes to take on Odd Haugen's Tombstone.

Of the athletes that were whittled away, one – Mateusz Kieliszkowski – managed to shoulder it. For three reps!

A screenshot from the Arnold Strongman Classic livestream. Mateusz Kieliszkowski stands with Odd Haugen's Tombstone on his shoulder. He flexes his other bicep.
Mateusz Kieliszkowski shoulders Odd Haugen's Tombstone. Image: Rogue Fitness

Mateusz has mastered Odd Haugen's Tombstone and has proven he's the best to ever do it – he's shouldered the stone more times (12) than all other athletes that have shouldered it at the Arnold Strongman Classic combined (7).

In the end, Mitchell Hooper defended his championship and received the Louis Cyr trophy in another dominant performance. Mateusz Kieliszkowski placed second (again). And rounding out the podium was Tom Stoltman by half a point over Hafthór Björnsson for his first Arnold Strongman Classic podium spot.

Overall, I thought the competitions were a great watch! And I loved the stonelifting events. My only criticism is that the livestream felt like a downgrade compared to last year. The main reason was the windowed view of the competition: it was about 70% of the size of the full screen, but that's actually close to a 50% reduction in the total area of the screen, so it affects the experience drastically in my opinion. Multiple faces on the screen is also pretty distracting, taking focus away from the athletes on the competition floor, at least for me.

The Jeck Stones

When I wrote last month's preview, I mentioned the Jeck stones as part of the Arnold Strongwoman Classic. But what I didn't realize was that these weren't just going to be stones named after Steve Jeck – they were actually his stones. Although in retrospect, it's obvious.

The left image shows Hannah Linzay carrying the Jeck Stones. The right shows Angelica Jardine shouldering the Jeck Stone.
Hannah Linzay carries the Jeck stones (left), Angelica Jardine shoulders the Jeck stone (right). Images: Rogue Fitness

For those that don't know, Steve Jeck was an American stonelifter and writer. He wrote dozens of articles for Ironmind, and he was the co-author of Of Stones and Strength. Jeck sadly passed away in 2018.

Jeck also appeared in a 2004 documentary about the Húsafell Stone, called KVIAHELLAN: The Pen Slab, that documented his journey to Iceland to carry the legendary stone.

In Kviahellan, Jeck presents some talks, carrying a pair of stones and shouldering another as metaphors. And it was those stones that appeared at the Arnold Strongwoman Classic.

Grab hold of your dream and don't let go.
Steve Jeck carries a pair of ringed stones before saying 'Grab hold of your dream and don't let go'.
Steve Jack carrying his stones weighing 100kg (220 lb) and 94kg (207 lb).
Shoulder some responsibility and take action.
Steve Jeck shoulders his stone before saying 'Shoulder some responsibility and take action'.
Steve Jeck shoulders his 113kg (249 lb) stone.

Jeck's stones are at least 20 years-old (based on the documentary's release date), but Jeck likely owned the stones longer than that.

It's fantastic that the Arnold Strongwoman Classic was able to use some historically significant stones – especially American ones. With the impressive performances we saw, I hope we get to see the Jeck Stones again in the future.

Arnold Sports Festival UK

Just a couple of weeks after the Arnold Sports Festival in Ohio, the UK edition of the event kicked off in Birmingham.

I visited the event on the Saturday and had a great time browsing stands, listening to talks, and watching athletes competing in a bunch of different sports.

There was so much going on – and so many people – that I pretty much forgot to take photos; I only have a couple. However, as promised, I kept my eyes out for stones.

BTB sleeves represented the stonelifting world again this year with their popular Mercia Battle Stones – an Atlas Stone run to barrels that anyone can try out.

I saw crowds of people lining up to have a go. And it looked like most of them had never lifted a stone before, so I'm super happy they got to have a taste of what it's like! The hard-working team helped everyone, giving lifters tips for lifting the stones, before resetting the stones for the next person.

They also had a pair of shin scraping ringed stones for people to try.

A person is stood inside a gated area. He's holding two metal rings in his hands attached to rough stones that scrape his shins.
A person lifts the ringed stones at the BTB sleeves stand.

BTB will host the Battle for Mercia stonelifting competition for the third time this August at Bishton Hall as part of the Battle for Mercia festival. I believe athlete entries are still open if you're interested!

Other than the Atlas Stones at the amateur strongman and strongwoman competitions, I didn't notice any other stonelifting representation in Birmingham this time round. Maybe we need to change that?

Dinnie Stones enamel pins SOLD OUT!

The very first batch of the liftingstones.org Dinnie Stones enamel pin is now sold out! I shipped the last pin from the batch just a few days ago. And I couldn't be more delighted!

Three enamel pins attached to their backing cards on display.
Some of the final pins from batch one.

I mentioned last year that I was a little anxious about ordering the first batch since I wasn't sure whether anyone would want them. Looking back, I'm so glad I pulled the trigger. So many people have loved receiving them, gifting them, and sharing photos of them with me – it's been incredible.

Now that they're sold out, what's next? The big news is that I've decided to produce a second batch of pins! I don't have a definite date for when batch two will go on sale, but I suspect around May. Of course, you'll be the first to find out when they're back! And if you'd like to pre-order to get your pins as soon as possible, email me.

As is normal with enamel pins, there were a few not-so-perfect pins left over from batch one. I wasn't entirely sure what to do with them. But it doesn't make sense to leave them sitting in a box.

So, while we wait for batch two to arrive, you can grab a B-Grade pin from batch one at a 30% discount!

They're not perfect, but the 'defects' are minor – I couldn't even get any good photos as examples. You likely won't notice them without a close inspection.

If you're interested, hop over to the liftingstones.org shop for more details! B-Grade pins are UK only, and there's only a handful available.

All sales directly support the project by covering the running costs of the site and the newsletter – and you get something cool in return.

(B-GRADE) Dinnie Stones enamel pin — liftingstones.org
The liftingstones.org original Dinnie Stones enamel pin - celebrating the world’s most famous lifting stones.

Quick-fire news

As always, thanks for reading!

In strength,


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Dinnie Stones enamel pin

Inspired by the world’s most famous lifting stones, this liftingstones.org original pin is perfect for showing off your love of stonelifting by pinning it to your gym bag, clothes, or anywhere else.