The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® World Championship 2022 is just around the corner. After the first team competition in Gothenburg, only twelve national champions – the crème de la crème of logger sports athletes – will convene on Saturday, 29 October, to fight for the international TIMBERSPORTS® crown. Traditionally the champions from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA are all big favourites for the title – but don’t expect European athletes to hang back, as they’ll also have their eyes on the podium. We take a look at the participants who could be key players in the 2022 World Championship.
There’s one reason why the reigning Individual World Champion Jason Lentz isn’t defending his title this year, and Matt Cogar is it. With a truly outstanding performance, the 35-year-old claimed his seventh national title at this year’s US Championships, setting a new US record for Springboard (38.80 seconds), and just barely missing the world record. With that accolade, Cogar secured his sixth participation in an Individual World Championship. Having banked three silver medals so far (2013, 2016 and 2018), he wants to get to the very top this year.
Whichever athlete Australia sends to the Individual World Championship has to be ready to be named a favourite. The statistics bear this out: Australia has been unbeaten as a Team World Champion since 2017, and has also won two out of three possible titles in the Individual competition. The fact that it will be Brad De Losa at the starting line in Gothenburg has only boosted those expectations. With three World Trophy victories, six gold wins in the Team World Championships, and the 2013 Individual World Championship title, the 45-year-old has an unparalleled trophy cabinet that is to be topped up with two further titles in 2022.
There is no explanation necessary for why Jason Wynyard is one of the favourites in a World Championship. “He is the legend of our sport, an icon. He’s something like the Michael Jordan of TIMBERSPORTS®,” summarises world-class Canadian athlete Stirling Hart. With persistent injuries taking Wynyard out of the running for all title battles since 2018, the New Zealander finally has the chance to lift his legend to the next level with a magical tenth Individual World Championship title – and to take that home is the only reason Wynyard is making the trip to Gothenburg.
The 2021 runner-up is taking another run at the title in Gothenburg, following a previous-year experience of a bruising disqualification in Stock Saw, which took the gold medal out of reach for Dupuis. At the Canadian Championship, the 36-year-old prevailed against world-class athletes Ben and Nathan Cumberland, among others, and fully flexed his nerves of steel again when he only leapt into first place during the final heat of Hot Saw. Dupuis will need to call on this quality again at the World Championship if he wants to go all the way to the top of the podium.
Despite the immense quality of his competition, all eyes in Gothenburg will be on Emil Hansson. The young Swede will take up his tools as the local hero, so he can rely on cheers of encouragement in the Partille Arena. But it’s no fluke that the 21-year-old is participating in the 2022 Individual World Championship – it’s his well-earned reward for an outstanding competition season: first place in the European Trophy, the European Nations Cup with Team Scandinavia, and the Nordic Championships. Emil Hansson is on impressive form and hopes to don the crown for his strongest season yet as a TIMBERSPORTS® athlete.
Armin Kugler leads the European ranking in advance of the World Championship, which means, at least on paper, that he will be the best European on the starting line in Gothenburg. With a total of eight national championships and six participations in the Individual World Championship, the Austrian is also one of the most experienced athletes in the field and has already proven his class several times in the past. If the 31-year-old achieves his full potential in Gothenburg, there’s a good chance he’ll make the podium.
With his victory in the European Nations Pro Cup, Danny Martin had a message for his competition ahead of the World Championship: On current form, this German is a force to be reckoned with. Martin is known for his tremendous stability in all disciplines and holds a trump card when it comes to Hot Saw. Hardly any other athlete in this discipline achieves world-class times as consistently as the three-time German champion. Danny Martin has made six of the best 25 Hot Saw cuts in the world – no other athlete appears in this ranking as many times. One example from that list is from this year’s European Nations Pro Cup, when Martin finally broke the five-second mark with a phenomenal time of 4.84 seconds. No wonder then that the 34-year-old is hoping to spring a surprise in Gothenburg: “My big goal is to get into the final round so I get to cut Hot Saw. I think I’m one of the most confident athletes in the world, so I can give it my all and perhaps get under the others’ skin a bit.”