Friday 3rd November 2023 – The German city of Stuttgart witnessed a logger sports masterclass as Australia claimed an unprecedented fourth consecutive STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Team World Championship – and their eighth world title overall – in front of a raucous crowd of 6,500 at the sold-out Porsche-Arena.
Australia and USA booked a match-up for the ages in a repeat of the 2022 Team World Championship final, with Team Australia once again coming out on top by the smallest of margins. Meanwhile Canada avenged their 2022 small final defeat to New Zealand by beating the Kiwis to claim the bronze medal.
The cutting-edge axe-tion saw 19 nations compete in the Team competition, battling against each other in a knockout format across four of the six disciplines: Stock Saw, Single Buck, Underhand Chop and Standing Block Chop.
With a potent blend of youth and experience – led by former Individual World Champions Laurence O’Toole and Brad de Losa and also featuring Brayden Meyer and Mitchell Argent – the ‘Chopperoos’ built steadily over the course of the competition, improving their time round on round as they laid the challenges of Team Austria and Team Poland to waste to set up an intriguing semi-final with rivalling neighbours New Zealand. An impressive time of 48.78 eased them into the final, where they met a USA team who had set a personal best of 47.00 to send their neighbours Canada into the small final.
Team USA – comprising Jason Lentz, Matt Cogar, Matthew Slingerland and Mark Bouquin - knew a similar time in the final would give them a fantastic chance of ending the Chopperoos winning streak in the competition, and they matched Australia blow by blow and stroke by stroke, only to be edged out by a mere 2.29 seconds.
Brayden Meyer, of Team World Champions Australia, commented: “It’s a great feeling to win our fourth title in a row. To come from behind like that and get the win is an unbelievable feeling. We always had that belief and we just had to show it on the night. Stuttgart is the best atmosphere we’ve ever had. Every time we’ve been here it’s always been the craziest and the best.”
Matthew Slingerland, of runners-up Team USA, said: “We came here to win and it’s unfortunate that we didn’t but we set two personal bests in the USA, so I hope we made the country proud. This is the fastest team we’ve ever put out and you can see that by the times. We’ll come back hungrier than ever and try to win one next year. Stuttgart is one of the best places you can go to. It was sold out; the fans were cheering; and I got goosebumps every time I went up there. It was unreal.”
In the small final, beaten semi-finalists Team Canada and Team New Zealand faced-off for the final spot on the podium. The teams were neck-and-neck heading into the final discipline, but Stirling Hart had too much on his favoured Standing Block Chop and he made the difference as Team Canada claimed third place and a bronze medal. On a night where STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® paid tribute to the late Jason Wynyard and Martin Komárek, Stirling Hart, of bronze medalists Canada, said: “We were fueled by quite a bit of emotion today. For me personally, Jason Wynyard and Martin Komárek were very close friends of mine – Martin Komárek’s wife and kids are actually here today – and for me personally I was able to channel that. These guys have all had each other’s backs and I couldn’t ask for a better team.”
Despite a rapturous reception in Stuttgart, Germany could not take advantage of the home crowd and exited the competition at the Round of 16 stage, losing out to France. Fans in the Porsche-Arena will hope for a better outcome in the Individual event on Saturday, where Danny Martin represents the host nation.
Following a thrilling team event, Saturday will see the top 12 athletes in the world return to the Porsche-Arena to compete across all six disciplines in the Individual World Championship.
Full results and final standings for the Team World Championship can be found on the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® database.