For those of you that are familiar with Game of Thrones, the character “The Mountain” is played by world famous strongman competitor Hafthor Bjornsson. If you’ve never seen Game of Thrones (like myself), you may know him from being the current world record holder for the deadlift at 1,102 lbs (501 kg)
Just an insane feat of strength when you really think about it. Over a half a ton deadlifted and he made it look easy. Hafthor posted on Instagram earlier this week announcing his retirement.
He’s won Iceland’s Strongest Man 10 times, Europe’s Strongest Man 5 times, the Arnold Strongman Classic 3 times, and the most coveted World’s Strongest Man 1 time in 2018, with many top 3 finishes all of these shows over the past 10+ years. Strongman may not be a sport most people are familiar with but a very easy comparison to Hafthor’s career would be Tom Brady or Michael Jordan. Just a one of a kind physical specimen that has dominated the world of strongman for the past decade.
So if Hafthor is stepping down, who’s left to watch in the international strongman? An excellent question. In strongman, generally speaking, the most important competition is called World’s Strongest Man (aka WSM or just Worlds) and is generally held in early summer every year. This year, because of COVID, the 2020 competition has been postponed but the reigning champ from 2019 is Martins Licis from California, winning for the very first time last year.
Assuming there is a reschuled competition at some point, Martins would look to defend his title. Other top lifters in the space are Mateusz Kieliszkowski and Brian Shaw. Mateusz finished 2nd overall in WSM in 2018 and 2019 and has been nipping at the heels of a major championship for years. He only just turned 27 so he has quite a bit of good lifting ahead of him. Brian Shaw belongs in the same conversation as Hafthor for the title of Greatest of All Time. He’s won World’s Strongest Man 4 times (!) but at 38 years old, he’s definitely in the twilight of a stellar career.
Congratulations on amazing career, Hafthor, and enjoy retirement!