Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, Thor or The Mountain from Game of Thrones, has just broken the world deadlift record.
The Icelandic giant didn’t let the outbreak get in the way of his plans and today, May 2, as part of the World’s Ultimate Strongman Competition, managed a staggering lift of 501kg (1,104lb).
The event was broadcast on ESPN as well as being streamed online, a rare moment of sporting entertainment amid widespread cancellations as a result of the outbreak.
Ahead of the lift, Thor said:
I knew I was in great shape, and when you’re trying to train yourself for something big like that, it’s very difficult on the body. So I thought of just hosting a show. If we could stream it live, people would love that, they could be excited for something.
When things get a lot of attention, there’s always going to be some negativity. People are saying that this needs to be done in a competition – I wish I could do it in a competition, but I can’t control this situation, so I’m trying to do the best I can.
The 501kg lift was officially sanctioned by the competition, as well as being refereed by four-time World’s Strongest Man and fellow Icelander Magnus Ver Magnusson – so, the record it is entirely legitimate.
Commenting earlier on choosing Magnusson, Thor told the New York Post: ‘He’s known as one of the strictest referees in the world – he will not give you anything for free. That’s the reason why I want him to referee my lift because I knew people would respect that. I want my lift to be legit.’
Thor was the former World’s Strongest Man and had been vying for the crown since 2016, when rival Eddie Hall pulled 500kg in a historic deadlift. While Thor may hold the record now, Hall isn’t convinced it’s an honourable achievement.
Hall laid out his feelings on Thor’s lift in an Instagram post, saying he was looking forward to ‘having my record broken and seeing what is possible’. ‘I think you are probably the man to do it, there’s no denying that and I’ll still shake your hand afterwards and say well done… if you do it under the appropriate conditions,’ he added.
The Brit explained:
Because of the malicious rumours Thor and his team started I’ve endured years of people questioning what is the crowning achievement of my career. Well guess what pal, you break my record in your home gym with a bunch of your pals, you’re going to get the same treatment.
Absolutely no legitimate sport would acknowledge World Records broken out of competition & you are undermining the very sport you are claiming to champion.
Hall has since retired from World’s Strongest Man competitions after his win in 2017, opting for TV presenting gigs and coaching while Thor continues to compete.