The Strongest of Us All

Iceland is only home to 330,000 people, a tiny national population considering that three times as many people live on Manhattan Island alone. However, the Icelandic people have always been known for their impressive size and strength, namely because they are directly descended from Vikings, among the strongest groups of humans that have existed in world history. This hasn’t changed in modern times, as Scandinavian and British people continue to dominate Strongman competitions (the Vikings settled a large portion of the British Isles during the 9th and 10th Centuries).

That reputation of unmatched strength hasn’t gone anywhere, as Hafthor Bjornsson showed today, breaking the deadlift world record with a lift of 501 kg, or 1,104.52 lbs. Simply witnessing such a feat is so powerful, but to see him do it with such ease was incredible. The previous world record of 500 kg was held by Englishman Eddie Hall, who collapsed after his record lift. By contrast, Bjornsson stood tall after his lift, showing very few signs of struggle throughout the process.

It was incredible to witness, but it’s also interesting to see how many people watched the event. Official numbers aren’t out yet, but estimates peg the total viewership of ESPN’s noon ET broadcast of the record-breaking lift in the millions, unheard of for a strongman event. It only shows that there is a lot of interest in this niche sport, though it was also likely because of the lack of live sports thanks to COVID-19.

However, former strongman champion, American Brian Shaw, expressed reservation at allowing this lift to stand as an official world record. He said that permitting record lifts to happen at home gyms could “open Pandora’s Box.” His proposed solution is to declare Bjornsson’s lift an “unofficial world record” until he can replicate it at a competition, where it would become official. But I disagree.

I don’t see why Hafthor can’t have this record stand officially. He was observed by a certified referee, he only took breaks in accordance with what usually happens in competition, and most importantly, HE DEADLIFTED 501 KG!!! It’s impossible to fake something like that, so I disagree with Shaw. I hope this stands and I want to see Bjornsson break his own record in the future!

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