Hafthor Bjornsson Wins Bag Over Bar, Mateusz Kieliskowski Dominates Stone Shoulder

The energy was electric for the first day of competition at the 2018 Arnold Strongman Classic. Ten of strongman’s best athletes are currently going head-to-head, and after today’s first two events it’s tough to say that any one athlete has a real edge.

The two favored competitors USA’s Brian Shaw and Iceland’s Hafthor Bjornsson recorded strong performances in the first event, but both came up short in the second. Poland’s Mateusz Kieliskowski put on an amazing performance in the second Stone Shoulder event, and some have called his performance one of the top spectacles the sport of strongman has ever seen, but more on that below.

First Event: Bag Over Bar

The first event was the Bag Over Bar, which entailed athletes throwing a Rogue Fitness Sandbag over a 15-foot bar in a 30-second time frame. Competitors all started with a 50 lb bag, then had the option to skip weights accordingly to save energy and hit the most weight they’re capable of.

The final three competitors that surpassed the 80-lb sandbag mark were Brian Shaw, Hafthor Bjornsson, and Russia’s Mikhael Shivlyakov. Unfortunately, Shivlyakov couldn’t complete the bag prior to the 90-lb mark, and Bjornsson and Shaw found themselves going head-to-head.

After a few minutes of anticipation, Bjornsson stepped up to the plate and grabbed the 95-lb bag. He swung with all of his might, but fell just short of the 15-foot mark, and found himself with 20-seconds left to complete the feat before handing the baton to Shaw. As he began to swing his second attempt, the crowd fell quiet, and then in a split second of brute strength he made the toss with roughly 5-seconds to spare.

Shaw now faced with the decision to match Bjornsson’s 95-lb toss, or take a step ahead, decided he would take the risk and shoot for the 100-lb sandbag. The completion of this toss would tie Bjornsson’s world record from last year. Unfortunately, Shaw fell just short on two attempts, and Bjornsson came out on top with his successful 95-lb throw, while Shaw settled with 90-lbs.

Second Event: Stone Shoulder

This event is relatively new to the Arnold Strongman Classic and proved to be a seriously tough feat for competitors. The event entailed competitors picking up an odd-shaped stone from the ground and bringing it to their shoulder, while demonstrating that they had control before receiving a down signal for as many reps as possible in a 2:30 time frame.

The stone for this event weighed roughly 410-lbs and multiple competitors fell short of completing even one rep in the 2:30 time allotment, and were forced to take a 0 for successful makes. One competitor that performed like a weathered pro was Mateusz Kieliskowski.

In the 2:30 time frame he completed four successful reps, which blew the field out of the water, and earned a standing ovation from the crowd. Every successful rep earned competitors 5-points. Keep in mind, Bjornsson only completed one, and Shaw walked away without completing any.

Wrapping Up

With two events in the book, and one epic Stone Shoulder performance from Kieliskowski, we’re pumped to see how the rest of the competition unfolds. As of right now, it looks like the field and top spots are up for grabs, so tomorrow is going to be an extremely exciting day to tune in.

Feature image from @massenomics Instagram page. 

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Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as one of the full time writers and editors at BarBend. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. As of right now, Jake has published over 1,100 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter. On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and was a writer at the Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office. Jake regularly competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a weightlifting shoe sneaker head. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in Hoboken and New York City.