Can Hafthor Bjornsson Win the 2019 Arnold Classic AND World’s Strongest Man?

The world's top strongman in the men's Open division is coming off an incredibly dominant 2018.

He’s big, strong, and still young enough to keep the field on its toes for years to come. After an incredible 2018 strongman season — in which he won every contest he entered — Hafthor Bjornsson has the chance to continue a run of dominance basically unheard of in the sport.

The list is even more impressive to read than to think about. In 2018, Thor won:

Arnold Strongman Classic
Europe’s Strongest Man
World’s Ultimate Strongman
Iceland’s Strongest Man
World’s Strongest Man

Oh, and he even had time to train in powerlifting and put up one of the year’s best totals in THAT sport.

Yes, Thor was dominant last year, and all signs point to him showing up to 2019 competitions in similar — if not better — shape.

But don’t just take my word for it. To see if Thor is shaping up well for 2019 — and to get a short list of potential challengers — I spoke with four experts in the sport of strongman to get their thoughts. They included:

1. Rob Kearney — Professional Strongman, World’s Strongest Man competitor, and an athlete who competed against Thor TWICE in 2018

2. Cara Brennan — Strongwoman Athlete and BarBend Contributor

3. Michael Gill — Retired Professional Strongman, Coach, and BarBend Contributor

4. Kalle Beck — Strongman Athlete, BarBend Contributor, & Owner of Starting Strongman

In the video above, our panel of experts breaks down Thor’s strengths, potential weaknesses (including events where they could see him struggling), and top competition. With a mix of accomplished veterans and hungry younger competitors in this year’s field, there’s not guarantee any one athlete will come out on top.

Do you think there’s anyone out there who can challenge Thor this year? Who would you like to see take his crown? Let us know in the comments below!

David Tao

David Tao

BarBend’s Co-Founder and Editorial Director, David is a veteran of the health & fitness industry, with nearly a decade of experience building and running editorial teams in the space. He also serves as a color commentator for both National and International weightlifting competitions, many through USA Weightlifting. David graduated from Harvard University and served for several years as Editorial Director/Chief Content Officer of Greatist.com.

1 thought on “Can Hafthor Bjornsson Win the 2019 Arnold Classic AND World’s Strongest Man?”

  1. I agree that Hafthor is truly dominant right now – while Kieliszkowski and Licis will become the dominant ones in about 3 or 4 years as Hafthor hits his peak and comes down.

    But I think you underplay what Shaw and Saviskas were able to do for the combined decade that both were as dominant as they were. Saying that we might not see another athlete with the size and athleticism of Hafthor just totally ignores Shaw – similar size, similar athleticism (both have basketball backgrounds) and of course, his 4 titles.

    Shaw is only 1 inch shorter and a littler heavier than Hafthor, while at his peak, Saviskas was more dominant in static events than either athlete. And both managed to stay at the top, alternating championships, for 8 years combined.

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