Icelandic professional strongman Hafthor Björnsson has continually stated in interviews and social media posts that 2018 would be his year, and judging by the conclusion of the 2018 Arnold Strongman Classic, it very well may be.
Björnsson had a commanding performance through all five events at this year’s Strongman Classic and walked away with his first-ever Arnold Strongman Classic title and the $72,000 purse. USA’s Brian Shaw finished second and walked away with $22,000, and Russia’s Mikhail Shivlyakov took home third and won $17,000.
Event One: Bag Over Bar
Björnsson’s weekend started strong on Friday with a first-place finish in the Bag Over Bar with his impressive 95-lb sandbag throw. This feat was just shy of the current 100 lb Bag Over Bar world record, which Björnsson set last year.
After Shaw was unable to complete his 100 lb toss, Björnsson declined the opportunity to extend his world record and stayed with the 95 lbs.
Event Two: Stone Shoulder
Moving into the second Stone Shoulder event, Björnsson fell short of finishing first but was able to gain a few points for completing one rep.
This event was dominated by Mateusz Kieliszkowski, as he completed 4-reps, which no other competitor came close to doing. After the first two events, Björnsson sat in first with 18 points, Shivlyakov in second with 17, and Kieliszkowski in third with 15.5.
Event Three: Timber Carry
USA’s Jerry Pritchett dominated this event and finished with an epic 9.58 seconds; he was the only competitor to break the 10-second feat. Shaw walked away with second at 10.03 seconds, closely missing Pritchett’s sub-10-second time accomplishment.
Björnsson took home third in this event with an 11.80-second timber carry. After three events, the top three competitors were Björnsson: 26 points, Shaw: 24.5, and Shivlyakov 23.
Event Four: Elephant Bar Deadlift
It could be argued that this was the event that truly pushed Björnsson ahead and started to shine a light on the reality that he could walk away with the Arnold Strongman Classic title. On his third attempt, Björnsson called for 472kg (1,041 lbs) on the bar, which would be enough to best the current Elephant Bar Deadlift world record by five kilograms.
Björnsson nailed this lift and looked like he even had more in the tank. Shaw sitting 1.5 points behind Björnsson going into this event, had the last say and called for 474 kilograms (1,046 pounds), which would top Björnsson’s previous lift. Unfortunately, Shaw couldn’t complete the rep and had to settle with his second 460-kilogram (1,016-pound) second deadlift attempt.
Event Five: Appolon’s Wheel
Going into event five Bjorsson sat in first with 36 points, Shaw sat in second with 32.5, and Shivlyakov 29. This event entailed competitors completing an axle clean and press for as many reps as possible.
Upon conclusion of the event, Björnsson held off the other competitors and earned his first Arnold Strongman Classic title. When his title became a reality, the expo center was in an excited uproar.
After finishing in a close second at last year’s Arnold Strongman Classic and the World’s Strongest Man, maybe this win is enough to make 2018 Björnsson’s year. It’s going to be exciting to see if he can keep the momentum going at Europe’s Strongest Man in April and throughout the rest of the season.
Feature image from @thorbjornsson Instagram page.