Hafthor Bjornsson Wins 2018 Arnold Strongman Classic

Icelandic professional strongman Hafthor Bjornsson 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.

Bjornsson had a commanding performance through all five events at this year’s Stongman Classic and walked away with his first ever Arnold Strongman Classic title and the $72,000 USD purse. USA’s Brian Shaw finished second and walked away with $22,000 USD, and Russia’s Mikhail Shivlyakov took home third and won $17,000 USD.

Event One: Bag Over Bar

Bjornsson’s weekend started off 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 Bjornsson set last year.

After Shaw was unable to complete his 100 lb toss, Bjornsson 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, Bjornsson fell short of finishing first, but was able to gain a few points for completing one rep.

This event was dominated by Mateusz Kieliskowski, as he completed 4-reps, which no other competitor came close to doing. After the first two events, Bjornsson sat in first with 18 points, Shivlyakov in second with 17, and Kieliskowski 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 time feat. Shaw walked away with second at 10.03 second, closely missing Pritchett’s sub 10-second time accomplishment.

Bjornsson took home third in this event with a 11.80 second timber carry. After three events the tops three competitors were as follows: Bjornsson: 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 Bjornsson ahead and started to shine light on the reality that he could walk away with the Arnold Strongman Classic title. On his third attempt, Bjornsson called for 472kg (1,041 lbs) on the bar, which would be enough to best the current Elephant Bar Deadlift world record by 5kg.

Bjornsson nailed this lift and looked like he even had more in the tank. Shaw sitting 1.5 points behind Bjornsson going into this event had the last say and called for 474kg (1,046 lbs), which would top Bjornsson’s previous lift. Unfortunately, Shaw couldn’t complete the rep and had to settle with his second 460kg (1,016 lb) 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, Bjornsson was able to hold off the other competitors and earn his first Arnold Strongman Classic title. When his title became a reality the expo center was in an excited uproar.

Wrapping Up

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 truly make 2018 Bjornsson’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. 

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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.