Update: We have the best video yet of Rahman’s 305kg lift (his heaviest that counted for the competition), embedded below! He would go on to lift 310kg on a granted 4th attempt.
Iranian powerlifter Siamand Rahman is the world’s strongest Paralympian — and to follow up a dominating performance at the 2012 London Games, he defended his men’s superheavyweight title in Rio in convincing fashion. Earlier today, Rahman benched 310 kilograms/682 pounds, winning his class by a shocking 70 kilograms. Rahman’s third lift at 305kg was the highest to count for the competition, but a fourth attempt was allowed in order to let him go for a new World Record. His final lift also set a new World Record in the bench press for Paralympians; Rahman remains the only Paralympian to bench press 300 kilograms or more in competition.
Here’s a video from Iranian Olympic weightlifting champion Kianoush Rostami, where we can hear the 2016 85kg gold medalist cheering on his countryman Rahman.
Another angle shot from the stands.
Rahman winning isn’t much of a surprise to powerlifting fans, and even his incredible margin of victory wasn’t too shocking (though he nearly doubled his margin of victory from London, which was an almost unprecedented 38 kilograms; there, he finished with 280kg to win the weight class).
But his new record does add more validity to the thought that Rahman may very well be the world’s most dominate strength athlete, as he’s so far ahead of his competition, it’s tough to imagine someone catching up to him anytime soon. He’s also expressed intent to go after Kirill Sarychev‘s raw bench record of 335kg, set back in 2015. Yes, 25kg is a lot of room to cover, but Rahman improved his Olympic total by 30kg in four years, so it’s not out of the question. Plus, he’s gone as heavy as 320kg on camera, though not in a competition setting.
It’s a real possibility that Rahman — born without the use of his legs, which can play a huge role in providing stability and strength on the bench press — could one day bench more raw than any human in history.
Featured image: @siamand_rahman on Instagram
Weightlifting contributor Mike Graber contributed to this report.