'The Mountain' Hafthor Bjornsson Crowned 2018 World's Strongest Man

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured Columnist

HAINAN ISLAND, CHINA - AUGUST 24:  Hafthor Bjornsson of Iceland competes at the Deadlift for Max event during the World's Strongest Man competition at Yalong Bay Cultural Square on August 24, 2013 in Hainan Island, China.  (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)
Victor Fraile/Getty Images

Icelandic powerlifter Hafthor Bjornsson was crowned 2018 World's Strongest Man on Sunday after winning three of the final weekend's six events in Manila, Philippines.

Bjornsson, famous for his role as Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane on Game of Thrones, finished second in the 20-ton truck pull before winning the loading race to secure his maiden first-place finish in this competition.

The World's Strongest Man Facebook page confirmed Sunday's result.

His victory also made him the first athlete to win World's Strongest Man, Europe's Strongest Man and the Arnold Strongman Classic all in the same calendar year.

Omid Amiri, president of the World Strongman Federation-USA, posted a photo of the hulking Bjornsson atop his podium, even making runner-up Mateusz Kieliszkowski and bronze medallist Brian Shaw look somewhat small.

Bjornsson finished runner-up in World's Strongest Man for the third time in 2017, but he finally made that vital step up to the peak of the podium, ending up a substantial 6.5 points ahead of his nearest rival on Sunday.

Here are the results from each of Sunday's events, per Kalle Beck of StartingStrongman.com:

           

Truck Pull

1. Mateusz Kieliszkowski: 35.95 seconds

2. Hafthor Bjornsson: 36.06 seconds

3. Matjaz Belsak: 36.75 seconds

4. Brian Shaw: 36.76 seconds

5. Martins Licis: 38.95 seconds

6. Johan Els: 40.25 seconds

7. JF Caron: 41.0 seconds

8. Robert Oberst: 41.10 seconds

9. Konstantine Janashia: 43 seconds

         

Loading Race

1. Hafthor Bjornsson: 31.22 seconds

2. Mateusz Kieliszkowski: 33.66 seconds

3. Johan Els: 34.12 seconds

4. JF Caron: 40.61 seconds

5. Brian Shaw: 43.44 seconds

6. Robert Oberst: 44.98 seconds

7. Matjaz Belsak: 52.33 seconds

8. Konstantine Janashia: 52.92 seconds

9. Martins Licis: 4 sacks in 37 seconds

         

Atlas Stones

1. Johan Els: 5 in 43 seconds

2. Martins Licis: 4 in 26 seconds

3. JF Caron: 4 in 34.08 seconds

4. Brian Shaw: 4 in 40 seconds

5. Hafthor Bjornsson: 4 in 41 seconds

6. Mateusz Kieliszkowski: 4 in 42 seconds

7. Matjaz Belsak: 3 in 37.74 seconds

8. Konstantine Janashia: 3 in 46 seconds

            

Bjornsson led Shaw after Saturday's opening salvo of events but only by 2.5 points, and it was on Sunday that he demonstrated why he deserves to be a man of mythical proportions on Game of Thrones.

Sunday's performance in Manila was so impressive, in fact, that an average display in the closing Atlas Stones didn't prevent him from clinching a big piece of history in the sport, per strongman fan Stephen Griffin:

The truck pull gave Bjornsson an opportunity to put his 6'9" frame to superb use in the day's opening event, where he traversed the course in 36.06 seconds, just one-tenth of a second slower than event winner and eventual runner-up Kieliszkowski.

And Kieliszkowski's challenge to the throne continued in the loading race, where athletes race around a 50-foot course packing five objects, weighing up to 164 kilograms apiece, onto a platform.

It was here that Bjornsson's athleticism came to play a factor, and his winning time of 31.22 seconds was more than two seconds faster than second-place Kieliszkowski.

The Mountain entered the final event, the Atlas Stones, 5.5 points ahead of nearest opponent Kieliszkowski, meaning a sixth-placed finish was all that was needed to secure the top prize on offer.

He managed to place four of the five stones atop their platform in 41 seconds, which was good enough for fifth, but Kieliszkowski couldn't capitalise and finished only one place ahead, while Shaw came fourth. Johan Els was the only athlete to lift all five stones and did so in a blistering 43 seconds.

Eddie Hall was the 2017 World's Strongest Man but was absent from this year's competition and was humble on Instagram after Bjornsson confirmed his place as his successor:

"From one champion to another....Well done @thorbjornsson well deserved win!!!"

In the end, Bjornsson didn't just win his first World's Strongest Man title but sauntered to it in style, demonstrating to the world his might at only 29 years of age. 

Sunday's result marked a seventh consecutive podium finish at the World's Strongest Man for Bjornsson, but a debut win could herald the coming of a new dominant force in this competition.

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