As Game of Thrones’ Hafthor ‘The Mountain’ Bjornsson gears up to break Eddie ‘The Beast’ Hall’s deadlift world record with 501 kg, the pair have locked horns over social media and fellow Strongman Robert Oberst has weighed in with his say.
In 2016, Eddie Hall shattered the previous equipped deadlift world record by becoming the first man in history to pull 500kg from the floor with a conventional barbell.
Since then, many have tried – but have failed – to repeat Eddie’s historic lift in a competition. Stepping up next to the platform is Hafthor Bjornsson on May 2 — and with five Europe’s Strongest Man titles and eight World’s Strongest Man podium finishes under his belt, he’s definitely cut-out for the job.
Eddie “doesn’t trust the Icelandics”
After catching wind that Bjorsson’s upcoming attempt to beat his record would be set outside of the traditional competitive environment, Eddie addressed this during his April 5 livestream Q&A.
The Brit labeled the Icelandics as untrustworthy (later clarifying that he was only referring to Hafthor and his team), by citing his 2017 WSM win, where he referenced Bjornsson’s alleged “intimidation” tactics after being overruled by a judge during the Viking Press event.
All of the above and more was later cleared up in an April 11 Instagram post by Hall, where he called Hafthor out for “hypocrisy,” stating that “he’ll drag his name through mud or place it upon a pedestal to suit his objective.”
View this post on Instagram
‼️PRESS RELEASE ‼️ Firstly & most importantly, I would like to apologise for my comment in a live Youtube Q&A where I said I didn’t trust the Icelandics; LINK IN BIO↖️ a very poor choice of words when put on the spot. In reality this couldn’t be further from the truth, I was specifically referring to Thor & his entourage that accompany him to every competition. You’ll not see this from the public’s perspective or on TV, but their attitude & behaviour is generally intimidation & bullying if even the smallest thing doesn’t go Thor’s way. Talk about unsportsmanlike like and unprofessional behaviour, you’ve got it right here. • At WSM 2017 Thor would not accept a certain referees decision on a certain event (Swipe left). He called into disrepute the judging skills of a referee which was then looked at by 3 referees & the decision was given to the legend that is Magnus Ver Magnusson who stood his ground and has since been appointed head referee at WSM, but now Thor will take his word as golden to be the judge at his 501kg deadlift attempt, talk about hypocrisy? He’ll drag his name through mud or place it upon a pedestal to suit his objective. • Because of the malicious rumours Thor & his team started I’ve endured years of people questioning what is the crowning achievement of my career. Well guess what pal, you break my record in your home gym with a bunch of your pals, you’re going to get the same treatment. • Absolutely no legitimate sport would acknowledge World Records broken out of competition & you are undermining the very sport you are claiming to champion. • I genuinely look forward to having my record broken & seeing what is possible. I think you are probably the man to do it, there’s no denying that & I’ll still shake your hand afterwards and say well done… if you do it under the appropriate conditions. For the record I feel the same way about the other “records” that are being attempted, it just doesn’t feel right & there are 1000s of strength fans & athletes that feel the same way. • Break a record in a comp where other people can contest it & no one will have a negative word to say, including myself. #SetAnExample #BackUpYourBull ? Big Love THE BEAST
The Beast vs. The Mountain
Of course, Eddie’s comments sparked outrage in the Icelandic camp, with Hafthor himself using his Instagram story to call out the current world record holder — specifically referring to him as an “arrogant a**hole.”
As you’d expect, the pair have locked horns since April 5 and have been toing and froing via their Instagram stories. Bjornsson even claimed that Hall was “obsessed” with him and has been attempting to undermine his 501kg attempt, while stating that Hall had failed to win anything else internationally.
Oberst has his say: World record should not stand
With both camps setting up shop, fellow American Strongman, Robert Oberst, weighed in with his say in his April 12 YouTube video.
As a neutral, Oberst arrived at the conclusion that the attempt should not stand as an official world record, given that Bjorsson will not have to deal with the strains and pressures of an official competition.
Dealing with other lifters, the equipment used and the pressures of the crowd are all factors which an athlete usually has to consider. Whereas Thor will get to deadlift from his home gym, with fellow Icelandic and former Strongman Magnús Ver Magnússon as the referee.
However, with all that being said, Hafthor has his eyes set on one goal: to be the first man to pull 501 kg from the ground on a conventional barbell. But only time will tell whether it stands as an official world record.