Last Updated on November 25, 2023

Hafthor Bjornsson of Iceland broke through for his first major professional strongman victory when he won the Arnold Strongman Classic at the 30th Anniversary of the Arnold Sports Festival. The event also serves as the Arnold Pro Strongman World Championship.

Bjornsson was competing in the Arnold Strongman Classic for the 8th straight year. He finished second in 2017 and was fifth in 2016. He also finished second in World’s Strongest Man three of the past four years.

Three-time champion Brian Shaw of Lupton, Colo., finished second and Mikhail Shivlyakov of Russia was third.

Bjornsson, who is best known in some circles as the actor who plays “Mountain” on Game Of Thrones,” dominated with two first-place finishes (Elephant Bar Deadlift, Bag Over Bar) and two third-place efforts (The Stone Shoulder, Timber Carry) in the first four events to building a commanding 36-32.5 lead over Shaw heading into the final event.

In the final event during the Arnold Classic Finals at Battelle Grand, Bjornsson and Shaw each pressed the 400-pound Appollon’s Wheels overhead three times in the allotted two minutes to finish tied for first. Bjornsson entered the final event only needing one rep to claim the title but put the famed ROGUE Fitness apparatus overhead four times to the delight of the sold-out crowd.

Bjornsson set a new world record in the ROGUE Elephant Bar Deadlift by locking in an amazing 1,041 pounds. Shaw was second with a lift of 1,016 pounds. Bjornsson also won the Bag Over Bar by tossing a 95-pound, custom-made ROGUE Fitness bag over a 15-foot-high bar.

Mateusz Kieliszkowski of Poland won The Stone Shoulder by lifting the 410-pound rock four times while Jerry Pritchett of the USA won the Timer Carry by moving the 1,102-pound wooden frame up a 35-foot ramp in an amazing 9.58 seconds.

For the victory, Bjornsson received congratulations from Arnold Schwarzenegger, $72,000 and the Louis Cyr Trophy. Shaw earned $22,000 for finishing second.

Bjornsson, a seven-time Iceland’s Strongest Man winner, qualified for the Arnold Strongman Classic by winning the Arnold Pro Strongman World Series qualifier held at Festival Hommes Forts Warwick in Quebec, Canada in July 2017. The Arnold Pro Strongman World Series features qualifying events at Arnold Sports Festival events and select stand-alone competitions around the world, with winners advancing to compete in the Arnold Pro Strongman World Series Championship at the Arnold Sports Festival.

2018 Arnold Pros Strongman Final Results

  • 1st place (45.5 points): Hafthor Bjornsson of Iceland, $72,000
  • 2nd place (42): Brian Shaw of Lupton, Colo., $22,000
  • 3rd place (30): Mikhail Shivlyakov of Russia, $17,000
  • 4th place (29): Mateusz Kieliskowski of Poland, $12,000
  • 5th place (28): Jean-Francois Caron of Canada, $10,000.
  • 6th place, tie (24): Jerry Pritchett of Phoenix, Ariz., $6,500
  • 6th place, tie (24): Matjaz Belsak of Slovenia, $6,500
  • 8th place (22.5): Rauno Heinla of Estonia, $4,000.
  • 9th place (18.5): Dimitar Savatinov of Bulgaria, $3,000.
  • 10th place (11.5): Mateusz Ostaszewski of Poland, $2,000.

The 2018 Arnold Strongman Classic was held over two days in five events: Bag Over Bar, The Stone Shoulder, Timber Carry, ROGUE Elephant Bar Deadlift and Appolon’s Wheel. The Appolon’s Wheel was held at the Battelle Grand at the Greater Columbus Convention Center as part of the Arnold Classic, Bikini International and Arnold Men’s Physique Finals.

The 2018 Arnold Strongman Classic is sponsored by ROGUE Fitness and Midway Labs USA.

Hafthor Bjornsson Wins 1st Arnold Strongman Classic