A giant man from Iceland has won the title of World’s Strongest Man.
Hafthor Bjornsson, who is 206cm tall and weighs 200kg, is already a global* TV superstar. But his lifelong dream was to win this competition.
He has finished in the top three every year since 2012 and came second the past two years.
Mr Bjornsson plays Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane in the TV show Game of Thrones, a fantasy* about battles between good and evil and set in a made-up world. He’s the strongest man in that made-up world. And now he’s the strongest man in the real world.
The 29-year-old won the competition, which was held in Manilla, in the Philippines, by scoring 51.5 points. Second place went to Mateusz Kieliszkowski, 6.5 points behind Mr Bjornsson.
The competition is over several days and competitors fight it out through many strength events in qualifying* rounds and then finals. Mr Bjornsson won the Loading Race and Overhead Press in the finals.
In the Loading Race, athletes load several heavy objects, each weighing 100-163kg, onto the back of a truck. In the Overhead Press, they lift the heaviest weight they can above their heads.
In other events, they pull trucks, buses and aeroplanes along a track, carry cars, throw weights over high bars, hold weights out by their sides with straight arms and, in an event called Atlas Stones, they lift enormous, heavy stones up onto a platform.
British strongman Eddie Hall set a world record in 2016 during the competition, when he lifted 500kg — half a tonne — in a type of lift called a dead lift. Mr Hall won in 2017 and retired* before this year’s competition.
Although Mr Bjornsson is huge and plays a brutal* warrior* on TV, he doesn’t like the idea of hurting anyone with his strength.
He once said that a Game of Thrones scene in which his character crushed another warrior with his bare hands “actually made my heart hurt”.
This article was originally published by The Sun and reproduced with permission.
SOME REALLY HEAVY THINGS
- Hafthor Bjornsson weighs 200kg. Fremantle’s Aaron Sandilands, the heaviest player in the AFL, is about 120kg. The heaviest players in the NRL are 120-130kg.
- Weights in the Loading Race are each about 100-163kg. One litre of milk weighs 1kg. Each heavy object competitors lift onto the back of a truck is as heavy as 100-163 litres of milk.
- Eddie Hall lifted 500kg in 2016. An average adult cow is about 700kg and a bull is about 1000kg.
- The heaviest weight ever lifted by a human could be by Paul Anderson in 1957, when he is thought to have lifted 2844.024kg. This lift was in the Guiness Book of World Records in 1985 but the record is no longer recognised* because there wasn’t an official checker present.
global: world wide
fantasy: a made up, impossible world
qualifying: a step to go through before the next step
retired: not working or competing any more
warrior: brave or experienced fighter
recognised: officially known or acknowledged
LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY
1. The World’s Strongest Man!
Who is Hafthor Bjornsson? Write a short competitor’s profile about him that could be found on the competitors list for this event.
What are some of the events that are included in this competition? Which one sounds the hardest to you? Why?
What would be the benefits of being this strong? Make a list of benefits. Can you think of any negatives?
The heaviest weight lifted by a human is 2844.024kg (although no longer recognised in the Guiness Book of World Records). Find out how much you weigh and calculate how many of you (to the nearest whole person) would be needed to make this weight. Can you make this weight exactly using the weight of a combination of your classmates? For example: 24 of person A (40kg) + 36 of person B (28kg) etc. Only include people who are comfortable to share their weight with you. Or your teacher could co-ordinate a list that has peoples weight listed anonymously.
Extension: Mr Bjornsson and other competitors train for many hours every day and eat enormous amounts to build strength.
What types of food would these athletes need to eat to help build muscle?
Make a list of these foods.
Why would it be important to include other foods as well as these foods?
What type of training might they include to prepare themselves for the competition? Make a list of activities that you think will help them become the Strongest Man or Woman in the World.
Time: Allow 45 minutes
Curriculum links: English, Mathematics, Health and Physical Education
2. Create a Trophy
Design a trophy that could be presented to the World’s Strongest Man or Woman. Design the trophy to reflect one of the events that take place in the competition.
Draw a design brief of how you would make the trophy. Label the parts with the materials you would use and write step-by-step instructions on how to build it.
Why do you think this design is perfect for “The World’s Strongest Man or Woman”?
Extension: If possible, find the materials to make your trophy. Then follow your design brief to create the trophy. Make notes of where it worked and where it didn’t. Maybe the materials in your plan were unavailable — what did you use instead? Maybe what you had planned did not balance very well and kept breaking — how did you adjust your design? Maybe it worked exactly as you expected!
Time: Allow 60 minutes
Extra Resources: Materials for building a trophy, Scales to weigh yourself.
Curriculum links: English, The Arts — Visual Arts
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many pieces of punctuation as you can find in green.
Discuss how these are being used, where and how often.
What level of the punctuation pyramid is the journalist using in this article?
Take a blank piece of paper and draw a grid of six spaces on it.
You will also need a dice between pairs.
Pick six different pieces of punctuation to use in the next activity. Try to pick some easy and some challenging ones.
Write a different piece of punctuation in each of the 1-6 grid spaces.
Think of a topic. How about: Recess Time
Roll the dice and whichever piece of punctuation you roll, use it to create a sentence about the topic. You can either say the sentence verbally and you will need to act out the punctuation as you speak. Or you can write it down and show where the punctuation needs to go.
Earn a point for each piece of punctuation used.
For example: Recess is my favourite break at school, because Mum always packs me a yummy treat.
Take turns, going back and forth. After three turns each, change the topic.
IN ONE SENTENCE, TELL US WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THIS STORY
Please do not use one-word answers. Explain what you enjoyed or found interesting about the article. Use lots of adjectives.
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