A deserved honor for an all-time great.
Written by Robert Zeglinski
Hafthor Björnsson is best known in the strength sports world for his stellar work with Atlas Stones, log lifts, and deadlifts. Such a steadfast commitment to the former 2018 World’s Strongest Man champion’s strength work has earned him a deserved spot among some of the greatest athletes in history.
On Jan. 31, 2023, it was revealed that Björnsson would be a part of the International Sports Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Class of 2023. Björnsson will enter the ISHOF alongside fellow luminaries like two-time judo Olympic gold medalist (2012, 2016) Kayla Harrison and four-time Super Bowl champion (1981, 1984, 1988-1989) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. Dr. Robert Goldman initially created the ISHOF in 2012.
Björnsson is the third professional strongman to be recognized by the ISHOF.
Mark Henry, the inaugural 2002 Arnold Strongman Classic (ASC) winner and a former WWE World Heavyweight champion, was inducted into the ISHOF as a part of the first class in 2012. Three-time WSM champion (1980-1982) Bill Kazmaier would join Henry in 2017. Now Björnsson can count himself among their exclusive company.
Here is an overview of the full 2023 ISHOF class:
2023 International Sports Hall of Fame Class
- Hafthor Björnsson: 2018 WSM champion, ASC champion (2018-2020), Iceland’s Strongest Man (2011-2020)
- Ronnie Lott: Pro Football Hall of Famer, four-time Super Bowl champion (1981, 1984, 1988-1989)
- Kayla Harrison: Two-time Olympic judo gold medalist (2012, 2016)
- Jackie Joyner-Kersee: Six-time Olympic track and field medalist (spread between 1984 and 1996, including three gold medals)
- Richard Sorin: Founder of Sorinex Exercise Equipment, grip strength icon
In addition to Björnsson’s sterling competitive record — which also includes noteworthy achievements such as five Europe’s Strongest Man titles (2014-2015, 2017-2019) and three WSM runner-up finishes (2014, 2016-2017) — he possesses an assortment of strength records.
The most recognizable might be Björnsson’s 501-kilogram (1,104.5 pounds) World Record deadlift from the 2020 World’s Ultimate Strongman “Feats of Strength” series. Another is the Weight Over Bar World Record from the 2022 Strongman Rogue Invitational. The athlete threw a 25.4-kilogram (56-pound) weight over a 20-foot, three-inch high bar to extend his own previous record mark.
In terms of recent athletic exploits outside of a strongman context, Björnsson defeated former strongman rival and 2017 WSM winner Eddie Hall in a March 2022 boxing match. In a December 2022 return to professional powerlifting at the 2022 Thor’s Christmas Powerlifting Meet, the athlete attained a 970-kilogram (2,138.5-pound) total in the 140-kilogram-plus weight class.
Björnsson’s ISHOF honor might be even more noteworthy, considering he likely isn’t done as a strongman or powerlifting competitor. In October 2022, the Icelander alluded to a potential future where he’s moonlighting as both an elite strongman and powerlifter while continuing to pursue new World Records. In this case, the 34-year-old’s Hall of Fame honor and resume could only shine brighter in the coming years.
Featured image: @thorbjornsson on Instagram
About Robert Zeglinski
Robert is a seasoned and adept editor and writer with a keen, passionate penchant for the writing craft. He’s been a leader in newsrooms such as SB Nation, USA TODAY, and WBBM Newsradio, with various other content and art production teams, and first made a name for himself in his hometown of Chicago. When not knee-deep in research or lost in a stream of consciousness for a thorough piece, you can find Robert inhaling yet another novel, journaling his heart out, or playing with his Shiba Inu, Maximus (Max, for short).