1000 years ago, Orm Storolfson carried the giant mast of the Viking ship Ormen Lange on his shoulders as he took three steps. That record went unchallenged for a millennium, until this year when Game of Thrones actor Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, who plays The Mountain, smashed it. It’s surprising, but not too surprising – he’s pretty good at smashing things, if memory serves. (I MISS YOU, OBERYN!)
In preparation for the World’s Strongest Man competition, Björnsson made history as the winner of the World’s Strongest Viking competition. Not only did he match the ancient Viking’s feat, but he beat it, carrying the 650 kg log two extra steps. In the Icelandic Saga book that details Orm Storulfsson’s original impressive feat, it takes 50 men to place the log on his back, which breaks under the massive pressure from the log after he takes the three steps.
In addition to acting, the very tall Icelandic strong man was also once a professional basketball player, and has competed in the World’s Strongest Man competition every year since winning a wild card spot in 2011. Aptly nicknamed “Thor” in real life, after carrying the 10 meter long log five steps to break the ancient record, Björnsson made sure we knew he didn’t share the original record holder’s fate. “My back held up fine,” he said.