Published May 7, 2018
Game of Thrones’ legendary eye-gouger The Mountain, aka Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, was recently named World’s Strongest Man during the 2018 edition of the homonymous tournament held this year in Manila, in the Philippines.
Hafþór, who has often been close to reaching the success of Iceland’s favourite strongmen Jón Páll Sigmarsson and Magnús Ver Magnússon, had never previously won the title himself. Until now, he had won Europe’s Strongest Man in 2017, Iceland’s Strongest Man in 2011 and even harshly contested his position as World’s Second Strongest in 2017.
“This weekend I was robbed. The integrity of my beloved sport is in question,” Hafþór wrote then on Instagram, below a grave picture of himself which he later deleted.
This year, however, he managed to beat both Polish strongman Mateusz Kieliszkowski and American competitor Brian Shaw and finally reached his longtime goal. “Want to thank all of my family, friends and fans for supporting me along the way,” he wrote on Instagram, where he published a picture of himself and the other competitors on the podium.
Hafþór’s victory comes only a year after domestic violence allegations brought forward by his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child. In June 2017, Fréttablaðið reported that Hafþór had barred his ex-girlfriend from leaving and grabbed her when she tried to escape. That was the third time in just over six months that police have had to intervene due to Hafþór’s behaviour towards the woman. During a couple of those incidents Hafþór has inflicted bruises on the woman, with the most recent of those taking place December 30 2016.
Later that year, his ex-girlfriend Thelma Björk Steimann claimed to live in fear for her life because of Hafþór’s jealousy. Not only did she accuse him of smacking her and grabbing her neck so hard she would pass out, but also of pushing her down the stairs at a downtown bar.
A couple of weeks later, Hafþór published a statement on Facebook accusing his ex-girlfriend of lying, blinded by her hatred for him. “It is possible she just lost her footing and fell,” he wrote. “I find it very likely that everything in the interview is pure fabrication from beginning to end. I hope the police will find the supposed injury report, because I am preparing a libel case against her.”
In Fréttablaðið’s article, it was claimed that a superintendent at a dorm the two lived at in Selfoss, while he was studying, corroborated Thelma’s account. Hafþór promptly made public email correspondence between the superintendent and his lawyer that, he said, disproved the story. The superintendent confirmed Hafþór’s version of facts: Thelma had had pushed him, and that this was the cause of their arguments, but he also did admit to sometimes crossing the line.
The matter never went to court after Hafþór’s contradictory statements, and no further accusations have been brought forward since.