What do you get when you cross a mountain with a dragon?
Apparently you get a nail biting conclusion to the World’s Strongest Man event in Florida, which saw The Mountain defeated by a Latvian-born American with an equally bad ass name, The Dragon.
Yep, that’s right. The Mountain, real name Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, had his title taken away from him by Martins Licis – who had competed for the title just three times previously.
— World's Strongest (@WorldsStrongest) June 16, 2019
Björnsson, from Iceland, first won the title last year in the Philippines, with many expecting him to take another win this year.
However, 28-year-old Licis surprised everyone when he took the title instead, despite weighing a massive 50kg less than the 200kg Game of Thrones actor.
Notably, BarBend reports, The Mountain suffered a significant injury on the first day of the competition, tearing his plantar fascia along the bottom of his foot.
Hoping to add to his 2018 success, Björnsson didn’t give up and continued fighting for the title. However, those watching the competition noticed a difference in his performance due to the injury.
Licis, weighing in at 150kg and standing at more than six feet, is known as The Dragon because of the fire he says he has inside him, news.com.au reports.
Taking the win on Monday (June 17) at Manatee Beach on Anna Maria Island, Florida, the 28-year-old carried out a number of impressive lifts which succeeded in seeing him written into the history books.
Licis says he’s been chasing this dream his entire life, admitting he’s been dreaming about winning the title ever since he was a child.
As such, the champion says he used to lift stones in his hometown in Latvia, practicing for when he eventually got to compete.
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Despite suffering the injury on the first day of competition during the Super Yoke & Farmer’s Walk Medley event, Björnsson finished an impressive third.
The 6ft 9in, 200kg actor declared prior to this year’s event he may have the upper hand due to Game of Thrones wrapping and being able to dedicate more time to training.
The signs were promising, with The Mountain qualifying for Monday’s final in the first two days of the event – but ultimately he was pipped to the post by Licis.
Congratulations to The Dragon on becoming the strongest man on Earth!
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).