In front of a packed arena of nearly 10,000 people and thousands more watching the live stream online, Eddie Hall deadlifted a mind-blowing, world-record weight of 500kg/1,102lbs at the World Deadlift Championships in Leeds, England.
The hype around this year's championships seemed so unbelievable, it bordered on cheesy. Last year, Hall said he would deadlift 500kg, and many—myself included—barely gave it a second thought. It was an absurd statement. Hall is a phenomenal deadlifter, but world records just don’t fall by 36kg. That's not how it works.
The bar started at 400kg, and with the speed the athletes were pulling their attempts, you could tell something magical was going to happen. Hall roasted 400kg as did Magnusson and Pritchett. Most of the frontrunners were good at 420kg as well, but 440kg proved to be too much for most. Bjornsson picked up big points with a gritty, successful lift, and Pritchett dropped jaws with a very fast rep. Then, 465kg was loaded onto the bar for a new world record. On any other day, three lifters going for a world record would culminate the excitement, but you could tell this was just another step on this magical day.
Hall blasted it, and left little doubt in my mind, and others as well, that 500kg was going to happen. Pritchett followed with a shockingly easy lift, and Magnusson slowed down slightly at lockout. I was almost shocked to see some strain on a deadlift that a few minutes ago, no man had previously lifted.
When 500kg was loaded onto the bar, the crowd was buzzing. Hall strapped in, pulled, and made the weight look effortless—until it passed his knees. He fought to push his hips forward until the judge gave him the down command. A new world record! Logic was defied, and history had been made. The effort took a lot out of Hall; he collapsed around the bar.
After Hall finally regained his composure, heavy tears flowed. You could see how much effort was put into this lift before today. The training leading up to it, the belief, the sacrifice.
These are the moments that make sports great—not the lift itself, but recognizing the sacrifice, heart and determination needed to make the implausible a reality.
*Archived footage unavailable in UK, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Ireland, and Poland.