Bobby Thompson, “The American Nightmare,” is a World’s Strongest Man finalist from Virginia, USA. Also known as “Beautiful Bobby Thompson,” he is a professional strongman and current American record holder in the log lift.
At 6-foot, 1 inch (1.85m), Bobby is not one of the taller athletes in the upper echelons of the sport, but at 161kg (355lb), he has packed a huge amount of muscle onto his frame and is renowned for being one of the most statically powerful strongmen in the world.
Thompson was born into a military family, in Germany, before settling in Virginia. His father was a cross-country runner and there were no other strongmen in his family. However, Bobby describes himself as always being “the strong guy” in his small-town setting and has successfully capitalised on his massive natural strength.
Bobby has made tremendously fast progress in the sport from his first contest experience in the novice class. Whilst working in a gym, Thompson was approached and asked to compete in a small local contest, which he won with very little specific equipment training.
His coach, Zane Angle, asked him if he wanted to take things seriously and his progress in the sport has been carefully mapped ever since. Arguably the biggest turning point in his career to date was his Arnold Amateur Strongman World Championship victory in 2019, which helped propel him into the limelight and international competition.
After making his Giants Live debut at The North American Open, in 2019, where he placed 4th, Bobby made his Arnold Classic professional debut in 2020 – placing 9th – and was able to qualify for his first World’s Strongest Man contest. He placed 3rd in his heat, after losing a stone-off to Britain’s Graham Hicks.
He returned the following year to successfully qualify for the finals, where he placed 9th. Despite withdrawing from the last event, Thompson was able to post the second heaviest maximum log lift (205kg/452lb) and deadlift repetition total (9 reps with 350kg/772lb, proving his credentials as one of the best static lifters anywhere in the world.
In 2021, Thompson defeated Rob Kearney’s American log lift record with a successful lift of 217.5kg (480lb). A year later he achieved a top three finish at the Arnold Classic and the Giants Live World Log Lift Challenge, losing out to Luke Stoltman and Iron Biby.
In 2019 Bobby won the Arnold Amateur Strongman World Championships in Columbus, Ohio. Coming into the final event – the deadlift for repetitions – he was just half a point ahead of fellow American, Marcus Crowder. Bobby was able to win the deadlift with 15 reps and take the Amateur world title.
Bobby’s greatest ambition is “to be the best I can be in strongman.” For him, that means capturing the World’s Strongest Man title at least once in his career. He has stated in an interview that he also wants to be the first athlete to ever compete at World’s Strongest Man, the Arnold Strongman Classic and the CrossFit Games.
At the top of his list of immediate goals, Thompson wants to secure a world record in the log lift, which would mean surpassing Iron Biby’s 229kg/505lb mark, established in Glasgow in 2021. He has also stated his desire to break the deadlift world record and eclipse Eddie Hall’s 500kg/1,102lb competition lift, as well as Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson’s501kg/1,105lb effort set during lockdown.
Thompson’s performance at the Giants Live World Log Lift Challenge, as part of the World’s Strongest Man Arena Tour, will be broadcast on Channel 5 over the Christmas period, as will his performance at the World’s Strongest Man finals.
Supporters and fans of Bobby can follow his training and competition progress through his Instagram account: @bobby_thompson_prostrongman. Thompson has over 29k followers who enjoy watching his training and reading his motivational messages. There is also a plentiful supply of videos of Bobby on YouTube, showing his contest performances, training sessions and interviews for Laurence Shahlaei’s channel, Big Loz Official and many others.