It’d be hard to top the weekend of March 2-5, 2023 for Victoria Long. While the strongwoman captured her second consecutive Arnold Strongwoman Classic (ASC) title in Columbus, OH, she notched a remarkable feat in the process. On the second day of competition, Long set a new World Record by completing an Elephant Bar Deadlift of 295.2 kilograms (651 pounds). It was quite the way to put a cherry on top of a fruitful performance.
The Elephant Bar deadlift was introduced by Rogue Fitness and made its debut during the 2016 ASC, though it didn’t have a record among strongwomen competitors until 2020. An Elephant Bar is a specialized barbell manufactured by Rogue Fitness. The 10-foot length is significantly longer than a traditional barbell, which allows the bar to bend as an athlete pulls through the range of motion. The extended distance also adds “whip” to the lockout position as the weights rebound slightly from momentum. Overall, this combination makes the lift uniquely challenging compared to other deadlift variations.
A little later in the competition, 10th-place ASC finisher Tamara Walcott would match Long’s mark by pulling identical weight. During the 2022 Rogue Record Breakers, Walcott had previously set the Elephant Bar Deadlift record with a pull of 290.7 kilograms (641 pounds) at the 2022 ASC. The athlete has now added 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) to her all-time best number. Both competitors utilized lifting belts for support. Long applied lifting straps, which are in abidance with Strongwoman rules, to assist with the milestone.
Notably, Walcott opted not to use any grip support, likely owing to her experience as a competitive powerlifter where straps are not permitted. However, fans and commentators were notably surprised by Walcott’s significant struggle to achieve a decisive lockout compared to Long’s apparent ease with the record lift. Nonetheless, for Long and Walcott to put on a show with this variation of a barbell remains impressive.
On a wide-spanning competitive level, Long’s victory and record-setting performance are nothing new for the strongwoman superstar. According to Strongman Archives, the athlete has only ever fallen short of a win once in six career contests — her competitive debut at the 2019 World’s Strongest Woman (WSW) contest. Ever since, Long has maintained a spotless resume including two America’s Strongest Woman titles (2021, 2022), the 2022 Shaw Classic championship, and now two consecutive ASC titles.
As for Walcott, after a disappointing competitive strongwoman debut, matching the Elephant Bar Deadlift record was likely a welcome way to finish. Transitioning from powerlifting to strongwoman and vice versa can be challenging for athletes. For Walcott to find a way to maximize her initial appearance could speak volumes of massive improvements should she continue in strongwoman competitions. For additional context on prowess in her first professional strength sport, according to Open Powerlifting, Walcott has not lost a powerlifting competition since October 2019.
Long may have enjoyed the victory en route to her second title win. To notch a World Record in a prestigious contest is not insignificant and speaks to the growing power of one of the most formidable women competitors in strength sports.
Featured image: @roguefitness on Instagram