Moments after they revealed a new trailer for God of War: Ragnarok, the studio behind the game, Sony Santa Monica, tweeted pictures of the cast, including Thor. Sections of internet were immediately annoyed that Thor looks nothing like chiselled hunk Chris Hemsworth. This Thor has a rather prominent belly, but is he just fat? Or is he, to use a modern term, “thicc”.
There seems to be some confusion as to whether such a large chap could be an accurate portrayal of Odin’s most powerful warrior, so to clear things up, we spoke to Darren McCormac, three-time British powerlifting champion and holder of two world records. He is a man who, when his BMI was revealed, was described as “an immobile mountain of uselessness near death.”
We asked Darren what he thought of the new portrayal of Thor, and could he kick ass? “Absolutely,” said Darren. “Like it or not, God of War’s Thor is the peak of male performance.”
“Why do I say that?” he explained, “As a strength athlete, there is a correlation between bulk and strength. In powerlifting, the most competitive classes are the under 100kg and under 110kg – guys who are lifting multiple times their own bodyweight. These are big men. 100kg is 16 stone, 110kg is nearly 18 stone. They won’t be tall, they’ll be bulky.
“The guys lifting the biggest weights will often be in the under 125kg class, but not all these guys will have abs, far from it. They’ll have a layer of lard over it, a power belly. Any old fool can get abs – yes I am looking at you, Mr Hemsworth – but a power belly and big traps (the muscles either side of your neck) are the sign of a bloody strong man. ”
The picture above is Darren setting his second world record when he weighed 133kg and lifted 380kg. That record still stands and is the heaviest lift by a man over 40 in the federation. “I have a belly and it honestly helps me lift better compared to when I was leaner and lifting in the 110s,” says Darren.
“If you’re still not convinced, look at any recent World’s Strongest Man line up,” he said. “With the notable exception of Mariusz Pudzianówski, WSM competitors are brick outhouses with power bellies, big ball guts that give them a good centre of gravity. Look at this year’s winner, Tom Stoltman, a Dad Bod to end all Dad Bods. He’s the strongest man on the planet who excelled in both static events like the squat, and dynamic events like the Atlas Stones.”
“He had to run in some events in World’s Strongest Man,” notes Darren, “I don’t run unless there’s cake involved.”
“Would you call Tom Stoltman fat?” he asked, “How about his brother, Luke? Or anyone else in the World’s Strongest Man line-up? These men are at the peak of physical condition, they have to be. And so is Thor.”
Is God of War: Ragnarok's version of Thor too fat and unrealistic? We speak to world record powerlifter Darren McCormac to find out.