Eleiko — The Masters of Steel

Tomasz Kurowski
Aug 18, 2016 · 4 min read

We are getting closer and closer to the Olympic Games in Rio, first ever to be held in Brazil. I and my friends are looking forward to Ilya Ilin competing for a 3rd straight gold medal in weightlifting (being equal with Mighty Pyrros Dimas). If he wins again, it will be done with an Eleiko Bar rising high over the top of his head. In this article, I’ll present you a brief history of the Eleiko in sports.

Centuries ago, the Swedes, then known as Vikings were the masters of blacksmith craft. Their hand weapons, at the time, were considered to be masterpieces of engineering. It didn’t change over a span of hundreds of years. In the XVII and XVIII centuries, Sweden was the main supplier of steel in Europe, delivering about 50% of its demand. These were also the times of Sweden’s biggest military successes, e.g., the Deluge took place from 1655 to 1660, leaving Poland in ashes. Its army was equipped with best war devices possible.

Right now, we still look at Sweden as a steel potentate. It is nearly impossible not to know some of their firms like Scania, Volvo, Saab, Husqvarna, Ericson, Skanska or Electrolux. But there is yet another one, the Eleiko. An official supplier of barbells to the biggest lifting competitions all around the world — World Championships and The Olympic Games.

However, before the Eleiko appeared, the weightlifting events were quite troublesome since there was no bar available to handle the weight load and they often broke in half causing a huge danger to the lifters. In 1957 waffle irons makers, Hellström (who was a big weightlifting lover and a lifter himself) and Mrs. Tyra Johansson, came up with an idea why not to try create a solid weightlifting bar.
After years of tests, in 1963, the first Eleiko bar was released and officially used in the World Championships in Stockholm. It might funny, but the knurling of the bar was taken off from a waffle iron. The Swedish newspaper described it as below:

”When the Eleiko bar was introduced at the World
Championships in Stockholm 1963 the world of
weightlifting was stunned — a bar that could last an
entire competition without bending or cracking!
No one had never seen anything like it.”

As the reception of the bar was beyond makers’ wildest dreams, the Eleiko became an official supplier of the weightlifting bars for World Championships and Olympic Games. Later on, the firm introduced Bumpers (special rubber plates for weightlifting). All of the Eleiko products are hand-made from Swedish components and local steel using their skilled craftsmanship. In a process of creating every single bar is tested by being put to the pressure of 1500kg, if the product bends or gets damaged is immediately recalled from the line. The proper bars have special identification codes engraved on the side not to confuse them with fake ones.

Since 1980 the Eleiko is also the only producer of official IPF bars. Which is often called as a ‘stiffed-bar’ due to its resistance to bending. So are the metal thin plates. What is more, right now Eleiko is expanding and targeting other sports. They are involved in Crossfit promotion and, alongside Rogue, are sponsoring many of the events. IPC Powerlifting (Paralympics) equipment is also delivered by the Swedes.

Here you can find some fun facts about the Eleiko products:

– The strength rating of the bars is 215 000 PSI.
– All bars are individually tested in accordance with the
Eleiko quality policy and provided with a serial number.
– The discs come fully colored as per the Olympic color
– The Eleiko Sport Training Bars have eight precision bearings which guarantee superior sleeve rotation
and durability. The Eleiko Olympic WL bars have ten precision bearings in order to optimize
performance for professional weightlifting with extreme requirements.
– The Eleiko Olympic WL Discs are tested for 5000 drops, the Eleiko Sport Training Discs for 3000.
– Disc hole tolerance: Eleiko Olympic WL Discs: 50,5±0,05 mm vs.disc hole tolerance: Eleiko Sport
Training Discs: 50,4–51,0 mm to enable easier loading.
– Eleiko products are delivered from Sweden to 160 countries.

source: Eleiko Seminarium

Even tough, being still a fairly small company (not traded on Stockholm Stock Exchange), they did manage to make 12mln Eur of profit in 2015 (a record year) and stabilized their strong position in lifting sports.

Since I am an active lifter as my friends are, we have a pleasure training with Eleiko bars. They are definitely the best option available on the market. I wanted to write that I do not know anyone who would choose other bars over Eleiko, but wait, I’ve got one lad on my mind, he tends to train with Rogues, but hey, he’s a crossfitter — should we count it?

Eleiko is a great example of business done right, they have not abandoned their roots and a traditional hand-making. However, they found new fields of a continuous development such Crossfit Games or recreational lifters.

Tomasz Kurowski

Tomasz Kurowski

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I am a FinTech Training Analyst at BBH, Markets lover, Sportsman, Blogger and Motorcyclist. I run my own social/financial blog site http://TomaszKurowski.net