Hafthor Bjornsson, the reigning World Strongest Man from Iceland and most known for his role as Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane from the “Game of Thrones” series on HBO, admitted to past steroid use.
In an interview filmed by ESPN in 2017, Hafthor Bjornsson admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in the past However, he asked to change the subject when pressed if he took steroids at the time.
Hafthor would go on to win the 2018 World’s Strong Man Competition and lock up the first win for Iceland in 22 years.
Although performance-enhancing drugs and steroid usage are rampant in weightlifting, athletes are tested before competitions. Much like PED usage in the NFL, testing is sort of a joke but Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman still got flagged last year and had to sit out the start of the season.
Former Hoops Star to World’s Strongest Man
Hafthor did not start playing basketball until he was 12, but he quickly took to the game. By the time he was a teenager, he played for the Icelandic national team. He had a dream of potentially going to the NBA, but had his eyes set on playing for a pro club in Europe.
Hafthor’s hoop dreams came to an end when he broke both his ankles. He was only 19 at the time, but had to give up his passion after two bad ankle surgeries.
Hafthor began lifting weights in order to stay physically active. Within a short time, he pivoted from basketball into weightlifting after a meeting with Magnus Ver Magnusson. Magnus was the last person from Iceland to win the World’s Strongest Man competition in 1996. He suggested that Hafthor would be perfect for the sport.
By 2010, Hafthor took the Strongman scene by storm after winning Iceland’s Strongest Man and Iceland’s Strongest Viking.
Hafthor wanted to win the World’s Strongest Man contest. He came close between 2012 and 2017 with three third-place finishes and three runner-ups. It seemed like he would never win it until he finally broke through with his first win in 2018.
Hafthor Bjornsson, towering at 6-foot-9, is from a long line of strong and tall men from Iceland. His father is an inch shorter, but his grandfather is an inch taller.
Hafthor’s grandfather is a farmer who once had to lift a car up with his hands when they were unable to find a jack. Hafthor spent summers working on his grandfather’s farm.
Back in 2015, Hafthor Bjornsson once broke a 1,000-year old record previously held by a Viking. Hafthor carried a tree, weighing 1,433 pounds, for five steps to win the title of World’s Strongest Viking. That competition features a task dating back to ancient Viking oral history when a well-known warrior carried the ship’s mast on his shoulders for three steps.
“Game of Thrones” shoots some of the show in Iceland. When the local casting department from “Game of Thrones” contacted Hafthor, he ignored it. He assumed it was a prank or joke.
“I thought it was bull—-,” said Bjornsson.
The crew finally chased him down and invited the strongman competitor to audition for a role. Hafthor went but had no idea what to expect. The producers asked him to pick up a person over his head and he did it with ease. They sent him to the stunt department. The head swordsman gave him a few directions to see what he could do. Hafthor wielded the sword with ease and “Game of Thrones” hired him on the spot.
“Game of Thrones” returned on Sunday night for its final season on HBO. Fans are scrambling to wager on which ‘Game of Thrones’ character will rule Westeros at the end of the show. “The Mountain” is not one of the favorites to rule, but you can find ways to bet on “The Mountain” as one of the next characters to get killed off.
Fans are awaiting a final showdown between The Mountain and The Hound. The Mountain is currently the personal bodyguard for Queen Cersei, while The Hound is at Winterfell to help Jon Snow defend the Stark’s ancestral home from invading White Walkers. Perhaps the brothers-turned-enemies will meet in a fight to end all fights.
Hafthor posted a photo on his Instagram page with Rory McCann, the actor who plays The Hound. Hafthor Bjornsson is either teasing a highly-anticipated showdown, or totally messing with fans.