When World’s Strongest Man champion and Game of Thrones actor Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson was profiled on an ESPN E:60 documentary, Strongman: Beyond the Mountain, he shared details about his journey from national team basketball hopeful to competing to be the strongest man on the planet and winning a role on the biggest show on TV—including one unexpected admission that might shock some of his fans, while confirming the suspicions of others.
Björnsson confirmed that he has taken steroids sometime on his quest to becoming the best strongman in the world, which he finally accomplished last year. Per ESPN:
The report notes that while Björnsson was (somewhat) candid about his steroid use, he has never failed a test during competition. The World’s Strongest Man (WSM) organization does screen for PEDs as part of its standard “wellness programme” which includes blood and urine tests, according to its official policy page. “The use of performance enhancing drugs is strictly forbidden,” the policy states. “Any competitor found to have an illegal substance in their system will be immediately disqualified from the competition.” Along with potentially granting those who use them a competitive advantage, steroids have also been linked to the untimely deaths of athletes within the sport.
Steroids are a complicated topic, especially when it comes to the world of Strongman, where an incredible level of mass, power, and strength are needed to compete. Björnsson and his peers have to consume massive quantities of food to fuel that strength, and training regimens are outlandish even by the most hardcore lifters’ standards. Some might view PEDs as just another extreme training tool at the athletes’ disposal, but until the WSM and other governing body change their policies, the substances remain banned.
Before he was “The Mountain” on #GameofThrones, @ThorBjornsson_ was an athlete with a mission: become the strongest man ever to walk the earth. pic.twitter.com/igeoSeWlzy
Björnsson can be seen in the final season of Game of Thrones this spring, and is expected to compete to defend his World’s Strongest Man title in Florida later this June.
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