A focus on Icelandic Strongmen: Sigmarsson, Ver Magnússon and Björnsson

Icelandic strength is well documented in the countries’ history books and with organized sports a large part of Icelandic life, it was only a matter of time when the two collided. Delivering some of the best World’s Strongest Man athletes and currently eight titles, we want to look into Iceland ‘giants’.

Hall of fame entrant Jón Páll Sigmarsson was the first Icelandic competitor to place on the top-three podium (he came in second place in 1983, in his first competition).  Winning the competition a year later in 1985, after beating Geoff Capes in the arm wrestling final, shortly after the victory he shouted, “The King, has lost his crown!” That was the first of famous sayings by the Icelandic star, during the 1985 deadlift event when someone called him an Eskimo he shouted back “I am not an Eskimo! I AM A VIKING!” as he went on to lift a 495kg cart. Sigmarsson competed in five more strongman events always placing in the top three. Sigmarsson influenced many including current Icelandic athlete, Hafþór Björnsson, Thor has given credit to Sigmarsson (and Bill Kazmaier) for wanting to become a strongman, but sees Sigmarsson as
‘a real hero to me and many others’.

Four-time winner Magnús Ver Magnússon entered his first competition by coming third in Iceland’s Strongest Man 1985, behind Jón Páll Sigmarsson. He soon took the Icelandic hopes to a new era and became known as one of the first modern strongman competitors. Winning titles across WSM, Europe’s Strongest Man as well as taking home an impressive eight championships at the Iceland’s Strongest Man competition.

A more recent Icelandic contender former Basketball player Hafþór Björnsson’s had a chance meeting with Magnús Ver Magnússon at his gym in Jakaból in 2008. Ver Magnússon said that Hafþór seemed a good prospect as a strongman, it seems Ver Magnússon had vision with Thor winning Iceland’s Strongest Man five times and taking a podium place in WSM four times. More famously he was cast as Gregor ‘The Mountain’ Clegane in the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones.

We are looking forward to the future and more Icelandic prospects to come. Add your Icelandic heroes below.

Read our interview with Iceland’s Magnús Ver Magnússon here.