Hafthor Julius Bjornsson is known to Game of Thrones fans as The Mountain, but earlier this weekend, it was revealed that his gigantic muscles are not all natural.
In an interview with ESPN recorded in 2017, the actor admitted that he took steroids to help him win the title of World’s Strongest Man in the international competition. Bjornsson said he was willing to do whatever it took to win the famous strong-man competition, but seemed put off by comments about what performance-enhancing drugs he used.
“Can we just skip those questions?” he said when asked about what he had taken.
The ESPN report noted that performance-enhancing drugs are banned from the World’s Strongest Man competition, but said it was unclear how strenuous the competition’s drug-testing program might be. Bjornsson has never failed a drug test.
ESPN reported that the 6-foot-9-inch, 440-pound Iceland native had dreams of becoming a professional basketball player, but his career ended when he broke his right ankle two times when he was 19. The Game of Thrones actor then switched to weightlifting, winning the title of Iceland’s Strongest Man in 2011, working toward the World’s Strongest Man competition.
Bjornsson said in a past interview with People that preparing for the competition was a”full-time job,” and that had to “force feed” himself meals. He said he started the day by eating six eggs, bacon, and oatmeal, and followed it up a few hours later with another meal of sliced steak and rice.
The actor would eat eight similarly-sized meals a day to keep up his caloric intake, which was necessary to stay competitive. He also went through an intensive workout regimen to keep his muscles in enormous shape.
Bjornsson entered the World’s Strongest Man competition and finished in the top three every year from 2012 and 2017, before going on to win the competition the following year. His run caught the attention of Game of Thrones producers while they were filming in Iceland, and Bjornsson was cast to play villain Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane.
Things Got Wild When Hafthor Julius Bjornsson Arrived At GOT Final Season Premiere https://t.co/W7WyBU07m1— What The F*** Facts (@WhatTheFFacts) April 12, 2019
The ESPN interview aired on the same day as the much-anticipated Season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones. Hafthor Julius Bjornsson has not offered any more comment about the admission that he used performance-enhancing drugs, and there has also been no statement from the show’s producers regarding Bjornsson’s actions. It was not clear if he could face any discipline from HBO, or if the World’s Strongest Man title could be rescinded.