Hafthor Bjornsson, the former World's Strongest Man known as “The Mountain,” just won the Arnold Strongman Classic for the third year in a row. Arnold Schwarzenegger (the event's namesake and host) himself came up to the stage to personally hand over the award and get a word from the winner.
While the two exchanged pleasantries onstage, the bodybuilding icon asked Björnsson about his experience training for the competition. Björnsson said that he trains year-round, but he specifically dedicated 17 weeks to the Arnold event. Schwarzenegger teased the Mountain about his eating habits with the audience, saying that a German word, fressen, applied to the strongman's eating habits. Björnsson revealed that he ate 10,000 calories a day in order to fuel up for the competition. Then, strongman took a moment to thank everyone who has supported him throughout his journey to become the winner.
“It’s tough you know? It’s hard to be able to do that for 17 weeks. But people are consistent. If you stay consistent, you will progress,” he said.
This message of perseverance rang especially true for Björnsson, who reminisced how he reached his championship status at the event. The strongman started to compete in the Classic in 2011, in the outdoor division. After placing second, Björnsson was given the chance to compete once again after the winner of that division was injured. Although he came in last place in 2012, he eventually made it to become the winner of the Arnold Classic, now three years running.
“Everybody said you’re never going to win this whole Classic,” Björnsson told Schwarzenegger and the audience. “You’re not strong enough. You’re big, you’re athletic, you’re fast—but you will never win this Arnold Classic. Those were the people who didn’t believe in me... I put in the work every single day, and here I am, three times champ!”
Schwarzenegger concluded the mini-interview with strong praise. “I like you, because you’re a great athlete and the world’s strongest man," he told Björnsson. "But you’re also a great actor and you’re a great human being. So come back again."
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