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In an interview with ESPN‘s E:60, Game of Thrones star and World’s Strongest Man Hafthor Julius Bjornsson says he’s used steroids, noting he’ll do whatever is necessary to find success.
In the interview, which took place in 2017 and aired Sunday, he said, “When you want to be the best, you do whatever it takes.”
Bjornsson, who plays Gregor Clegane―better known as “The Mountain”―on the HBO hit show Game of Thrones, has been a top competitor in strongman events for a decade.
He won his first World’s Strongest Man title in 2018 after three second-place and three third-place finishes and is a five-time winner of the Europe’s Strongest Man contest.
E:60 shared part of the interview where Bjornsson explained his motivation for turning to strongman:
Before he was “The Mountain” on #GameofThrones, @ThorBjornsson_ was an athlete with a mission: become the strongest man ever to walk the earth. https://t.co/igeoSeWlzy
Per ESPN, the use of performance-enhancing drugs has long plagued the strongman sport. While the 30-year-old admitted to using steroids, he didn’t elaborate on when or how long, and when asked if he still takes steroids today, he said, “Can we just skip those questions?”
Bjornsson turned to weightlifting after ankle injuries prematurely ended his career in basketball. The Game of Thrones producers approached him to take part in the show, which has been partly filmed in his home country of Iceland, and he has played Gregor Clegane since Season 4.
He had a hard time believing the offer to play “The Mountain” was real at first:
“Getting an email like that out of nowhere from Game of Thrones? … This has gotta be bulls—.”
@ThorBjornsson_ tells @e60 the unlikely story of how he became “The Mountain.” https://t.co/iNqovXJ28I
The role has made him a mainstream celebrity, leading to plenty of appearances in commercials and other events. While the increased work somewhat worries Bjornsson, he has no plans of stopping: “When you are putting yourself through all this. I’ve always thought about, ‘What if I pass away?’ It would be very hard to know that I left my family too soon. I want to be there for my family. I want to be there for my daughter. But this is my life. This is what I enjoy to do.”
Per ESPN, Bjornsson said he plans on competing in this year’s World’s Strongest Man competition to defend his title. The competition will run in Bradenton, Florida, between June 13 and June 16.