Music & Art Mar 26, 2014

The Giants of Iceland

Iceland may be small, but it has strong people. The country has an unparalleled reputation in the World’s Strongest Man competition, an annual event that showcases the world’s biggest and strongest men. VICE traveled to Iceland to figure out why a tiny country in the middle of the ocean produces such physically powerful people.

With a lineage of strongmen dating back to the Vikings, Iceland is an island of giants. VICE visited Jakabol, a gym run by ex-champion Magnus Ver Magnusson, where they witnessed the intense training of Icelandic strongmen. One way to describe the gym: big men lifting big things.

Among the Icelandic giants is Hafthor “Thor” Bjornsson, a 6’9” man known for his role on HBO’s Game of Thrones, and the strongest man in Iceland. Bjornsson and the other strongmen may look like they came straight from a viking ship, but many of them surprisingly hold normal day jobs, ranging from lifeguard to sales representative.

VICE’s short documentary tells the “story of a little black rock that took on the world and won.” Take a look!