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“Larger Than Life”

The Story of Jon Pall Sigmarsson, the Icelandic Viking

All sports have their heroes. Boxing has a list that includes the great Muhammad Ali, who transcended the boxing realm to become a national icon; the martial arts have Bruce Lee, who became an international symbol of the martial arts world; and bodybuilding has the legendary Arnold, the representative of not only physical presentation but also success in the land of opportunity. In strongman competition a giant from the land of fire and ice has ascended to the realm of legend.

The DVD “Larger Than Life” is more than just a titillating title; it’s an examination of the life led by one of the world’s most extraordinary strongmen, Jon Pall Sigmarsson. Jon Pall became a living icon during his short life and a legend after his death. He was more than just a symbol of strength in the strongman arena; he was the embodiment of the Viking culture of Iceland.

To the world he was the symbol of Iceland. Tall, blond and massive in size and strength, Jon Pall triumphed in both bodybuilding and strongman competitions—winning the World’s Strongest Man four times. 

The documentary has film footage from Jon Pall’s childhood, television interviews and various competitions, giving us an inside look at the life of a champion who was known for his good nature and extraordinary abilities. It pulls no punches, however: There is the steroid use scandal, the gossip about his love life and the secret he kept to himself that would eventually cause his death. 

I recommend “Larger Than Life” to anyone who’s dreamed of being more than just a participant in a gym. It illustrates what it takes to be a champion and the determination it takes to become something more. The documentary alone is worth the price of admission; the interviews with Odd Haugen, Geoff Capes and the great Bill Kazmaier—the only man to give Jon Pall a run for his money—and many others are icing on the cake. After watching it, you’ll be primed to train harder than ever and reach new personal bests. IM

Editor’s note: “Larger Than Life” is available from Karl Gillingham’s and

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