Believe it or not- Sara Sigmundsdóttir has no prior athletic background—unless diving for rocks. Grown up in Reykjanesbær, a quiet icelandic town with just more than 14,000 residents, Sigmundsdottir was known among the neighbor kids for her strength. While playing in the lake in the woods, children would challenge her to dive to the bottom and retrieve heavy stones. None of the boys could pick up the rocks she could. “I was always fighting and challenging the boys,” she said. Though she tried several sports while growing up, none held her attention for more than a few months. She didn’t have the patience to wait in line in gymnastics class, and swimming and soccer bored her.
To expel her seemingly boundless energy, she ran laps around her house and did pull-ups from the balcony. “She was always full of energy as a kid,” said Hafrun Jonsdottir, Sigmundsdottir’s mother. “She simply could not be still.” Music lessons didn’t stick either, so Sigmundsdottir spent her teenage summers wandering the town with her friends. When she turned 17, her best friend got a boyfriend, leaving Sigmundsdottir to her own devices.
“I didn’t have anything else to do, so I started (working out at) the gym to get a boyfriend,” she said.
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Though she didn’t find a boyfriend at the gym, she found boot camp, attending classes regularly from 2010-2012, and then landing a job at the desk not long after she started. After graduating high school in the spring of 2012, she enrolled in a year-long program to become a personal trainer. Just before graduation, her boot-camp instructor suggested she compete in a local fitness competition at CrossFit Leikar.
Though the competition featured thrusters and prowler pushes—two movements she had never heard of—she finished second only to Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir. We all know how the story continues.
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