Name: Einar Örn Jónsson
Hometown: Reykjavik
Country: Iceland
Age: 41
Sport: Handball
Years in the sport: 25

How did you get started in your sport?
Handball is a big thing in Iceland and we’ve always had a good national team and most people follow them. At some point most kids give it a go and I fell in love with it the moment i tried it. My local club was, and is, also the most successful one in Iceland so I always had role models directly in front of me and that was a strong motivator.

What was it like when you officially retired?
A bit of relief and a bit of sadness. Sadness that I was leaving something that had been a large part of my life for so long but also relief that I could finally pursue other interests and get up in the morning without pain 😊

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully where I am now; a sportscaster and happy family man.

Favourite athlete?
As a child of the nineties it‘s hard to overlook Michael Jordan.

What was your biggest challenge as an athlete and how did you overcome it?
I think confidence. Physically I found it easier to overcome challenges but the psyche and the brain is an altogether more complicated matter. I struggled most with that but it got easier with age and experience.

What has your biggest challenge since retiring from sport?
Keeping fit 😊 I‘m losing that battle.

Best advice that you have been given?
Anything is possible, anyone can be beaten.

Any hobbies?
Sports, obviously. Fly fishing is also my thing now.

Favourite music?
Rock ´n Roll

What was the best part of competing?
Winning. Without a doubt.

Favourite quote?
When you come to a fork in the road, take it! – Yogi Berra
It works on so many levels.

If you could train with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Muhammad Ali.

If you could have competed in another sport what would it be and why?
I like to think I would have been a great quarter back, but I‘m probably mistaken…

Favourite place you competed?
Laugardalsholl, Reykjavík. National sports arena. Old but extremely likeable.

Did/do you have any special warm up routine?
Not really. Routines can do more damage than good so it‘s best not to get stuck in one.

What time is your alarm set for?
7 o´clock these days.

Ice cream or cake?
Ice cream.

What did you do on your rest days?
Sleep in and binge watch sports

Last non food item you bought?
Motorcycle jacket.

Do you have a lucky number?
It used to be six, my first shirt number. Than I couldn’t get that number in every club so I gave it up as my favourite number (remember, no routines). 42 would be my favourite number now.

Best thing you’ve done in the past 3 months?
Get my motorcycle licence… finally.

Strangest thing you’ve ever witnessed?
Iceland winning a silver medal in handball at the 2008 Olympics. I wasn’t there but it was a surreal experience to watch.

Scariest thing you’ve ever done?
Watching my kids be born. I was terrified something would go wrong. It didn’t go wrong.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what one person and thing would you like to have?
Well, an expert boat maker would be great. A sail would also help.

What would be your perfect meal?
Perfectly cooked, freshly caught arctic char. Preferably by a riverside somewhere.

What performance are you most proud of?
When we qualified for the Olympics.

Hardest sport moment you had to push through?
Feeling like we could have done better at said Olympics (2004 Athens)

What have you learned from sport that has helped you in other parts of your life?
Teamwork and how to work with different people.

Favourite place to eat?
Mom‘s

If you had to travel either forward in time or backward in time, which would you choose? Why?
Back. I‘m fascinated by history, especially 20th century history.

What is the most unusual, challenging, or creative workout you’ve ever done?
I’ve never been more destroyed after a workout than when our coach made us do exercises his wife (a gymnastics coach) gave him. That really killed.

Favourite animal?
I‘m a car person but I would really like to have an Emu. They just look really silly and fun. Look it up.

Dream job besides an athlete?
Sportscaster, which is what I do now.

What motivated you to keep training?
Ambition. Wanting to win.

Favourite time of year?
Christmas. Even though it‘s dark and cold.

Of all the people you have trained with over the years, from whom have you learned the most and why?
I‘m not really sure what I learned from each one. In a team sport you just try to take everything in and it becomes an experience in due course.

How many hours did you train at a given week?
Somewhere between 15 and 20, depending on the match schedule.

Best memory you have from a time when you were training?
Probably training for the Olympics. There was a sense of anticipation like no other.

If you could trade places with anyone for a day who would it be? Why?
I guess someone extremely famous, just to make sure that being famous actually really sucks.

What are you plans for 5 years down the line?
Hopefully still doing what I do now, just a little bit older 😊 Yeah, and healthy. I‘m getting that old…

What accomplishments outside of your sport are you the most proud of?
My kids, no question.

Favourite book?
It‘s an Icelandic book called Heimskra manna ráð. Literally translated it means The advice of stupid people. The synopsis is in the title…

What did a typical day of training look like?
Wake up around eight and force feed myself some breakfast. Training around 10 and lunch after that. Many days we also had another training at night, around 18-20 o‘clock. So you had to rest and eat again between. In a team sport there are however many matches so there really wasn’t a typical day of training, it depended on the match schedule and the physical situation between matches.

Anything people be surprised to learn about you?
I hope not! What most people say is that I‘m taller than they thought. That goes with being surrounded by really tall people all the time.

What is the funniest thing that happened to you/others while training?
What happens in training, stays in training 😊

Best movie and tv series?
Star Wars. The original one. Tv series is The Simpsons. No question.

Favourite food while training?
It‘s usually very healthy and therefore boring, so I‘m gonna go with an authentic Italian pizza. Very rare during training but so much more fulfilling than chicken breast or something like that.

Results you’re most proud of?
Beating Germany to reach the semi finals of the 2002 European Championships. The age old story of David beating Goliath, although we never looked at it like that.

What inspires you?
People reaching above and beyond their supposed abilities. You never really know what you‘re capable of until you give it a go. Too many people just don‘t give themselves that chance and quit.

Do you have a saying or motto you live by?
Not really. I wouldn’t want to limit myself to any on motto. Maybe that‘s a motto; don‘t limit yourself to any one motto.

What did/do you enjoy most about your sport?
The camaraderie. That stays with you forever.

Advise that you have for someone starting out?
Remember to take it all in because it‘ll be gone before you know it. Savoir it.

What was the most crucial part of your training?
Always push a little bit more. Never be satisfied with doing what expected. Do more.

Find Einar Örn Jónsson on social media:
Twitter: @RanieNro