In the Black Eyed Peas' 2010 hit, "The Time (Dirty Bit)," the opening lyrics state:
I had the time of my life
And I've never felt this way before
And I swear this is true
And I owe it all to you
While the greatest javelin thrower in Utah State history, Sindri Gudmundsson, did not pen those lyrics, they certainly sum up how he feels about his time as an Aggie.
"The thing is, 10 years from now I will still be an Aggie," Gudmundsson said. "Once you're an Aggie, you're always an Aggie. Ten years from now, I will think about the time that I was able to practice and spend with my fiancé (former USU javelin thrower Mia Estes). I will also think about all the friends I was able to make, and a lot of them will be lifelong friends. My time as an Aggie has been the time of my life and I will never forget a single moment of it."
Gudmundsson, a three-time first-team All-American and three-time Mountain West champion in the javelin, graduated from Utah State this spring with a bachelor's degree in accounting and minor in management information systems. He was set to end his career on a high note as a senior during the outdoor track & field season, but that never materialized.
That's because the outbreak of COVID-19 forced the cancelation of the season.
"I was feeling good after the offseason training. I had a little bit of a back pain, but not the same as the year before, it was going away," Gudmundsson said. "For javelin throwers, when the outdoor season starts, it is like letting the cows out for the first time in the spring. We work our tails of during the offseason, and during the indoor season, to be able to launch a javelin during the outdoor season.
"So, it definitely hurt to hear that the whole season was canceled, and the biggest part was that I didn't know what was going to happen going forward. At first, I thought that I would lose my whole senior season and that definitely felt like a punch in the stomach."
Utah State head track & field/throws coach Matt Ingebritsen agreed with Gudmundsson.
"It's extremely frustrating," Ingebritsen said. "What he had worked on this winter was looking so good. His timing and rhythm of the throw has never been better, and even though we still had to limit his training this year just to keep him healthy, he was on track for some great things. I really wish we could have seen him become a four-time first-team All-American, or even a national champion. It is such a bummer to see it end like this."
Like many student-athletes that had their spring competition seasons end due to the coronavirus, Gudmundsson was left wondering, 'What's next?' When things became more clear, he chose to enter the transfer portal, a decision that was not easy.
"It was definitely a hard decision," Gudmundsson said. "At first, I got the news that Utah State wasn't going to provide scholarships to graduating seniors. That was a disappointing feeling, but I felt like I should still try to finish up my senior season and hopefully, get into grad school, so I asked to be entered into the portal."
He landed at Mississippi State, where he will throw the javelin for the Bulldogs and pursue his master's degree in management information systems.
"What he accomplished here may never be matched in that event," Ingebritsen said. "Our school record, as well as the conference record, are going to hold for a very long time. I'm incredibly proud of him for what he has done for both our track program and the school. He has really helped push us to being a bigger presence on the national stage.
"I am really going to miss having Sindri on my team, and not just as an athlete, but I will miss having Sindri, the person, around. I really enjoyed getting to know him and working with him the last four years. He and I had a great partnership as coach and athlete. I am really going to miss him."
Ingebritsen found Gudmundsson, a native of Kopavogur, Iceland, through an agency in Germany called Scholarbook, which helps athletes from Europe get into colleges in the United States.
"They put your name into a database, which shows your information to coaches in the U.S., and then they can contact you," Gudmundsson explained. "Coach Matt was one of the first ones to reach out and from the very beginning, I liked him. We Skyped multiple times and he made me feel like Utah State was a place that would be perfect for me.
"He was right."
Gudmundsson arrived at Utah State at the beginning of the 2015-16 academic year, but he had to redshirt the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in New York. Ingebritsen and his young athlete used that time to develop a bond that would lead to great things during their time together at Utah State.
"That is where we really bonded and got to know each other," Ingebritsen said. "From that point on, he has always been my guy – the athlete that I could rely on to just get it done no matter what, and who always had a great attitude in everything he did. My favorite memory of Sindri will always be when he was in the recovery room after his elbow surgery. They asked him if he wanted pain medication and he said, "No, I'm Icelandic Viking, I can handle it," and then he immediately afterward said, "I'm hungry!" That just killed me, and from that point on, I knew exactly what kind of person he was."
As a redshirt-freshman in 2017, Gudmundsson earned first-team All-American honors after placing sixth in the javelin with a mark of 73.28 meters (240-5) at the NCAA Outdoor Finals in Eugene, Ore. He became the first Utah State student-athlete since 2009 to garner first-team All-American honors and the school's first All-American in the javelin since 1989.
Gudmundsson qualified for the Outdoor Finals after finishing first in the javelin with a mark of 76.18 meters (249-11) at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships and was tabbed first-team all-Mountain West after winning the javelin title with a season-best mark of 77.19 meters (253-3), which also set a facility record, at the Outdoor Championships.
"I remember after I signed with Utah State, I sent coach Matt a message," Gudmundsson said. "It was a quote from a video that I saw when I was researching Utah State, and this quote is something that I will always remember because it's what pushed me over the line to become an Aggie. The quote is, "I Believe That We Will Win," and to this day, and for the rest of my days, it will be a quote that will stay very close to my heart."
There was no sophomore slump for the Icelandic Viking in 2018.
Once again, Gudmundsson earned first-team All-American honors after placing third in the javelin with a mark of 76.37 meters (250-6) at the NCAA Outdoor Finals at historic Hayward Field in Eugene. Prior to that, he claimed the top spot at the NCAA West Prelims with a throw of 77.87 meters (255-5), and garnered first-team all-MW honors after successfully defending his 2017 title in the javelin with a winning throw of 78.14 meters (256-4) at the Outdoor Championships, breaking his own record of 77.19 meters (253-3) with that mark.
For his efforts during the 2018 campaign, Gudmundsson was tabbed the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Mountain Region Field Athlete of the Year.
Later that summer, he captured the javelin title at the Icelandic Championships, placed fourth at the Jena (Germany) Javelin Fest and finished 20th overall in the javelin at the European Athletics Championship.
"Sindri is the kind of person that is willing to do whatever it takes to be the best," Ingebritsen said. "Even when he was not able to train like he wanted to, or was having to sit out completely, he never once lost sight of his goals. He is a mentally-tough athlete and has the kind of tenacious attitude that is infectious to others. He always wants everyone to join him at his level."
In what would prove to be his final season competing for the Aggies, Gudmundsson earned first-team All-American honors as a junior after placing fourth in the javelin with a season-best throw of 73.92 meters (242-6) at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Finals in Austin, Texas. He became the school's first three-time first-team All-American in one event since former U.S. Olympian James Parker in 2001 (hammer).
"It will be one of my highlights from my college years," said Gudmundsson, when asked what it mean to him to be a three-time first-team All-American. "To be able to show people that if you're dedicated and you put in hard work, anything is possible."
Gudmundsson advanced to the 2019 Outdoor Finals by placing first in the javelin with a throw of 73.68 meters (241-8) at the NCAA West Prelims. He also garnered first-team all-MW honors after placing first with a mark of 73.69 meters (241-9) on his first and only attempt of the competition. His individual championship marked the first time an Aggie won three-straight titles in one event since Steve Strickland won three-straight 3,000-meter steeplechase titles from 2008-10 in the WAC Track & Field Championships.
"I will remember all the people that helped me reach my academic and athletic goals – all the coaches, trainers, athletes, chiropractors and academic coordinators," Gudmundsson said of his time at USU. "But, most of all, I will remember coach Matt. He not only made me a better athlete, but also a better person, and I will never be able to thank him enough for that. I will also remember all the enjoyable times that I had, and even though my time at Utah State had its ups, it also had its downs, I will remember those for making me the person that I am today."
White at Utah State, Gudmundsson met and fell in love with Estes, the niece of Utah State basketball legend Wayne Estes. She captured the javelin title at the 2016 MW Championships and holds the school record in the women's javelin with a mark of 51.38 meters (168-7), set in 2018.
Gudmundsson asked Estes to marry him on Dec. 24, 2019, while the couple was visiting his family in Iceland. They have been dating for nearly five years.
"Mia has been the most important person in my life for the last four or five years," Gudmundsson said. "I would not have been able to do this without her. Between her support, and her kicking me in the butt, telling me to do something, is what got me where I am today. I cannot thank her enough for all that she's done for me and I will be thanking her for the rest of my life."
Growing up in Iceland, Gudmundsson used to compete in horseback riding, and he used to train horses with his family – both of his brothers now work with horses for a living.
"I look up to my brothers the most because they are doing what they love every single day, and no matter how hard it gets, they push through," Gudmundsson said. "As a young kid, I decided that I was going to be the same way and not let anything stop me to become the person that I want to be."
In the Black Eyed Peas' 2010 hit, "The Time (Dirty Bit)," the opening lyrics state: