There aren’t many athletes who have a more apt nickname than Noah Syndergaard, who has been dubbed “Thor” because he truly looks like a Norse god and is likely a descendant of real-life Vikings. But before he became a hulking Norseman who throws 100 mph, Syndergaard looked like any other kid.

That’s really him, I promise. Syndergaard was a late bloomer who didn’t start throwing hard until he hit a big growth spurt in high school. Back in 2012, when he was a year out of high school and in Single A, Syndergaard spoke about his transformation:

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“Back in eighth grade I was a chunkster, kids would tease me for being overweight,” said Syndergaard.

He came home from school one day in Mansfield, Tex., told his father he wanted to join the YMCA and eat healthier.

So, he worked out at the Y, ate his veggies, worked out some more and, oh yeah, had a growth spurt from 5-foot-11 to his current height.

The bad news for those kids who used to tease him is that they are not getting into Valhalla.

Photo via Getty