How the Fiercest Warrior in “Wonder Woman” Kicked Her Way Into Hollywood
This Swedish kickboxing champion devoted her life to the sport. When a terrifying health scare knocked her out, she found a surprising second act on the big screen.
Photos by Pavel Maira
Madeleine Vall Beijner woke up face down on the floor. A strange metallic noise rung in the 29-year-old’s ears as her eyes slowly focused on the edge of a black and white striped rug. Yes, I know this place… It’s my boyfriend’s apartment, she thought. She saw she was wearing the tracksuit of the Swedish national kickboxing team, with her gym bags stacked next to her – but she couldn’t move. Am I injured? Have I had a stroke? Am I dead?
“I had no idea how I had ended up there on the floor or how long I’d been laying there,” Vall Beijner recalls. “It was dark in the apartment and I was alone.”
It was April of 2014, and Vall Beijner slowly put together that she and her team had been at a weekend-long Muay Thai (a form of kickboxing that originated in Thailand) training camp, yet she couldn’t remember any of the details. Three days of her life were gone.
From there Vall Beijner was supposed to head to the World Championship in Malaysia. “I was going to bring home a gold …