Sport in Iceland

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A basketball game in Iceland

Sports in Iceland are very popular. For nine recent years, Iceland remains a very healthy nation. Popular sports include handball, football, athletics, basketball, golf, volleyball, tennis, swimming, and chess; horseback riding on Icelandic horses is also popular and recently Australian Football and Archery.

Team handball is often referred to as a national sport. Iceland's team is one of the top ranked teams in the world, recently winning the silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, and a bronze medal in the 2010 European Championship. Icelandic women are good at football, the national team being ranked eighteenth by FIFA.

The country's chess clubs have created many chess Grandmasters including Friðrik Ólafsson, Jóhann Hjartarson, Margeir Pétursson, and Jón Loftur Árnason, and Golf is especially common (around 1 in 8 Icelanders play[1]), but the oldest sport association in Iceland is the Reykjavik Shooting Association, founded 1867. Rifle shooting became very popular in the 19th century and was heavily encouraged by politicians and others pushing for Icelandic independence. Shooting remains popular and all types of shooting with small arms practiced in the country.[2]

Icelanders are famous for their immense strength. Strength athletics and powerlifting have been Iceland's greatest success in sports on an international level. In the World's Strongest Man competition, Iceland has the most championships (Magnús Ver Magnússon and Jón Páll Sigmarsson with four victories each). In powerlifting, Benedikt Magnússon placed the world record deadlift, of 445 kg, at the early age of 20. He recently set the world record of 1100 lbs for the tire deadlift. Glíma is a form of wrestling, thought to have originated with Vikings, that is still played in Iceland.

Ice and rock climbing are a favorite among many Icelanders; climbing the 4,167-foot (1,270 metre) Þumall peak in Skaftafell is a challenge for many adventurous climbers, but mountain climbing is considered to be suitable for the general public and is a very common type of leisure activity. Hvítá, among many other of the Icelandic glacial rivers, attracts kayakers and river rafters worldwide.

Ice hockey is gaining popularity in Iceland, with 1 in 512 of the population an ice hockey player. They have a larger 'hockey density' than Slovakia (1 in 630 people are players). The Iceland national ice hockey team has risen to 38th in the IIHF rankings, and has recently seen a fourth team added to their domestic league.[3]

Crossfit is also one of the fastest growing sports in iceland. Most famous athlete is the two times female champion of the crossfit games 2011 and 2012 in Carson City, Anni Thorisdottir.

Iceland's most famous athlete comes from the world of football. Eiður Guðjohnsen has played in England's Premier League for Chelsea, winning the league title twice, he also played in La Liga (Spanish Premier League) for FC Barcelona, he currently plays for Stoke City. In 1991, Iceland were crowned world contract bridge champions, when they won the Bermuda Bowl in Yokohama, Japan.

Archery as a sport started in disabled clubs in Iceland 1974 [4] but it's only been a growing sport since 2013. A large part of that growth is a new facility that is opened in Kópavogur in 2013, and it is open to the public and training archers.[5][6] Archery is one of the oldest Viking sports in Iceland.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "". Retrieved August 25, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Skotfélag Reykjavíkur". Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved September 2, 2007. 
  3. ^ "". Retrieved August 22, 2010. 
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