Sport in Iceland
The people of Iceland enjoy many types of sports like football, athletics, golf, basketball, tennis, volleyball, swimming, chess but the most popular sport in the country is handball.
Handball is considered to be the national sport and their national team is considered as one of the best in the world especially after taking the silver in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Iceland is also great at producing chess grandmasters that include Friorik Olafsson, Margeir Petursson, Jon Loftur Arnason and Johann Hjartarson.
The Icelandic football team reached its first major tournament, UEFA Euro 2016, becoming the smallest ever nation to qualify for a major tournament. Not only that, they surprised everyone and reached the quarterfinals. In 2017, they became the smallest nation by population to ever clinch a World Cup berth and will make their debut at that major tournament in 2018. When it comes to football, the biggest international name from Iceland is Eiour Guojohnsen who plays for Chelsea FC from England's Premier League as well as for FC Barcelona in La Liga.
Icelandic athletes have also participated in the Olympic Games since 1912. They missed the next four Summer Olympic Games and then returned in 1936 and have been participating ever since. As far as the Winter Games are concerned, they first joined in 1948 and have been participating ever since except in 1972. They are one of the earliest Olympic nations but only received their first medal in 1956 from Vilhjalmur Einarsson who took the silver for Men's triple jump in Melbourne, Australia.
Below are details of sports, sporting events and sports people related to Iceland. Is there something missing? If you know of something that should be listed here, please let us know.
Popular sports of Iceland
- Handball, Football (Soccer), Track & Field, golf, basketball, tennis, volleyball, swimming, wrestling, chess.
Traditional Sports of Iceland
- Glíma — the national sport of Iceland.
- Knattleikr — an ancient game that is known to have been played by Vikings of Iceland
Iceland Sporting Success
- National handball team won silver at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China,
- The Iceland national football team reached the Euro 2016 quarter-final
Athletes from Iceland
- Vilhjálmur Einarsson (Track & Field)
- Eiour Guojohnsen (Football/Soccer)
- Kristinn Björnsson (skiing)
- Örn Arnarsson (swimming)
- Alfred Gislason (handball)
Iceland Sports trivia
- Triple jumper Vilhjálmur Einarsson broke the Olympic record with a leap of 16.26 meters at the 1956 Olympics, finishing second. He was Iceland's first Olympic medallist.
- In a friendly football match against Estonia in 1996, Eiður Smári Guðjohnsen entered as a substitute for his father Arnór. This marked the first time that a father and son played in the same international match.
- The Iceland football team have qualified for the 2018World Cup. In doing so, they became the smallest nation by population to do so.
Iceland at major events
Past sporting events hosted in Iceland
- 1997 - Games of the Small States of Europe
Upcoming sporting events in Iceland
Annual sporting events held in Iceland
- Reykjavík Marathon held in mid-August
- Laugavegur Ultramarathon - a 55 km race
- Landsmót - the National Icelandic Horse Competition
Sporting Facilities in Iceland
- Engjavegur Laugardalur Sports Center