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Iceland Sport

The Viking Thunder Clap has nothing to do with Vikings, and a lot to do with a Scottish club named Motherwell. Which is how it often works in soccer. | 6/26/18
Given something to cheer for, the country’s soccer fan group grew from a few outliers in plastic Viking helmets into a singing, thunder-clapping force. | 6/22/18
Iceland, Costa Rica and Panama face long odds in Russia, but in the past decade, they all figured out how to turn a weakness into a strength — and it got them all to the tournament. | 6/16/18

Sports in Iceland are very popular. Though changing in 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. 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), 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. 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 is ranked the number 1 nation with 8 finishes in 1st place, and numerous 2nd and 3rd placings. 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 1100lbs 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 National Park 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. 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.

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