German Strongwoman Sandra Bradley First Woman to Lift Fullsterkur

sandra bradley

The German strongwoman Sandra Bradley is the first woman to lift the stone known as Fullsterkur near Djúpalónssandur. She has previously tested herself against other famous Icelandic lifting stones, including the Húsafell stone.

Lifting stones

The lifting stones near Djúpalónssandur are a famous feature of Iceland’s cultural and historical heritage, with many bodybuilders coming to the black sand beach to test themselves. Located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, these stones were traditionally used to test the strength of fishermen, as physical strength was an essential trait for those working in the challenging and dangerous fishing industry.

There are four stones of varying weights, including fullsterkur (full strength) which weighs 154 kg (340 lbs); hálfsterkur (half strength) which weighs 100 kg (220 lbs); hálfdrættingur (half carrier) which weighs 54 kg (119 lbs); and amlóði (sluggard), which weighs 23 kg (50 lbs).

 

Greatest strength goals

Sandra Bradley, on her most recent trip to Iceland, was the first woman ever recorded to have lifted the heaviest of the Djúpalónssandur stones, fullsterkur. In a statement to Iceland Review, she said “Being able to lift fullsterkur and the Húsafell [stone] were my biggest lifetime strength goals. I wanted to find out if I can live up to these challenges and work my way to be able to lift them. No matter how long it takes. And I wanted to prove not only to myself, but also other women and the world that it is possible.”

She added that lifting fullsterkur was “probably the hardest lift I’ve ever done and the process of getting to a successful lift was one of the most valuable experience I’ve ever had.”

A true test of strength

In 2019, Sandra Bradley and her bodybuilding companion Liefia Ingalls were also the first women in recorded history to lift the Húsafell stone, another notable lifting stone in Iceland. “We were originally there to just have a look and come up with a plan to be able to lift it in the future,” Sandra stated. But on this exploratory 2019 visit, they were already able to lift the 186 kg (410 lb) stone.

Sandra states that she next plans to attempt Leggstein, a 220 kg (485 lb) lifting stone in the Westfjords.

On why she pursues such feats of strength, Sandra added: “stone lifting in general is a true test of not only strength but also skill, grit, and determination. It teaches you to be patient and to think outside of the box. It’s like solving a puzzle. And you get to be in nature and you can do this anywhere you go. Lifting these historic stones is such an amazing and unique experience because you get to connect with the ones who came before. Picking up a rock that has been used as a test of strength for hundreds (or sometimes thousands) of years is such a surreal and incredible feeling. To know that so many more hands have tried to lift them and the soul and effort that people have put into this is one that can not be replicated anywhere else.”

 

Plans to Open “Via Ferrata” on Esja this Summer

esja mountain reykjavik

In an interview on Dagmál, Icelandic mountaineer Haraldur Örn announced plans to open a “via ferrata” on Esja this summer.

A new path on Esja

A via ferrata, or “iron way” in Italian, is a protected climbing route that combines cables, rails, bridges, chains, steps, and other fixed features to offer a similar experience to rock climbing and mountaineering, without the need for specialised equipment or training. Originating in Italy during the First World War to facilitate troop movement, these climbing paths are now common throughout the Alps.

Haraldur, often known as Haraldur pole-farer, is notable for having climbed the Seven Summits, in addition to have walked to both the North and South poles. He stated on Dagmál that he has recently been hard at work acquiring the permits to open such a path on Esja, the mountain which overlooks the Reykjavík area.

Entirely different experience

The new path will begin by Fálkaklettur, which is about 1 km west from the Esja parking lot where most hikers begin their trip to Steinn, the most popular terminus for Esja day hikers. Haraldur stated that a great emphasis is being placed on safety, so that the general public can enjoy themselves without worrying.

He added that it will be an entirely different experience from going up to Steinn, and that a forty-metre long suspended bridge will be part of the trail.

Haraldur also stated that the project is currently in its final stages, and that if all goes according to plan, the path will open this summer.

 

England and Iceland Clash at Sold-Out Wembley

Football team

The men’s national football team will face England in a sold-out friendly match at Wembley Stadium tonight. England is expected to field their strongest side while Iceland contends with several key absences. The game marks England’s final preparation before the UEFA Euro finals, while Iceland aims to build momentum for the upcoming Nations League.

A sold-out Wembley stadium

The men’s national football team will face off against England at Wembley Stadium at 6:45 PM tonight. The match will be England’s final friendly match before the 2024 UEFA Euro finals, which will be held in Germany this summer.

As noted by Vísir, England recently defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-0 in a match held at St. James’ Park in Newcastle. Manager Gareth Southgate fielded what could be considered a second-string team for that game. Tonight, however, Southgate is expected to field his strongest side.

Meanwhile, the Icelandic team is dealing with numerous absences: Orri Óskarsson, Willum Þór Willumsson, Hlynur Freyr Karlsson, and Mikael Egill Ellertsson are all out injured. As noted by Vísir, alongside facing players like Kyle Walker, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, and Harry Kane, the Icelandic squad will also contend with a packed Wembley, as the match is sold out.

According to Fotbolti.net, there will be 600 Icelandic supporters at the game, who will attempt to make their presence felt against the 89,400 English fans in attendance.

Will not underestimate Iceland

In an interview with Vísir published this morning, Declan Rice – who plays for Arsenal and the England national team – was asked whether the English team reviewed their infamous loss to Iceland at the 2016 Euros prior to tonight’s match:

“No, I don’t think so,” Declan stated. “That’s done and dusted. But that wasn’t an exemplary game at all. Full credit to Iceland, however; the better team won that game. I remember the match, and it was a big shock, but it just proves that in football, you should never underestimate your opponent. All teams have quality players, and Iceland is no exception.”

Not a “sightseeing tour”

Iceland’s captain Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson was also interviewed yesterday about the upcoming match at Wembley: “It’s a fantastic stadium, and it’s fun to play these kinds of matches. But, of course, we are not here on a sightseeing tour … we’re starting fresh now.”

Jóhann admitted that Iceland’s loss to Ukraine March, which saw their hopes of qualifying for this summer’s Euros shattered, had been disappointing: “But we just need to build on that performance as we head into the Nations League … we know this will be a tough game, but it’s fun, and we should enjoy playing in such great conditions.”

Iceland’s Triumph Over Austria Paves Path to Euro Finals

Women's national football team celebrates in a huddle

The Icelandic women’s national football team defeated Austria 2-1 yesterday in the UEFA Women’s Euro 2025 qualifiers. The victory puts the team in a solid position to qualify directly for the finals.

Strong winds, calm minds

The Icelandic women’s national football team secured a significant 2-1 victory against Austria in the UEFA Women’s Euro 2025 qualifiers last night. Battling strong winds in the first half, Iceland took the lead with a goal from Hlín Eiríksdóttir. Austria equalised just before halftime with a header from Eileen Campbell.

In the second half, Iceland dominated, with Hildur Antonsdóttir scoring the decisive goal from a corner kick. Despite late pressure from Austria, Iceland held on for the win, placing them second in Group A4 with seven points, three ahead of Austria.

In a good position to place second

As noted by RÚV, with last night’s victory, Iceland is in a great position to secure the crucial second place in Group A4. The second-place spot, along with the first place, guarantees a direct berth to the UEFA Women’s Euro 2025 finals, while the teams in third and fourth place will have to go through playoffs.

Germany is secure in its place in the Euro finals, leading the group with 12 points. Iceland follows with 7 points, Austria has 4 points, and Poland, with no points, no longer has a chance to qualify directly for the UEFA Women’s Euro 2025.

Iceland still has to play against Germany and Poland. It’s clear that three points from those matches will suffice since Iceland holds a better head-to-head record against Austria, which can only reach a maximum of 10 points. If Austria loses another game, Iceland will also advance.

Could go down to the wire

Nonetheless, the final standings may not be determined until the last round. Iceland faces Germany next while Austria takes on Poland. If Iceland loses and Austria wins, the teams will be tied heading into the final round, where Iceland will visit Poland and Austria will face Germany.

As noted by RÚV, it is evident that the final international window during this qualification round will be exciting. Here are the dates of Iceland’s upcoming matches.

July 12: Iceland – Germany
July 16: Poland – Iceland

The UEFA Women’s Euro 2025  finals will be played in Switzerland between July 2 and July 27, 2025.

This article was updated at 10:26 PM.

First Icelander to Compete in the Triathlon at the Olympics

Guðlaug Edda Hannesdóttir

Guðlaug Edda Hannesdóttir will be the first Icelander to compete in the triathlon at the Olympic Games, securing her spot with medals in three Asian competitions. She is the second Icelander to qualify for the Paris Olympics this year, following swimmer Anton Sveinn McKee.

“Never stop believing”

Icelandic triathlete Guðlaug Edda Hannesdóttir will make history at the Olympic Games in Paris this summer as she will be the first Icelander to compete in the triathlon at the Olympic Games.

As noted by RÚV, Guðlaug Edda was granted an invitation spot at the Paris Olympics – the National Olympic and Sports Association of Iceland (ÍSÍ) had applied for such a spot on her behalf – after winning medals in three triathlon competitions in Asia over five weeks: gold in Nepal, silver in the Philippines, and bronze in Japan.

Guðlaug Edda is the first Icelandic woman to secure a spot at the Olympics this year; swimmer Anton Sveinn McKee had already secured his place at the Games, making Guðlaug the second Icelander to do so. She is currently ranked 143rd in the World Triathlon Individual Olympic Qualification Ranking.

In light of this achievement – which is even more remarkable given that Guðlaug Edda has overcome severe hip injuries that had plagued her for a long time, as noted by Mbl.isGuðlaug Edda took to Instagram to celebrate

Triathlon will now be the twelfth event in which Iceland has competed at the Summer Olympics.

 

Iceland Men’s National Handball Team Qualifies for World Championship

Iceland crowd

Iceland Men’s National Handball Team beat Estonia today to qualify for the 2025 IHF Men’s World Championship. The tournament will take place in Croatia, Denmark, and Norway in January and February next year.

Overwhelming victory over two matches

The match against Estonia took place in Tallinn earlier today and Iceland defeated their opponent handily, Mbl.is reports. The final score was 37-24, but the match was closely fought early on. Iceland started to pull away at the end of the first half. By the second half, Iceland secured a stronger lead and were ahead by 12 goals when 10 minutes were left in the game.

Orri Freyr Þorkelsson scored 9 goals for Iceland, Ómar Ingi Magnússon scored 7 and Óðinn Þór Ríkharðsson six.

Iceland had already beat Estonia 50-25 at home in their first match, giving them a healthy cushion for this second match. The aggregate score was 87-49.

2031 tournament in Iceland

Handball is a popular sport in Iceland and the men’s national team has historically been competitive, winning the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in China. The women’s national team competed in the World Championship last year and have qualified for this year’s European Championship.

Qualifying for next year’s tournament comes in the wake of the announcement that Iceland will host the 2031 World Championship along with Denmark and Norway. A new National Arena is planned to open in Reykjavík to host the tournament games.

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Mari Järsk Breaks Icelandic Record at Reykjavik Backyard Ultra

Mari Järsk crosses the finish line at the Backyard Ultra

Runner Mari Järsk set a new Icelandic record by covering a distance of nearly 382 kilometres in the Reykjavik Backyard Ultra last weekend. Järsk, who had been awake for 57 hours upon crossing the finish line, maintained that she could have gone even further.

Smokeless Järsk smokes competition

The Backyard Ultra took place last weekend in Öskjuhllíð, Reykjavík. The ultramarathon race involves running the same 6.7-kilometre loop every hour until only one runner remains.

This year, the last runner standing was 36-year-old Mari Järsk, who celebrated a victory on Monday evening. Mari set a new Icelandic record by running nearly 382 kilometres after having been awake for 57 hours since the race began at 9 AM on Saturday.

The accomplishment is, perhaps, even more notable given that Mari stopped smoking earlier this year (she was photographed with a cigarette in hand while resting between laps at the Backyard Ultra in 2022, which she also won).

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Mari was unable to stand up on Monday evening to receive her trophy: “I have some swelling in my ankles, all around, and a bit in my knees. I have been cooling and applying ointments so I feel quite different already. I can walk and bend and do what I need to do,” Mari told Vísir on Monday.

The swelling had reportedly subsided significantly with proper treatment by Tuesday.

Could have gone even further

Speaking to Vísir during the award ceremony, Mari added that she would have gone even further if she had been allowed to do so (the race is automatically over once a single runner remains): “I would have liked to reach 400 kilometres. I would have taken those additional three hours,” she observed.

Mari was not the only runner to set a new record over the weekend; Elísa Kristjánsdóttir finished in second place, completing 56 laps, and Andri Guðmundsson placed third, having completed 52 laps. Mari, Elísa, and Andri crossed the finish line together after the 51st lap to break the former Icelandic record set by Þorleifur Þorleifsson in 2023.

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Ex-National Football Player Indicted in Sexual Offence Case

Former national team member Kolbeinn Sigþórsson

Charges have been issued against former footballer Kolbeinn Sigþórsson for sexual offences against a young girl, RÚV reports. The alleged incident occurred two years ago. The girl’s mother is demanding ISK 3 million [$21,000/€20,000] in damages; Kolbeinn denies the charges.

Defence attorney declined to comment

In January, the District Attorney issued charges against footballer Kolbeinn Sigþórsson for sexual offences against a young girl, RÚV reports. The alleged offence is said to have occurred in late June two years ago, with the District Attorney stating in the indictment that Kolbeinn “utilised his superior position over the girl.” Kolbeinn denies the charges.

The case was filed in late January at the Reykjanes District Court. As noted by RÚV, the girl’s mother demands that Kolbeinn be ordered to pay her daughter ISK 3 million [$21,000/€20,000] in damages. Kolbeinn’s defence attorney declined to comment when approached.

The case was under investigation by the police before being forwarded to the district attorney’s office. As noted by RÚV, the DA’s office “does not issue charges unless it believes there is a substantial likelihood of conviction.”

Kolbeinn Sigþórsson has played with HK in Kópavogur; AZ Alkmaar and Ajax in the Netherlands; Nantes in France, before going on a brief loan to Galatasaray in 2016. After stints in Sweden with AIK and IFK Göteborg, he retired in 2021. Kolbeinn earned 64 caps for Iceland between 2010 and 2021, scoring 26 goals, and was part of the UEFA Euro 2016 squad.

As noted by RÚV, Kolbeinn was accused of assault against two women at a nightclub in 2017. They withdrew their complaint after he paid them a total of ISK 3 million [$21,000/€20,000] in out-of-court settlements and ISK 3 million [$21,000/€20,000] to Stígamót, a centre for survivors of sexual violence.

This article was updated at 8:53 AM.

Japanese Ski Jumper Targets World Record in Akureyri

Hlíðarfjall ski resort in North Iceland

The Japanese ski jumper Ryoyu Kobayashi may have set a new ski jumping world record in Akureyri yesterday with a 256-metre jump. Kobayashi attempted a 300-metre jump this morning, although it remains uncertain whether he was successful.

Attempted a 300-metre jump this morning

The Japanese ski jumper Ryoyu Kobayashi arrived at Hlíðarfjall mountain in Akureyri, North Iceland, yesterday morning where he made several attempts from a giant ski jump constructed at the top of the mountain. The ski area was closed during this period.

According to RÚV, Kobayashi jumped 256 metres in his final attempt yesterday, surpassing the current world record in ski jumping, which stands at 253.5 metres (although the record has not been officially confirmed). As noted by RÚV’s sources, eyewitnesses at Hlíðarfjall reportedly witnessed celebrations among the jumper’s assistants, convinced that he had broken the record.

This morning, the Japanese ski jumper attempted a 300-metre jump. According to Vísir, Kobayashi and his Red Bull team arrived at Hlíðarfjall before 7 AM. By around 11 AM, the project appeared to have concluded, as part of the equipment had been dismantled. It remains uncertain whether the 300-metre jump was successful.

As noted by RÚV, the preparations for the event have been ongoing for a year, involving Icelandic contractors in collaboration with the energy drink manufacturer Red Bull: “Red Bull Japan has made an agreement with the municipality of Akureyri for the construction of the ski jump in Hlíðarfjall and filming. A replica of the ski jump in Vikersund, Norway, where ski jumping world records have been set, was constructed,” RÚV notes.

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New Arena Needed for Iceland’s 2031 Handball Host Role

Iceland crowd

Iceland is set to co-host the 2031 Handball World Championship with Denmark and Norway. Iceland’s ability to host hinges on the completion of a new national arena by 2031, without which it would have to withdraw, a spokesperson for the Icelandic Handball Federation has noted.

A new national arena a prerequisite

As noted by IR yesterday, Iceland will host the 2031 Handball World Championship along with Denmark and Norway. A new National Arena is deemed essential for Iceland to be able to host the event.

In an interview with RÚV yesterday, Róbert Geir Gíslason, General Manager of the Icelandic Handball Federation (HSÍ), noted that Iceland would have to withdraw from hosting the tournament in the event that the new national arena was not completed in time.

“We know the arena is currently in the tendering process. Regarding the design, we are promised that it will be ready by 2028 or 2029. We fully trust that this timeline will hold,” he observed. When asked if there was a contingency plan if the new national arena failed to materialise, Róbert responded that Iceland would have to withdraw its participation.

As noted by RÚV, the government has committed to erecting a new arena by 2028 or 2029. In September 2023, the completion was scheduled for late 2026, but that date has now been pushed back.

“I believe that if we do not have a national arena – if it’s not ready by 2031 – we will somehow have to withdraw. It’s clear. It is an absolute prerequisite for us to meet the tournament’s minimum requirements. The national arena is what we need to meet those,” Róbert explained.

A total of 21 games to be played in Iceland

Iceland will host two groups during the group stages of the tournament along with hosting an intermediate round. RÚV notes that 21 games in total will be played in Laugardalur, Reykjavík, with Iceland playing eight games at home if everything goes as planned. The other six groups will be played in Norway and Denmark, and three intermediate rounds will be played in these countries as well.

“We didn’t have the option to host this alone,” Róbert explained. “We will host two groups and one intermediate round here. So we are getting eight nations here, or seven including us. That’s big enough for us for now.”

As noted by RÚV, Iceland has previously hosted a major tournament, namely the 1995 World Championship. Thirty-six years will thus have passed since Iceland last hosted a World Championship by the time the 2031 World Championship comes around. Róbert observed that being chosen to host the event was a significant recognition for Iceland as a sporting nation.

“We are very proud. This is great news and a significant recognition for us as a sporting nation. A great acknowledgement of the work of HSÍ and the clubs across the country.”

HSÍ has been working on the project with the government and the Icelandic Tourism Board.

“This has been a long process and we are very grateful to the government and the Icelandic Tourism Board for their help. It has been a lot of work both for them and us, in close cooperation with Denmark and Norway.”