WSJ: Why does Iceland Fail at Winter Olympics? Skip to content

WSJ: Why does Iceland Fail at Winter Olympics?

By Iceland Review

The Wall Street Journal wonders why Icelanders are so bad at winter sports. The article reads:

“If there was ever a country that you would expect to do well at the Winter Olympics, it’s the one with “ice” in its name. But in 16 previous trips to the Games, Iceland has never won so much as a medal.

The Summer Olympics are more Iceland’s thing. There, at least, the country has won four medals, including a silver in team handball at the 2008 Beijing Games.”

Norway has won 320 medals at the Winter Olympics. Iceland should have won at least 20, according to the old head count rule. Norwegians are our ancestors, we are practically the same people.

Iceland sent five competitors to the Olympics this time, but nobody is expecting a medal. That did not keep the President or the Minister of Culture at home. In fact three times as many officials as contestants went to Sochi. The WSJ continues:

“But the biggest impediment is probably Iceland’s small population. With only 320,000 inhabitants, the pool of potential Olympians is shallow. Most of the top athletes are drawn to more popular sports that can be played year-round.

Once Sæ​var Birgisson, one of Iceland’s five athletes in Sochi, got serious about cross-country skiing, he had to move to southern Sweden to train.”

The dismal results prove what Icelanders have long known. For skiing and skating you need snow and ice. There just isn’t enough of that form of water in Iceland.

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