A Grapevine service announcement Be patient: That eruption is expected to last until 2015

Great Moments In Icelandic History: Iceland gets its first Olympic Medal

Published August 15, 2008

While many right now are cheering on Iceland’s Olympians competing in Beijing, there still remains great national pride and honour in remembering that unforgettable moment in time when the country won its very first medal.

While Iceland’s Olympic history goes back to 1921, when their Olympic committee was first started and becoming officially recognised by the IOC in 1935, it wasn’t until 1956 at the Melbourne Olympics that an Olympic dream was finally realised.

Vilhjálmur Einarsson – known throughout the country today as “Silver Man” – stunned the world when at Melbourne he sprang a Herculean leap, bounding 16.26 meters in the men’s triple jump. This miraculous achievement set a world record briefly until Adhemar da Silva eclipsed it shortly after.

Einarsson says that the Silver medal win came as a huge shock for him AND the country. “I remember that before the ’56 Olympics started, a famous journalist wrote that Iceland shouldn’t send anyone to the Olympics, as there was no point to it because there had been many previous disappointments. ‘Why waste all that money sending an Icelander halfway across the world?’” he says. “It was quite a big surprise in Iceland for me to win a medal.”

At the time, Einarsson was two years into college at Dartmouth University and enthusiastically participated in the school’s track and field team. Through this experience, he got into excellent athletic form, ready to take on the world. Einarsson recalls that in the run up to the Melbourne Games during the qualifiers in Sweden, he broke the Scandinavian record for the triple jump, and then continuously got better and better. “I improved my personal best by a meter and then another meter,” he says. “This was a very big improvement in such a short period of time!”

After accomplishing a silver finish in Melbourne, Einarsson continued his Olympic ambitions to the next games set in Rome in 1960. He remembers the buzz at the time was high and the pressure was on him to go for the gold. However, a heat wave struck the city during his competition and a Russian triple-jumper strategically delayed his jump by 10 to 15 minutes, intentionally upping Einarsson’s stress level before he was to take his turn. As a result, he suffered the agony of fifth place. “I remember the whole stadium booing the Russian, it’s one of my strongest memories of the games,” he says.



Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Microphonic Body Machine

by

Ekeberg Park, Oslo: The September sun reflects in yellow leaves. Angela Rawlings and her colleagues reach the centre of the posh sculpture-park: a forest of glass. The walls capture, care for, and feed back the voice of Angela and a partner in crime, Elfi Sverdrup, transforming a gentle acoustic test into what Angela herself calls “an unanticipated partnership.” And what a partner Angela makes; the 2001 recipient of the bpNichol Award for Distinction in Writing, an award winning poet, a much sought after arts educator; of creative writing, ballroom-, swing-, and salsa dancing—and a producer of festivals, magazines, magical soundworks, plus so

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Was Literature’s First Man On The Moon An Icelandic Peasant?

by

My name is Duracotus and my fatherland Iceland called Thule by the ancients. My mother, Fiolxhilde who died recently left me at leisure to write something which I already ardently desired to do. While she lived she diligently saw to it that I did not write, for she said that there were many malicious usurpers of the arts, who, because they did not understand anything, on account of the ignorance of their mind, misrepresented them and made laws detrimental to the human race. Under these laws, many men would assuredly have been condemned and swallowed up in the abysses of

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Keeping The Romance Alive

by

In our third and final instalment of “Mexicans: They’re Everywhere,” we meet Libertad Venegas. Prior to her first visit to Iceland, the only thing she knew about the country was that it was home to a famous singer called Björk. For Libertad, that tiny speck of earth above Europe with the intimidating name was a land of total mystery. As fate would have it, Libertad wound up falling in love with an Icelander she met online. After a period of courtship, the two made plans to convene in person, and, as they say, the rest is history. “I was going

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

The Endless Bubble Of Overblown Expectations

by

In the spring of 2007, when the Icelandic financial bubble was reaching its peak, the Ministry of Industry held a press conference to announce it intended to undertake an environmental impact assessment of oil exploration off the coast of Northeast Iceland, near the Jan-Mayen ridge. The press was quick to see what this meant: Untold riches! “Oil exploration might begin next summer,” the headlines read, and many Icelanders, who had already started to believe the country was on its way to becoming a North Atlantic Switzerland could now fantasize about living in an Arctic Saudi Arabia. Although there was no

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

No, No, No…

by

On October 9, 2008, The Economist published an article called “Kreppanomics,” detailing Iceland’s then-recent financial meltdown. “One word on every tongue in Iceland these days is kreppa. Normally it means to be ‘in a pinch’ or ‘to get into a scrape’, but when it is applied to the economy, it becomes ‘financial crisis,’” the article began. “In time kreppa may become the word that conjures up the disastrous meltdown that is now taking place in the country’s economy.” Indeed, The Economist was right. This post-crash buzzword went on to appear in almost every single article and blog post about Iceland’s

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

News In Brief: October

by

 Anyone with a favourite pet knows how hard it is to be apart when travelling. One man who tried to  enter Iceland with three Madagascar hissing cockroaches can attest to this. Despite his professed love for  the creatures, customs authorities informed him that Icelandic law prohibits bringing pets to Iceland—  even pets as adorable as greasy, hissing, crawling cockroaches the size of your thumb. Speaking of pets, an Akureyri man recently found himself on the wrong end of the law for burying his beloved, deceased pet chihuahua, Prins, in his backyard. This is apparently illegal, as health authorities phoned him,

Show Me More!