While Iceland is known worldwide for being good at things like bizarre music, waterfalls, and banking fraud, the country has never really, until recently, made headlines for their sporting finesse. Sure, the 2016 Euros gave the country some pizzazz, but foreigners—and Icelanders, for that matter—might be hard-pressed to remember any other notable victories. But there have been some. In ‘What Have We Won?’, the Grapevine dives so deeply into Iceland’s sporting triumphs that we emerge on the other side as free-dive champions. This issue, it’s the 1991 Bermuda Bowl.
Icelanders are notoriously fond of complicated games. Think about it: what other country would create a massive online video game about the economy? Given this information, the card game Bridge, which is famously difficult to master, seems right up their alley. Add in the long, dark winter months, where there’s not much else to do but stay inside and play cards, and you’ve got the right elements for a winning team.
And a winning team is exactly what Iceland brought at the 1991 Bermuda Bowl, where the country took home the world championship with a superstar team made up of Örn Arnþósson, Guðmundur Arnarson, Jón Baldursson, Guðlaugur Jóhansson, Þorlákur Jónsson, and Aðalsteinn Jörgensen.
The Bowl was a movie-worthy underdog story. Upon their arrival in Japan, Iceland’s team was considered such a long-shot that both Poland and the United States schemed to end up in fourth place, thus intentionally going into the quarter-finals against Iceland, who they assumed they would beat easily. They didn’t though! We showed them, right! HÚH!
A game for the world
You can find an in-depth analysis of the championship game between Iceland and Poland online, but no one at the Grapevine knows anything about bridge, so the information was pretty useless for us. It looked impressive, but that said, truly the only thing you really need to know about bridge is that hearts are worth more than both diamonds and clubs. Now that’s a sentiment the world should try and get its head around.