We all know the reigning gender stereotype on this little island: the men are the strongest in the world and the women are the most beautiful. Well, it’s about time for a role reversal. Iceland’s women are strong too, and they’ll be proving it this month at Iceland’s Strongest Woman competition, returning after a lengthy hiatus, bigger and better than ever.
The strength competition has been resuscitated by Gemma Taylor Magnússon, a three time Britain’s Strongest Woman, competitor at The European Championships and runner up at the 2005 World Strongwoman Championship. Gemma and her husband, Icelandic strongman Benedikt Magnússon, recently opened Super Gym in Hafnarfjörður and saw that many Icelandic women had an interest in the heavy weightlifting facility. After developing a training program, PowerBurn, for the women to increase power and burn fat, Gemma noticed just how strong the women were.
The 2009 Iceland’s Strongest Woman competition will feature 20 girls, some of whom have been flying in regularly from the north for training, going head to head in such categories as the Farmers Walk, carrying 50kg as long a distance as possible in 90 seconds; and the Silver Dollar Deadlift, in which the women lift as much as they can 18 inches off the ground. In case you were wondering, Gemma has deadlifted an impressive 270 kg.
While the organizer is a heavy hitter in the world of strongwoman competitions, the Icelandic women taking part come from a wide range of backgrounds and experience levels. “This is one of the reasons that strongwoman as a sport is really great as it is for everyone of all body types, shapes and sizes,” said Gemma. “Yes it takes time to build up your strength but training well and in the right way means that you can become very strong and very good at the events.”
Aside from building incredible strength, the strongwoman competition is a chance for women to do things with their bodies that they previously thought impossible, instilling in them a great sense of accomplishment. As Gemma said: “Being strong in my body helps so much with being strong in my mind and makes me feel very positive. It has really given me a great perspective on life. Being able to achieve and see the most wonderful feats of strength has given me the belief that life has no boundaries or limitations. I firmly believe that my body is capable of anything that I wish it to do, and having that belief and being able to apply that to other aspects of my life is exhilarating!”
The strongwomen will do their thing October 17th at Smáralind in Kópavogur beginning at 14:00. Strongwoman souvenirs will be on sale and spectators are kindly asked to make a donation for watching the event. A job well done by all the women will be celebrated at a massive party the night of the competition. Again, all proceeds support breast cancer research, so check out IcelandsStrongestWoman.com and come show your support.