Federation Friday: Iceland

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Federation Friday: Iceland

March 4, 2016

This week we focus on Iceland where: ‘Everything is possible… well almost’

A small island, smack in the middle of the north Atlantic with 330.000 residents is taking part in the international Gymnastics scene in four disciplines.  With a population the size of Zürich, Nice and Cardiff to name a few, we are proud to be registering participation in Gymnastics for All, TeamGym, Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics.  In GfA we were the third largest participant at EUROGYM 2014 with more than 400 participants and we are flying more than 110 of our senior gymnasts to the Golden Age festival in Portoroz in the fall.  In TG we fielded 5 teams of about 60 competitors to the TeamGym Europeans in 2014 and plan to have the same going to Slovenia in the fall.  In MAG and WAG we are regular competitors at the FIG and UEG level, reaching new heights by having a first reserve for the WAG apparatus finals in the last three European Championships – and this year we are still on our journey to Rio; which would be a first for a WAG gymnast.

Gymnastics have won the hearts of the Icelandic nation and has enjoyed tremendous success in recent years. Most gymnastics clubs, in particular those located in the capital area, have long waiting lists. Media Coverage is extensive and the Icelandic Gymnastics Federation is accepting this new reality, both in the way the media is gathering stories on gymnastics and the fact that reporters are actually taking time to study gymnastics to better themselves and their understanding of the sport. In this progress the Icelandic Federation has re-invented its relationship with sponsors producing new revenue streams and mutual gain.

The recent success story of gymnastics in Iceland can also be realized inpure facts. According to the Icelandic National Olympic Committee (ISI); Gymnastics have become the number one sport for women in Iceland, surpassing football. Gymnastics also has the second most participants in the age group 6-18 years, one in four girls 18 years and younger is practicing gymnastics and the Icelandic Gymnastics Federation has now become the 3rd largest sports federation in Iceland. If everything goes according to plan, gymnastics should be the 2nd largest sport in Iceland by 2017.

Since 2009 the National Television Broadcaster (RUV) has broadcasted some of our national tournaments live along with several episodes on gymnastics which were aired on prime time. The cooperation with RUV has been a great success and together we have created a new event which is called “Gymnastics Duel”. The Gymnastics Duel has been aired live for the past three years, with great success and has increased the exposure of gymnastics as well as generating revenue through our partners. It has also been a platform for our gymnasts to gain experience in handling media interviews. All this has contributed in creating role models for our young gymnasts that is increasingly important. The rating for the live broadcasts has been from 25-36,4% which ensured the federation a broadcasting contract for three years for its biggest events.

The Icelandic Gymnastics Federation hosted UEG’s 10th European TeamGym Championships in October 2014. It’s safe to say that the championships were a great success.  The federation and the LOC have received numerous congratulations from the UEG, Icelandic Olympic Association, Mayor of Reykjavik and Reykjavik city council etc. Members of the Icelandic Sport Associations, politicians and others have boldly stated that the event exceeded all other international competitions and events that have been hosted in Iceland, and have been busy complimenting the Icelandic Gymnastics Federation.

FACTS ABOUT GYMNASTICS IN ICELAND

·        3rd Largest sport overall

·        1st In participation by women

·        2nd Largest sport in the 6-18 age group

·        25% of women in the 6-18 age group participate in club gymnastics

·        36% ratings on National Television

 

Text and photos: Icelandic Gymnastics Federation