Icelandic Culture: Glíma (Nordic Wrestling)

So what about sports in Iceland?

Glíma is a sport in Iceland developed from an ancient form of wrestling, brought to Iceland sometime in the 9th century by its Viking settlers.  The Vikings unarmed combat techniques eventually became ingrained in Icelandic culture and was practiced at social events quite frequently for entertainment, and sometimes simply to stay warm while outside in a harsh environment.

By the 12th century, this form of wrestling became known as Glíma, meaning “game of gladness.”  Wrestlers grab each other by a harness on their wait and preform a series on foot maneuvers to try and tackle their opponent to the mat (which is sometimes made of wood).

Glíma has remained a part of Icelandic culture for over 11 centuries and is now making strides to go international and is a member of the International Federation of Celtic wrestling.

Maybe one day we will be able to see Glíma in the Olympic games.


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