The Icelandic Sports Federation (Íþróttasamband Íslands) was founded on 28th January 1912. The Olympic Committee of Iceland (NOC) was founded on the 29th of September 1921. The NOC was recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the 34th session in Oslo on the 11th of January 1935. The NOC and the Sports Federation were merged together on November 1st 1997.
The headquarters of the NOC are at Laugardalur Sports Center in the nation's capital, Reykjavík.
Mr. Larus L. BLONDAL is the President of the NOC and Ms. Liney Rut HALLDORSDOTTIR is the Secretary General.
History of the National Olympic and Sports Association of Iceland
Iceland participated for the first time in the Olympic Games in London 1908 and again in Stockholm 1912. The Icelandic Sports Federation was founded in 1912, before the Stockholm Olympiad. One Icelandic athlete took part in the Olympic Games 1920. He competed under the Danish flag, since he was a student in Denmark. Twelve members founded the first NOC in 1921; however, the NOC did not participate in the Olympics again until 1936 under the guidance of a new committee that was formed in 1934. The IOC officially recognised the NOC of Iceland in 1935. In 1946, Mr. Benedikt WAAGE became a member of the IOC. Iceland did not participate in the Olympics during the Depression years due to lack of funds, but has taken part in the Olympics from the Games in 1936 with one exception i.e. the Winter Games in Sapporo in Japan.
Iceland is one of the smallest nations attending the Olympics and this is reflected in the small numbers of medals won by Iceland at the Olympics. Iceland won the first medal in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne when Vilhjálmur EINARSSON took second place in the triple jump. In the Olympics in Los Angeles the Icelandic team of 32 athletes was quite successful. The best result was achieved by Bjarni FRIDRIKSSON by winning the bronze medal in the 90 kg judo division. Einar VILHJÁLMSSON took 6th place in javelin throw and the Icelandic Handball Team finished in 6th place. Only few days before the Olympics in Barcelona the Icelandic Handball Team was asked to replace Yugoslavia. In spite of this short notice the Handball Team earned the 4th place. Sigurdur EINARSSON took 5th place in the Javelin Throw at the Games in Barcelona.
The NOC of Iceland had 18 athletes participate in the Olympic Games in Sydney. The highligts of the Games was when Ms. Vala FLOSADOTTIR won a Bronze medal in Pole Vaulting clearing the height of 4.50m. which was a National Record. Mr. Orn ARNARSON placed 4th in the 200m Back Stroke and Ms. Gudrun ARNARDOTTIR placed 7th in the 400m Hurdles.
In Beijing 2008 the Men‘s Icelandic Handball Team won the Silver Medal. That was a historical achievement for a team sport in Iceland. With the President of Iceland and the Minister of Education, Culture and Sports attending the handball competition, the team won it‘s way all the way to the Gold Match and earned admiration from worldwide.
This list would not be complete without mentioning one of the greatest Icelandic sportsmen in history, Mr. Jóhannes JÓSEFSSON, who was a very popular wrestler both in Iceland and abroad. He participated in the 1908 Olympic Games and finished forth in middleweight Greco-Roman wrestling. Another great athlete from this period was also a wrestler, Mr. Sigurjón PÉTURSSON, a heavyweight competitor at the Olympics in 1912 where he finished in 5 - 9th place.
The Icelandic Olympic Academy was created on March the 25th 1987. One of its primary tasks has been planning courses and giving lectures at the Icelandic College of Physical Education. The Academy also meets with present and future Physical Education teachers and coaches and informs them about the history of the Olympic Games and the history of sports in Iceland.
The NOC was a single centralized organization until 1. November 1997 when the NOC and the Icelandic Sport Federation of Iceland were merged into one organisation. The years 1996 and 1997 were years of preparation for the merging of the Icelandic Sport Federation and the National Olympic Committee. The leadership used almost all its energy and time on bringing about this important change in the structure of organized sport in Iceland. On September 28th 1997 the merging was finally and unanimously agreed, both in an extraordinary general assembly of the Icelandic Sport Federation and in an extraordinary general assembly of the National Olympic Committee. This first step towards a better and stronger organization was a big step for the sport movement in Iceland. The new organization was named Íthrótta- og Ólympíusamband Íslands - The National Olympic and Sports Association of Iceland (hereafter referred to as the new NOC or the NOC).
On November 1st-2nd 1997, the First General Asembly of the new NOC was held in Reykjavik. The number of delegates was 220 and including guests and staff the participants were about 300. The President of Iceland, Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and the Minister for Sport and Culture, Mr. Björn Bjarnason, were present at the opening of this historical event.
A new emblem was designed for the new NOC. It consists of a volcano, created from the colors of the national flag, spouting fire that symbolizes the energy of Iceland and its people.