|from crossfit.com: Davidsdottir, Thorisdottir, and Helgadottir (l to r) all qualified for the CrossFit Games|
Guess what. During the European Regional Competition in May (yes, ALL of Europe was a region), the top three repeated: Annie first, Katrin second, and Thuridur third. Hjordis came in eighth. Astounding consistency and showing of fitness for a country the size of Ohio.
The above-mentioned article cites 3 main reasons why these Icelandic women dominate the scene: genes, mental fortitude, and culture. Emma Keen, a non-Icelandic athlete said in the article, "“I think their general attitude to their well-being is much more serious than in the UK where a lot of people's expendable income here is spent on alcohol and socializing and begrudge £30 gym membership,” Keen says. “The Icelandics think nothing of spending a lot of money to benefit their health.”
[Warning: this has absolutely no scientific steeping, but purely speculation and observation. So for you geeky scientists that need proof, you can look elsewhere.] I absolutely think culture has a lot to do with it. I saw evidence of it during our trip to Iceland. Besides visiting CF Reykjavik and working out with their team going to regionals, here's why.
In one of the hotels we stayed in, we were flipping through channels and came across this Icelandic game show that pitted high schoolers against each other in fitness skills. Even though it was in Icelandic, seeing these young teenagers doing push ups, dips, max holds from a bar, and other movements was unlike anything that you'd see State-side. It was clearly a normal thing for these high schoolers to be involved with physical fitness in more than just a "40-minute-walk-around-the-track" PE class. Anywho, here are some screen shots of the events.
|obstacle course involving monkey bars, cargo nets, and other activities|
|lifting "stones" - looked like rubber balls filled with sand|
|this was the biggest difference between Iceland women and American women: max DEFICIT push ups|
|boys held their own in a max dips contest|
|max hang = mental fortitude|
Do you think the US could ever get to this point? Would this even be something you would like to see? Working in education, I see gym classes being cut left and right to give more classroom time, so I think the attitude of Americans would have to change a great deal for fitness to play a bigger role.