June 1-6, Iceland is hosting Europe’s 16th Games of the Small States, a biennial, multi-sport event organized by the National Olympic Committee that includes nations with populations of less than one million people.
Over 900 athletes have come to Reykjavik from all over Europe representing Cyprus, Luxembourg, Monaco, Malta, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Montenegro and of course, Iceland! The first GSSE were held in San Marino in 1985, and every two years since then, the games have continued in a different city every time. This isn’t Iceland’s first time hosting the mini-Olympics – they did in 1997.
The Games opened with an extravagant ceremony on June 1, and the next day the games began in full swing with the shooting competition. Iceland’s GSSE are being held in the Center of Sports, Laugardalur, in Reykjavik. Eight out of eleven sports will take place there, and all of the athletes will be staying close to Laugardalur, which could be thought of as Iceland’s own little Olympic Village.
The Game’s events include six individual sports: swimming, judo, athletics, shooting, tennis, and table tennis, as well as two team sports: basketball and volleyball. Each year, the Organizing Committee can choose up to two other sports to add to their Games. This year in Iceland, the sports added to the 2015 events are artistic gymnastics and golf. Golf has never been an event at the GSSE, so this is the first year these small but strong countries can compete in it!
So far in the Games, Iceland has won 54 medals, the most of any nation competing. This includes 15 gold, 21 silver and 18 bronze medals. The final results will not be in until the Games conclude on Saturday, June 6.
Of all the countries who participate in the GSSE, Cyprus is currently the nation of with largest collection of medals, with 1,084 to date. Iceland is in second place, with an all-time record of 1,029 medals since the Game’s conception.
Will Iceland surpass Cyprus and win the most GSSE events? Only time will tell…. For further results for the Games, click here!