Sports Leadership and the Biggest Small Nation in the World

  • Inga Minelgaite
  • Svala Guðmundsdóttir
  • Árelía E. Guðmundsdóttir
  • Olga Stangej
Part of the Contributions to Management Science book series (MANAGEMENT SC.)


In August 2008, Iceland’s male handball team stood on the podium at the Olympic Games in Beijing, having just been awarded their silver medals. The team’s journey toward this tremendous accomplishment was closely and passionately followed by all Icelanders regardless of age, gender, or station in life. The broadcast of the games was a sacred time for the nation’s people, who excitedly but nervously watched “their boys” progress to the finals in the name of the whole nation. This journey was a crusade to the top of Olympus uplifting the identity for Icelanders and empowered them to be truly the “biggest small nation” in the world, a title that was created by the First Lady at the time. However, what later really moved the sports world was not the otherwise obvious leadership and life lesson that “small can be great.” It was the return of the heroes back home, who were welcomed by thousands of people in the streets anxiously waiting to greet them. The atmosphere felt like a genuine celebratory carnival ( 2015).


Sports leadership Team leadership Iceland 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inga Minelgaite
    • 1
  • Svala Guðmundsdóttir
    • 1
  • Árelía E. Guðmundsdóttir
    • 1
  • Olga Stangej
    • 2
  1. 1.University of IcelandReykjavikIceland
  2. 2.Institute of Quality Management and Business Administration (IQB-FHS)FHS St. Gallen, University of Applied SciencesSt. GallenSwitzerland

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