Jóhannes Jósefsson

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Competed in Olympic Games (non-medal events)
Full nameJóhannes•Jósefsson (-á Borg)
Used nameJóhannes•Jósefsson
Born27 July 1883 in Hamarkoti, Akureyri, Norðurland eystra (ISL)
Died5 October 1968 in Reykjavík, Höfuðborgarsvæði (ISL)
Measurements174 cm
AffiliationsUmf. Akureyrar
NOC Iceland


Jóhannes Jósefsson was glíma champion in Iceland Well in 1907 and 1908 and holder of the Grettir Belt for these two years. He also wrote the first book on glíma wrestling in English in 1908 with the title Glima – The Icelandic Wrestling. In 1908 at London he competed as a middleweight in Greco-Roman wrestling, and also participated in the glíma wrestling demonstration. Together with his six Icelandic compatriots, he performed additional wrestling shows for money in London during the Games outside of the official events. Subsequently he also toured various other countries in Europe and even North America. There, he performed mainly in vaudeville and with the Barnum & Bailey circus, “fighting” against boxers, knife fighters, Native Americans, Japanese jiu-jitsu fighters and others. He did not return to Iceland before 1919 and only settled there for good in 1927, by that time a wealthy man. From the money, he built the luxurious Hotel Borg in Reykjavik, which was opened in 1930, in time for 1,000 year anniversary of the Althingi, the Icelandic parliament. Jósefsson managed the hotel for 30 years before retiring. During this time he was called Jóhannes á Borg.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1908 Summer Olympics Wrestling ISL Jóhannes Jósefsson
Middleweight, Greco-Roman, Men (Olympic) 4
Glíma ISL Jóhannes Jósefsson
Glíma, Men (Olympic (non-medal)) NP