The 10 most famous Swedish athletes:
Björn Borg, tennis player:
Born in 1956.
He won the French open championships, which are played on clay, 6
times and the first victory came in 1974 when he also received the
finest award in sports in Sweden. The Svenska Dagbladet Gold
Medal, also known as bragdguldet. In 1975 he led the Swedish
national tennis team to its first victory in Davis cup. He won the
tennis tournament on grass in Wimbledon 5 times consecutively
1976 to 1980. And this on a surface considered his weakest! He was
during long periods ranked number 1 in the world, a total of 109
weeks. In 1978 he got the “bragdguldet” for the second time. He
finished his career too soon in 1981. Since then he has been working
with business where he has used his name for different products.
His extraordinary physique, his coolness and ability to get out of the toughest situations were the
main reasons for his success.
Ingemar Stenmark, alpine skier:
Born in 1956.
He took the first of his 86! victories in the World Cup in
1974 and the last in 1989. A fantastic career where the
highlights were the gold medals in the Olympics in slalom
and Giant slalom in 1980, the gold medals in the same
disciplines in the world championships in 1978. The gold
medal in slalom in 1982 in the world championships. He
won the overall World Cup 3 times. The slalom cup 7 times
and the Giant slalom cup 8 times. He got the “bragdguldet” in 1974 and in 1978. The Swedes stopped
working when Ingemar was competing. At work and in schools people gathered in front of TV sets.
He had a leg strength never seen before, and a fantastic balance and technique. When he had made
some mistake in the first run he had an amazing ability to make a phenomenal second run and win!
What is most fascinating is that he in a discipline dominated by divas kept his Viking coolness.
He was so superior that they had to change the rules in order to stop Ingemar from winning the total
World Cup year after year. Although Ingemar didn´t compete in the speed events, downhill and
Super-G, he is considered by most people the greatest ever!
Ingemar (( Ingo)Johansson, boxer:
Born in 1932, died 2009.
He began his amateur career at the age of 16 and finished it in the
Olympics in Helsingfors in 1952. They thought Ingo had been boxing
like a coward and therefore took back his silver medal in
heavyweight. He got it back again 30 years later. After the Olympics
he turned professional and won the heavyweight European title in
1956. He defended it in 1957. In 1958 he fought the American Eddie
Machen in a fight about whom would get the right to fight against
the reigning world champion, Floyd Patterson. Ingo knocked
Machen out in the first round. The fight was outdoors in New Ullevi
Stadium in Gothenburg with 53.614 spectators.
On the 26 June in 1959 he became heavyweight champion of the
world by beating Floyd Patterson on technical knock-out in front of
30.000 spectators at Yankee Stadium in New York. 3 million Swedes listened to the fight on the radio
in the middle of the night. Ingo didn´t get the “bragdgudet” but he was chosen “The Sportsman of
the Year” by Sports Illustrated. The news agency AP appointed him “The Greatest Athlete of the
Floyd Patterson got his revenge in 1960 and also won the very close fight in 1961. In 1962 Ingo won
the European title and defended it in 1963. Then his career ended.
He was a smart boxer with a great footwork and a feared right punch. Tor´s hammer!
Ingo, a genuine lad from Gothenburg who won the finest of all sports titles: The World Champion of
Jan-Ove Waldner, table tennis player:
Born in 1965.
One of the greatest ever, and the only one to win individually in the
European championships, the World championships and the Olympics. He
began his long career with finishing second in the European championships,
as a 16-year old boy. During his career he has won 35 medals in the above
mentioned competitions. Furthermore National champion of Sweden 9
times . The latest this year! J-O ( which is his pet name in Sweden ) is called
the Mozart of table tennis cause of his superb technique and ability to make
the most fantastic performances when under extreme pressure. He broke a
dominance the Chinese had had for a very long time. To be able to beat J-O
the Chinese tried to produce players with a similar style to his and then have
their top players sparring against these “copies” so the top guys would come better prepared when
meeting J-O! In China which has dominated table tennis throughout the years, J-O is the most well-
known Swede and besides Michael Jordan the best known foreign athlete. In China he is known as
Lao Wa, which means Old Wa(ldner) or as Chang Qing Shu which means The Eternally Green Tree.
He got the “bragdguldet” together with the National table tennis team in 1989 and alone in 1992.
J-O still plays at a national level and as mentioned earlier won the Swedish national as a 45 –year old
Annika Sörenstam, golf player:
Born in 1970.
She is considered as one of the greatest female golf
players ever. She began her professional career in
1992 and finished in 2008. She won 90 international
tournaments including 72 wins in the LPGA
tournaments. She also won 10 major championships.
She has won more than 20 million dollars during her
career in the US, and in Europe 2 million Euros. She
won the “bragdguldet” in 1995. The same year she got the Jerring award, which is another
prestigious award given to Swedish athletes by having a people´s vote. She won the Jerring price
again in 2003. In 2005 she was the holder of 50 different records in the books of statistics. Among
others the lowest score, 59. Her list of merits is too long to recapitulate here, it would get boring.
Her success was due to an extreme talent, but also very hard training and a very strong mind which
made her hate to lose.
Börje Salming, ice hockey player:
Born in 1951.
He is considered as one of the best hockey players ever. In
1996 he became a member, as the only Swede, in the
Hockey Hall of Fame. In 2008 he was chosen into the
Team of the Century together with great players as
Tretjak, Fetisov, Makarov, Charlamov and Gretzky! He
played in the NHL for 17 years and 16 of them in Toronto
Maple Leafs. He also has 3 national championships in
Sweden and has played in the national team 46 times.
In 1976 Sweden played their first game in Canada Cup against the USA. When Salming entered the
ice on North American ground, in Toronto, wearing the Swedish National team outfit he got standing
ovations for several minutes!
As a hockey player his greatest assets were his great understanding of the game and his ability to
make good passes. He still has the club record for assists in Toronto. Furthermore he was a genuine
Viking. He didn´t know what fear was. He used his body as a shield to stop the puck. He has an
uncountable amount of stitches in his body and face and has also been injured in every thinkable
place of his body.
As a hockey pensioner Börje works with underwear and hockey equipment.
Anja Pärson, alpine skier:
Born in 1981.
Anja made her debut in the World Cup in 1998 by
finishing last. But in her second try she won and thus
became the youngest ever to win. In the beginning she
was specialized in slalom and Giant slalom, but began
competing in Super-G and downhill in 2002/2003. In
March 2005 she won both these events in the World
Cup. When she won the combination in 2008 she
became the third woman ever to win in all 5 alpine disciplines. She won the total World Cup in 2004
and 2005.She has won 41 victories in the different events in the World Cup and is thus only beaten
by 3 ladies. She has won the slalom cup in 2004 and the combination cup in 2009. She also won the
Giant slalom cup in 2003, 2004 and 2006. In the World championships and in the Olympics she has
won 16 medals of which 8 are golden.
The “bragdguldet” she got both in 2006 and in 2007.
During her whole career she has had her father as a coach. Her strengths are above all her leg
strength, her Viking lack of fear and her toughness. In the Olympics in 2010 she was second in the
downhill race when she lost control and made a 60 meter “jump” and crashed violently. Seeing the
crash most people thought her career was over. But she got up and the next day she won the bronze
medal in the combination. Respect!
We haven´t seen the end yet, cause she will continue next season.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, football player:
Born in 1981.
Zlatan is born in Sweden and his origins are
Croatian and Bosnian. He is one of the best paid
players in the world and is unique in Sweden for
getting the finest award, The Golden Ball, 4
He started to play for Malmö FF in the National
league in 1999. In 2001 he went professional in
Ajax. They won the Dutch championship in
2001/2002 and in 2002/2003.
He moved to Juventus in 2004. They won the A-series in 2004/2005 and in 2005/2006. They lost the
titles due to the scandal in 2006.
In 2006 he moved to Inter. They won the title for 3 consecutive years. 2006/2007, 2007/2008 and
2008/2009. The last year he won the price for making most goals in the A-series.
Since 2009 he plays in Barcelona.
In the National team he has made many important goals, but hasn´t reached the same standard as he
plays on as a professional.
Gunde Svan, cross-country skier,
Born in 1962.
Gunde is one of the greatest cross-country skiers ever. He
made his debut as a senior in 1982. He finished his career in
1991. He won 6 Olympic medals of which 4 were golden. In the
World championships he won 11 medals of which 7 were
golden. He won 30 World Cup events and won the total cup 5
times. He also won 22 Swedish championship titles. Between
the years 1965 and 1991 he took part in 615 skiing events and
won in 342. He won the “bragdguldet” in 1984 and the Jerring
prize in 1984 and in 1985.
As a skier he was outstanding both for his physique as his
mental strength. Sometimes he nearly crossed the line of what
was sane! Once he fell badly in the beginning of a 50 km race
and broke his arm. But using his number ticket as a mitella he
finished the race! He always brought his own food to the championships. He was also very precise
about his equipment and always wanted to test everything that was new.
After finishing his career he became a very popular programme leader in different TV-shows.
He has also always been very interested in cars and won the Swedish championships and finished
third in the European championships in rally-cross.
Between 2007 and 2009 he was the executive leader for the Swedish team in cross-country skiing.
Gert Fredriksson, canoeist.
Born in 1919, died in 2006.
Gert is the greatest male
canoeist ever. He competed in
the Olympics from 1948 to 1960
and won 8 medals of which 6
were golden. Furthermore he
won 7 Gold medals, 2 Silver
medals and 2 Bronze medals in
the World championships.
In 1949 he got the
“bragdguldet” for competing in
200 consecutive competitions
between 1942 and 1949 and winning them all! In 1956 he was awarded the Mohammad Taher
throphy by the International Olympic Committee. It is given to the World´s greatest athlete.
His outstanding achievements were due to very hard training. When he couldn´t practice in the
water in the winter he was doing gymnastics and cross-country skiing. His tactics in competitions
were to start extremely hard and then increase the speed!
In spite of all his achievements he remained a very humble and nice person.
At the age of 68 he became the Veteran World champion.