Rickardsson and Pärson rule Swedish sport

Speedway star Tony Rickardsson and downhill skiing sensation Anja Pärson picked up the big prizes at Monday night's Sports Gala - and the reaction was a resounding "about time".

After dominating his sport for years, and winning six world championships, Rickardsson was named Sportsman of the Year at the glitzy event at Stockholm’s Globen.

Clutching his trophy he thanked his parents from the stage.

“I have waited many years to come up here. Many years,” said Rickardsson.

He told the audience and TV viewers that his mother was not best pleased when he talked about motorsport at home.

“She usually says ‘drive carefully – but win’. I have tried to do that.”

Rickardsson was given a standing ovation when he retrurned to the stage to accept the Jerring Prize, which includes votes from TV viewers.

“The high point of my whole career,” he said.

The Sportswoman of the Year prize was awarded to alpine ace Anja Pärson, after a year in which she picked up two world championship golds and snatched the world cup by the finest of margins.

She had to beat off some stiff competition: golfer Annika Sörenstam, high jumper Kajsa Bergqvist and heptathlon star Carolina Klüft were all nominated.

Discuss this topic!

The prize winners

Newcomer of the year: Emma Green, athletics.

Team of the year: Mens’ national football team

Disabled sportsman of the year: Alexandra Polivanchuk, swimming

Trainer of the year: Yannick Tregaro, athletics

Sportswoman of the year: Anja Pärson, downhill skiing

Sportsman of the year: Tony Rickardsson, speedway.

Performance of the year: Kajsa Bergqvist, athletics

Jerring prize: Tony Rickardsson.