• Sweden's news in English

Swedish media hails golden Anja

The Local · 23 Feb 2006, 12:53

Published: 23 Feb 2006 12:53 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Pärson's gold medal victory, her first Olympic crown after taking a silver and bronze in 2002 and two bronzes here, was Sweden's first in alpine at the Games since Pernilla Wiberg won the combined gold at Lillehammer in 1994.

On Thursday Swedish media said she conquered her inner demons to win her longed-for first Olympic gold medal in the women's slalom, heaping praise on the 24-year-old "blue-and-yellow King Kong".

"Anja Pärson found the perfect harmony and her equipment, body and mind joined together to become a winning unit in the slalom event. That led to the longed-for Olympic gold and now Anja has won everything there is to win," Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet wrote.

"Her worst opponent has been inside her own helmet. But yesterday she skied without demons, without any thoughts of Janica Kostelic or the Olympic gold. She stood alone in the starting gate. Empty. Whole," daily Aftonbladet wrote.

The victory was marked by one of Pärson's trademark belly dives on the snow, and followed by phone calls from the King of Sweden and Ingemar Stenmark, the Swedish ski legend who is a neighbour of the 24-year-old.

If the King calling you is something of a rarity, the other call seemed logical: both Stenmark and Pärson hail from Tärnaby, population approximately 1000, location 100km south of the Arctic Circle.

To the Swedes, and most ski racing enthusiasts, Stenmark is the most successful skier in history.

He won the World Cup slalom and giant slalom titles eight times each, two Olympic gold medals in 1980 - four years after winning Olympic bronze - and he dominated a record 86 World Cup races.

The feats of the 'Silent Swede' led to a mountain being named in his honour and Pärson, who throughout her life has been coached by her devoted father Anders, grew up skiing on the 'Ingemarbacken'.

It speaks volumes that even before winning Olympic gold, she was already skiing on the 'Anjabacken'.

The bigger picture might show that she has often played second fiddle to 24-year-old Croatian rival Janica Kostelic, who at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City dominated Pärson by winning three golds and one silver medal.

Kostelic added a fourth gold here, defending her combined crown and winning silver in the super-G.

In that time Pärson has responded by amassing 32 World Cup victories, two overall World Cup titles - arguably the biggest prize in alpine skiing - and adding to her maiden world championship crown in 2001 with another three titles.

Before the Games she also became one of the few skiers to win in all four World Cup disciplines - a feat that even Stenmark, for all his greatness, could not boast of.

Her concentration on the World Cup's crystal globe nevertheless had negative side effects.

Pärson admitted it took her focus off setting out to enjoy winning races, an ailment she remedied shortly before arriving at the Olympics.

She began here with a bronze in the downhill, won by Austria's Michaela Dorfmeister, and took another bronze in the combined behind Kostelic.

On Wednesday, Pärson's past caught up with her in the best way possible.

"I just wanted to find that look in my eye again, to go down the racehill like I did when I was young," she said.

With a golden glint in her eye, Pärson's determination did the rest. And another gold medal, perhaps in the women's giant slalom on Friday, is not out of the question.

But when it comes to being likened to Stenmark, the bubbly blond-haired Swede quickly becomes the youngster who skied so enthusiastically in and out of the slalom poles on the Ingemarbacken.

Story continues below…

"It's too big for me to tie Ingemar," she said shortly after speaking to Stenmark by telephone.

"He's my idol. I'm just a small girl from a small town in Sweden.

"Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe it's true."

But there may still be more to come.

"It's probably not over yet. Her chances of winning the giant slalom on Friday just grew monstrously. Kostelic will have to do battle with a blue-and-yellow King Kong," Svenska Dagbladet predicted.

Discuss this topic!


The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available