Swedes set sights on ten Vancouver medals

Swedes set sights on ten Vancouver medals
Sweden has declared a target of ten medals at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver, despite a record haul of 14 in Turin four years ago.

“The team is not as strong as the team we sent to Turin, if you compare the season before the games,” said Swedish Olympic committee (SOK) director Stefan Lindeberg.

“Fourteen medals in Turin was an exceptional result. If we can reach ten in Vancouver, that will mean Sweden has established a new level in Olympic sport. So far we have only taken ten or more medals in three Winter Games.”

Lindeberg refused to name any potential medallists or give the number of gold medals Sweden was hoping to bring home, but did say of the men’s hockey team that their goal is gold.

Ice hockey coach Bengt-Aake Gustafsson announced a squad up of many veterans such as star Peter Forsberg, 36, Fredrik Modin, 34, and captain Niklas Lidström, 39.

But the squad, referred to as ‘three kronor’ after the Swedish national ‘three crowns’ symbol featured on its jersey, has not achieved exceptional results this year and some, including Forsberg and Modin, have spent many weeks on and off the bench since November because of injuries.

A number of commentators believe biathlete Helena Jonsson is a potential gold medallist. The world number one is still ahead in the World Cup after 14 of the 25 events in the 2009-2010 season.

The skiing duel between Anja Pärson and US rival Lindsey Vonn is widely-anticipated, but Vonn, the reigning world downhill and super-G champion, is ahead of her Swedish opponent in the World Cup.

Pärson still took a win in the super-combined event last week in St Moritz, proving she is willing to put up a fight.

On the men’s side, Nordic skiing could also bring medals thanks to Emil Jönsson, who recently won the men’s classic sprint in Otepaa, and Marcus Hellner, in third place in the World Cup after 21 of 31 events.

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