• Sweden's news in English

Handicapped Swede sets Alcatraz swim record

The Local/dl · 5 Sep 2011, 12:55

Published: 05 Sep 2011 12:55 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“I didn't think it was true that I won. Then I thought it was really amazing since they had actually laughed at me when I came here to compete,” the 45-year-old Olsson told TV4.

Olsson, a Paralympic gold medalist who is paralyzed from the waist down, was the first swimmer without functioning legs to enter the grueling competition.

Dubbed the “Swim with the Centurions”, the race entails swimming 2.6 kilometres in the rough and frigid waters of the San Francisco bay that separate the famed prison island from the mainland.

While Olsson described plying through the chilly 13 degree Celsius waters as “tough” he nevertheless managed to outclass hundreds of other swimmers who participated in the event, despite not having use of his legs.

Not only was Olsson's time of 24m32s enough to give him a four minute margin of victory over second place Kyle Winters, but it also set a new record for the 9-year-old Alcatraz Classic.

Following his stunning victory, Olsson was christened “The Swedish Torpedo” by his fellow competitors.

Olsson, who lost the use of his legs in the mid-1990s, was confined to a bed for five years battling depression and morphine addiction until he turned his life around in 2002, according to an account on his personal website.

Story continues below…

He has since competed in the Paralyimpics in 2004 and 2008, and been named Sweden's Handicapped Athlete of the year in 2008 and 2010.

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:40 September 5, 2011 by jeffi_in_denmark
Well done, Mr. Olsson! As a swim coach, I applaud your achievement. Well done.
14:53 September 5, 2011 by rise
Very impressive!
14:55 September 5, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Very well done. I have a friend in my country whom I taught to play tennis after she had won the marathon, half-marathon, 10,000 meters, 5,000 meters and 3,000 meters competitions. Now she plays quite well tennis and she has her own tennis school for handicapped children. That is a way of showing that there is nothing in the world you cannot achieve if you really want. Everything is a state of mind.
15:31 September 5, 2011 by jacquelinee
Awesome! What a great achievement.

Now, THERE is someone who really deserves to have their picture posted on " The Weekend's Finest" rather than a couple of drunk teenage girls making out.

Way to go Anders. What a great accomplishment and a great example of drive, committment and perseverence.
15:58 September 5, 2011 by k2kats
Congratulations, Anders!

Now if we can just change the headline to more accurately read "Disabled" rather than the perjorative "Handicapped." The only thing that is handicapping about a disability, is the attitude of individuals who are able bodied.
04:11 September 6, 2011 by MarkinBoston

There's no need to go negative on drunk teenage girls making out in order to make your point. ;-)
07:07 September 6, 2011 by karex
23:39 September 6, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ Mark #6

Not negative on drunk teenage girls, Negative that the Local. Week after endless week, in the "Highlights" section in the "Gallery" in "This Weekends Finest" are teenage girls, usually in some form of making out. While the girls are "fine", it is a bit insulting to Sweden actually to post the same thing week after week, when there are other people who have done very fine things, important things, valuable things to their communities, cities, the country, other than get drunk and kiss.

Take this man for example. Last weekend , he did an amazing thing. A "FINE" thing, one he and Sweden can be proud of. It was a huge achievement , a personal triumph and it says a lot for the Swedish spirit. He, and people like him deserve far more to be labeled as "This Weekends Finest" than the endless stream of pretty girls who have done nothing more than fix their hair and makeup, dress up, go out and get drunk enough to start making out with their friends.
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