SHARE
COPY LINK
SWEDE OF THE WEEK

OLYMPICS

Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla takes second Sochi silver

Swedish skier Charlotte Kalla won a silver medal in the ladies 10 kilometre cross country classic on Thursday, her second at the Sochi Winter Olympics, making her The Local's Swede of the Week.

Sweden's Charlotte Kalla takes second Sochi silver
Sweden's Charlotte Kalla lies on the snow after winning the silver. Photo: AP
 
Charlotte Kalla, 26, came second in Thursday's event to bring home Sweden's fourth silver medal of the games, and fifth medal overall. 
 
The Swede collapsed face down after the race in exhaustion.
 
"It was tiring today, it hardly felt like I had the speed to steer on the slopes," she told TV3 after the race. 
 
 
"It was hard to imagine that it would have been enough to to get up on the podium."
 
The weather on the slopes was more balmy than many had anticipated, with the 13C temperatures enough to see many competitors stripping down to their T-shirts.

 
But warm weather was no match for the gold medal winner, Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk, who beat the Swede by a whopping 18.4 seconds. Bronze went to Norway's Therese Johaug. 

But it was Kalla who was the hero for the Swedish public on Thursday, and her silver marked her second at Sochi, after Saturday's 7.5 kilometre classic. It also makes her the most successful Swede at the games this year.

But Kalla is no stranger to the Olympic podium. In Vancouver, back in 2010, Kalla won the gold in the 10 km freestyle ski and took home a silver in the team sprint.

The 26-year-old, whose full name is Marina Charlotte Kalla and who is of Finnish heritage, has been skiing since the age of seven when she first took to the slopes in Tärendö in far northern Sweden, where she was born and raised.

On her personal blog, Kalla says that she "is living her dream to have the fortune to spend all my time on sport skiing".

Editor's Note: The Local's Swede of the Week is someone in the news who – for good or ill – has revealed something interesting about the country. Being selected as Swede of the Week is not necessarily an endorsement.

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

STOCKHOLM

The year Sweden organized the Olympics and defied expectations

Stockholm Olympic Stadium defied those who said Sweden wasn't advanced enough to host the Olympic Games in 1912, and has survived to become the world's oldest Olympic stadium actively in use.

The year Sweden organized the Olympics and defied expectations
Stockholm's Olympic Stadium as it used to look. Photo: Bertil Norberg/TT

This article was written for Members of The Local. Read more articles for Members here.

Taking inspiration from the medieval city wall of Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland, Swedish architect and athlete Torben Grut designed a stadium for the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm that would stand as a fortress of athleticism.

His success was both immediate and enduring, and the now-historic stadium has lived up to its impressive façade for more than a century, hosting countless sporting and cultural events, witnessing more than 80 athletic world records, surviving a bombing, and simply reminding the world of its important place in Olympic history.

Initially, however, the outlook for both the stadium and the Stockholm Olympics – the fifth modern Olympic games – was far from promising. As historian Therese Nordlund Edvinsson wrote in a 2014 article in The International Journal of the History of Sport, despite Sweden's “modest ambitions” for the games, “critics argued that the country was too undeveloped to arrange a major sport event”.

READ ALSO:


Djurgården versus AIK in 1915 at Stockholm Stadium. Photo: TT

The original plan for the stadium was an accordingly modest – and temporary – whitewashed wooden structure. The decision to make it permanent was likely a relief to Grut, whose other designs included Solliden Palace, the summer residence of the Swedish royal family on the island of Öland. Though still relatively small, with an original seating capacity of around 20,000, the completed stadium became a model for subsequent Olympic stadiums. Likewise, and in defiance of the critics, the Stockholm Olympic Games were considered a great success.  

In a 2012 article entitled, “Stockholm 1912 set the gold standard for the modern Olympics,” in the British newspaper The Guardian, sports journalist Frank Keating wrote, “Stockholm's 1912 Games are still considered standard-setting for Olympic decades to come. Women's competition was allowed for swimming and diving, while men's boxing was banned: and on the track photo-finish electronic-timing was introduced as a back-up to the hand-held judges' stopwatch.” It was also, he explained, “the last Olympics where any individual could just turn up and hope to enter a competition”.

MORE HISTORY FEATURES BY VICTORIA MARTÍNEZ:


One of the numerous concerts organized at the Stockholm Stadium. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Over the years, the appearance of Stockholm Olympic Stadium has changed little, and the seating capacity has even been reduced. In 2011 and 2012, the stadium underwent its only major renovation in preparation for its centenary. Nonetheless, it has been an incredibly adaptable venue, serving for many years as home to Swedish football team Djurgårdens IF, and accommodating a wide variety of sporting and cultural events – from ice hockey to American football and from Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti to Swedish DJ Avicii. It is also where the Stockholm Marathon ends each year.

The stadium has also maintained a long and at times somewhat chequered connection to the Olympic Games. In 1956, for instance, the equestrian events of the Summer Olympics taking place in Melbourne, Australia, were hosted some 15,000 kilometres away in Stockholm Olympic Stadium due to animal quarantine restrictions in Australia. And in August 1997, as Stockholm vied to host the 2004 Summer Olympics, the stadium was one of several sites in Sweden bombed or set alight by Swedish far-right extremists opposed to Sweden hosting the games.

READ ALSO: Polls suggest Italians much more enthusiastic about Olympic bid than Swedes

Although modern stadiums designed or used for the Summer Olympics now typically seat three to four times more people than Stockholm Olympic Stadium did in 1912, the historic venue still has a chance of returning to its Olympic origins. If Stockholm-Åre is selected to host the Winter Olympics in 2026, the snowboarding competitions are slated to take place in the landmark stadium, neatly tying together 114 years of Olympic history.

Victoria Martínez is an American historical researcher, writer and author of three historical non-fiction books. She lives in Småland county, Sweden, with her Spanish husband and their two children.

SHOW COMMENTS