Day 10; I stands for Ingemar Stenmark – “it’s only to go”
“I do not know anything about luck,
just that the more I practice the luckier I am”
I dare to say the Ingemar Stenmark and Björn Borg is the biggest sport superstars Sweden has produced, we had and we still have some megastars in ice hockey in both US and Canada. And we had a couple of good golfers. But this is all going to be about Ingemar.
Jan Ingemar Stenmark, born March 18, 1956 in Joesjö close to Tärnaby, one of Sweden’s best ski resorts – at 5 years of age he hit the sloops for the first time. He are told to be is one of history’s foremost skiers with a total of two Olympic gold medals, five World Championship gold medals and 86 World Cup victories in the disciplines of slalom and giant slalom.
17 December 1974 did he win his first World Cup victory in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, only 18 years old. A couple of time he tried downhill – but it was it’s really his thing , but he tricked it and during his career a podium finish in a combined event, which included downhill momentum. This happened in Kitzbühel 1981st Otherwise; a 5th place in the Super G from Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1984 was the best individual performance in a speed discipline.
Ingemar won the World Cup three times in succession, the seasons 75/76, 76/77 and 77/78. Season 1978/79 was the biggest season with most wins – when he won thirteen races. He won including all ten giant slalom competitions.
When Ingemar was racing Sweden stood still – doesn’t matter where we was – we all watch him – his career had a major impact on people’s everyday lives. When he raced it stopped work at workplaces, schools rolled television into the classroom and in the cities, people gathered on the streets of your nearest TV dealer. Streets where empty everywhere. Ingemar was magic to watch, he could be down on 3-6 place after the first run and after the finale run he was the winner. Nobody could pick up speed and had so ice cold nerves as Ingemar had, he was so focused and collective.
Ingemars knitted beanies became a fashion – and he had them in many different color combinations. He put the little company on the map and today still a well known brand, Sätlia of Sweden, knitted in Sweden since 1896. The beanies that keps superstars and us others warm.
OS and WC
Winter Olympics 1976 – bronze in giant slalom
Alpine World Ski Championships 1978 – Gold in Slalom and Giant Slalom
Winter Olympics 1980 – Gold in Slalom and Giant Slalom
Alpine World Ski Championships 1982 – Gold in the downhill and silver in giant slalom
Alpine World Cup – 46 wins in the giant slalom, 40 victories in slalom.
*Olympic gold count under FIS official also as World Championships.
He did in total:
231 – Alpine World Cup Races
86 – Victories
43 – Other Places
26 – Third Places
26 – Races in which he was less than a tenth or break contest
In the World Cup 1989 in Vail, he made his last major championship and finished sixth in the giant slalom race. It was also in giant slalom skier Ingemar took his last World Cup victory, it was done in Aspen 1989th At the end of his career was Ingemar not quite as successful, but in the Olympics in Calgary, he was fastest of all in the second run in the slalom, even faster than the winner Alberto Tomba from Italy.
Ingemar moved to Monaco in the middle of the 1980’s to escape the taxman – but lives now outside Stockholm. He works as spokesman and product developer for the ski brand Elan. He was one of they many Swedish survivors of the Tsunami in 2004 when he was on holiday with his family – they all made themselves safe through calming high very fast. A catastrophe that hit Sweden hard with 543 deaths and about 1,500 injured. Personal I lost 3 friends.
Ingemar has been married twice and divorced twice, today living with his partner Tarja and they have a daughter. Ingemar also has daughter with his first wife. He lives a very private and sheltered life outside Stockholm.
Nobody before or after has given us Swede such an amazing thrill … as Ingemar did.
In the millennium, he was appointed Sweden’s second best athlete of all time by the Swedish Sports Academy, after Björn Borg.
Still Ingemar is very much competitive – he as been in a couple TV series where “old” athletes has competed against each others – he has won everything so fare, doesn’t matter what kind of sport it has been.
Have never been a sport fan as such – but I would love to have those days back … when Ingemar and Björn ruled the world, Ingemar in winter and Björn in the Summer. Those was magical years – time stood still when they were in action, especially during Ingemar’s second run.
Photos provided by and thanks to:
Gallery 1; sverigesradio.se/fanbase.com/live2times.com/snowclub.gr/
Gallery 2; satila.com/folkbladet.se/chottomite.com
Feature photo; chinadaily.com.cn