Discus thrower Axel HÃ¤rstedt, SWE; Photo: Deca Text & Bild
Our friend from Sweden, Jonas Hedman writes a column nearly every day on the Rio Olympics with a view from Scandinavia!
Running, jumping and throwing in the light of De Coubertinâ€¨â€¨
Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937) is considered the father of the modern Olympic Games introduced in Athens, Greece, in 1896. For him the Games was much more than just winning medals and he expressed his ideal in words that have become classic and also have a deeper meaning: “The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
“â€¨â€¨Most of the athletes competing at the Rio Olympics will not win or reach the podium or evan make it to the final, and for them it’s maybe even more important to remember Coubertin’s word and enjoy the moment when the World’s best athletes are gathering. Two good examples of this come from Sweden – discus thrower Axel HÃ¤rstedt, 29, and steeplechase runner Charlotta Fougberg, 31.â€¨HÃ¤rstedt threw 66.03 in Sweden on 11 July which was a personal best with more than a meter and came on the very last day of the qualfication period! A few days later he became one of the last members of the Swedish team! â€¨In Rio he threw 63.58 in the first round and qualified for the final in his Olympic debut. The day after he finished tenth with 62.12, only 32 centimeters from top-8.â€¨â€¨
“I’ve been dreaming about this all my life
“â€¨One may think he would have been disappointed since he missed out on another three throws which such a short margin, but that was not the case.â€¨”I am very satisfied with my performance and proud of what I have done and to represent Sweden. My goal for this season was to qualify for the Olympics and when I did that I realized a dream I have had all my life”, said HÃ¤rstedt.â€¨”Since I already had completed my goal when I arrived to Rio I had nothing to worry about and was able to throw relaxed. The final was just a bonus and it was an amazing feeling throwing with the best in the Olympic stadium! When I was done I sat down and watched the rest of the final which was great action!”says HÃ¤rstedt and by just looking at him you understood that he enjoyed every moment.â€¨â€¨
Small margins, that’s sportâ€¨
In the women’s steeplechase heat on Saturday Swedish record holder and 2014 European championship silver medallist Charlotta Fougberg was one of four Scandinavians. Just like HÃ¤rstedt she made her Olympic debut and finished eight in her heat in 9:31.16, her fourth best time ever behind her national record of 9:23.96.â€¨A nervous waiting followed until the other two heats were completed and Fougberg got the verdict: “You missed the final with 0.62 seconds”.â€¨Was she sad? Dissapointed?â€¨”It was magic running in the Olympic stadium!” I did everything I could and was just one second shy of my season best, and I enjoyed every second down there! I wanted to have ran a little faster but I did my best and there were some girls that were faster”, said Fougberg.â€¨
After the last heat she was interviewd again knowing she did not advance:â€¨”It didn’t happen this time but hopefully it will in Tokyo in 2020! I’ll be back!”
New European junior recordâ€¨
The steeplechase heats included one athlete from each of the four Scandinavian countries Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. Norway’s Ingeborg LÃ¸vnes ran 9:44.85, just a second short of her personal best, and Finland’s Sandra Eriksson 9:56.77 which was a big disappointment since her season best was 9:31.88.â€¨In the last heat 19-year-old Anna Emilie MÃ¸ller from Denmark took place and ran the race of her life. She came to Rio with a personal best of 9:41.43 and now kept her sixth place in the race all the way and lowered her Danish record with 8.5 seconds to 9:32.68.â€¨Just like Charlotta Fougberg she missed the final with a small margin (two seconds in this case) but she got a reward anyway – a new European junior record! The old one belonged to Germany’s Gesa Felicitas Krause who ran 9:32.74 in 2011 and qualified for the final in Rio in heat 1!â€¨The Olympics is special in a lot of aspects – it’s about winning medals but it’s also about enjoying the moment and get memories for life. â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨