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Ten Most Memorable Moments of 2014

2015-01-25

After a number of people have asked me what was the best memory of the win in Greece. The answer is maybe not that obvious. Anyway, it inspired me to do a top 10 list of memorable events of last year.

10. Joining a half marathon in a suit

2014-10-18, Thessaloniki, Greece

After the medal ceremony, we were a bit keen on exploring the Thessaloniki night life. To our surprise, there was a Half Marathon race taking place and also blocking our way. With little hesitation we jumped over the ropes and joined in for a kilometer, before continuing on our quest. Must have been a funny sight though to see eight people in blazer, shirt, tie and dress shoes all running in the long distance running race =)

9. Gaining a Spanish brother

2014-10-16 – Thessaloniki, Greece

For me, Lars Gumprecht, was my toughest competitor in Greece and perhaps I was his. (He being the reining World Champion and I being the WC-Bronze Medalist). Despite this, we hanged out as great friends, helped each other continuously, even discussed different tactics and weather conditions. I found this very unique and an example of true sportsmanship. To me, Lars is my brother 

8. Getting my heart problems back

2014-09-28 - Torrevieja Spain

I had suspected it for some time but I wouldn´t admit it to myself. But when I had to cancel the final of the Spanish Championships half way through the final, I couldn´t ignore that fact that my heart problems had come back. The paramedics on site wanted to send me to hospital by ambulance, but I assured them that I would be ok (although I had to go to the hospital a few days later).  It felt like a heavy blow since I struggled with heart problems for years before undergoing surgery in 2011. Now, I couldn´t ignore it, my heart problems were back

7. Getting back in the Saddle

2014-09-29 – 2014-10-02 – Helsingborg, Sweden

Once getting back to Sweden from the Spanish Championships I noticed that the symptoms with erratic pulse were still present. Since there´s a risk of getting blot clot and stroke if you have erratic pulse for more than 24h (and I had it for 48hours and counting) I had to go to the hospital and get a blod thinning shot and the next day I would return for an electric shot by a defibrillator. Discussed with my heart surgeon that I can maybe avoid some triggers, which might be a short term solution (although, I did not mention that I would still try and go to the World Champs). I estimated my chances of going to Greece to 5%, but I would do everything to see if was possible. I went directly from the hospital to my gym to do the first test on the crosstrainer. Went fine. Next day. Weight lifting session in the morning. Then in the afternoon: the toughest session I would do before the championship. 10x4min (1min rest) in race pace. I wanted to get back in the saddle as soon as possible to avoid any mental issues, such as not daring to give 100%. I also wanted to see if my heart could take it and I wanted to see if I´m still fast enough to fight for the medals. I got a positive answer on all three.

6. Keeping an old promise

March 1999 – Falkenberg, Sweden / 2014-10-22 – Marieholm, Sweden

When I was 17 during one of our many early, freezing, spring training sessions in Falkenberg I was amazed of our coach, Bengt "Spik" Nilsson, who sat in the motor boat beside us pushing us on in appalling conditions. He didn´t endure it for the money or for the fame. He did it for the love of rowing. I promised myself I would ever would win a World Championship, I would give my medal to him in a heart beat. So when I finally got the chance to keep a 15 year old promise it felt very special.

5. Singing the National Anthem (with friends)

2014-10-18, Thessaloniki, Greece

As I had received my Gold Medal at the Medal Ceremony, it was time to sing the Swedish National Anthem. A childhood dream come true. As a started to sing, I could hear to my surprise and great joy, the seven other Swedish rowers singing too. I could see people in the crowed turning their heads to see just what was going on. A memory I will never forget. Thanks guys!

4. Getting a pink boat control wrist band

2014-10-18, Thessaloniki, Greece

When mom died last year I wore a bright pink arm band (her favorite color being pink) in her memory for every competition for one year. At the flower ceremony at the World Championship in Helsingborg that year, I received a flower which amazingly also was in bright pink. I raised it towards the sky.

When I received my boat control wrist band for the A-final of the championship in Greece, I noticed that it was not in the usual green color. It was in bright pink. I thought of mom and thought it would be nice to have her with me again for one final race.

3. Getting a hug from an old friend

2014-10-18, Thessaloniki, Greece

As I stumbled out of the boat after the A-final in Greece, I was both in an euphoric high and somewhat disbelief. One of the first persons to give my a great big hug was my old friend and training partner, Nils-Peter, almost tearing up how happy he was for me. For the first time I got overwhelmed and I was so happy that Nils-Peter, the person who has been my sparring partner as well as role model and great friend for so many years, was there to share this moment.

2. Crossing the finish line

2014-10-18, Thessaloniki, Greece

People have asked me how it felt to cross the finish line. Honestly, I have no good answer. It felt so real and yet so unreal at the same time. I had imagined it for so many times, during hard sessions, during my heart problems, always pushing myself to make it a reality. If you were to put happiness on a scale, I hit the absolute maximum. I wanted to be three times as happy but I couldn´t. Weird feeling, but also perhaps one of the best feelings I´ve ever had in all my life.

1. Calling dad

2014-10-18, Thessaloniki, Greece

As the doping control wanted to take me away to do their mandatory tests after the final race last Saturday, I said: "Hold on, I got to call my dad!". When I reached you I tried to play it cool... asking you about the weather....if you were to play golf later that day...before you burst out: "Jesus son, how did the World Championship go?"

I replied: "Nah...I won..."

When I heard you scream of joy and how happy it made you, I got so overwhelmed I could barely say anything else during the call.

During the last 18 months, since mom past away, I think we both have shed more tears than previously in both lives accumulated. In this moment however, for the first time in a very long time, it was tears of joy