World Cup Overall Winner and Swedish Champion: a summary of the autumn season

As usual the autumn is super intense for the elite orienteers (maybe especially so for the swedes, since our domestic program with the Swedish Championships is quite demanding), and this year was no exception. The Swedish Championships in Hälsingland in September was great – really nice competitions in fantastic terrain, and I managed to find quite good shape (except for the relay, when my back cramped up really bad – luckily I have strong team mates to get a good position despite a below avarege performance from me) and win both the long and middle distance, getting a silver medal in the relay. Really happy whith my technical performances there, and that was enough to travel home with 2 individual gold medals!

I pretty much traveled straight from the Swedish Championships to Switzerland for another really intense World Cup round in Switzerland. Happy with my performances on the middle distance and knock out sprint (2 x 5th place), but those days were extremely tough on me, and the individual sprint wasn’t a great success. The races did however put me in a great position in the overall standings – more than a 100 point lead to the closest chaser (since Olav wasn’t racing the final round). Straight from that intense weekend to a tough WOC 2021 camp in Czech Republic – and after that I was ready for some rest…

The World Cup final was a strange trip. I did not enjoy my time in China that much, as the situation around the competitions was quite strange. Firstly, I was really hesitant to travel to China at all due to the political situation (you can read my thoughts on that here), but I decided that I would see this solely as a business trip and do what I could to win the Overall World Cup. I struggled to find much joy in all things surrounding the events, because I couldn’t shake the feeling of being part of a big propaganda machine. And that is not a good feeling. I am very happy with my middle distance performace, however, where I won my first World Cup race outside Scandinavia and secured the overall World Cup title for the first time (in fact, the first time for a swede since 1996 (!) – if you’re a man that is. The women have done it several times).

But I had difficulties enjoying that also, since it was all overshadowed by a protest circus regarding running in olive green areas – frankly, just because the map was not good enough. The rest of the days in China took a lot of energy, since we in the FOAC (IOF Foot Orienteering Athletes Comission) decided to channel all the energy (both positive and negative) among the athletes to give feedback to the IOF about, what we felt like, a sub-standard competition, and make something good out of it. And on top of that all the suspicion that arose after the extraordinary chinese results on the final sprint race (we may never now what really happened, but I find it very hard to believe that the results were achieved fair and square – especially after the obvious cheating from the chinese at the CISM Military World Games). All in all – not a very enjoyable trip!

I am, however, really heappy about winning the overall World Cup! I have been in the top for a few years, but I have never really been close to the overall victory – Mathias and Dani has been extremely strong the last decade, and to be able to break their dominance and win the title is a great way to close the season!

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