The Five: Swedish Women to Watch in the OlympicsApril 15, 2016
The 2016 Summer Olympics are just around the corner.
While teams aren’t finalized – athletes are in the midst of qualifying to represent their countries – here are five women we expect to make some noise in Rio.
A freestyle and butterfly specialist, there are high hopes for Sjöström to medal and even win in both those events. Most recently, she won five medals – including gold medals in the 50 and 100 meter butterfly – at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships. In addition, she holds the world record in the 50 meter fly (long course) with a dominating time of 24.43 seconds.
Nordén ended up on the short end of a photo finish that gave Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig the gold and the Swedish triathlete the silver in London. She’ll be looking to rectify that in Rio. Nordén also holds two gold, one silver and one bronze medals from the world championships. To add to her achievements, she was honored with Jerringpriset (or Jerring Prize) in 2012, the national prize for best sports performance of the year.
Born in Sollefteå, Johansson is only the second Swedish cyclist to have worn the UCI World Cup leader jersey. This incredible achievement is backed by a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 in the women’s Road Race, and she finished sixth in the same event at the London Olympics in 2012. More recent, Johansson finished second in the Road Race at the UCI Road World Championships in Toscana in 2013 and third at the 2014 Worlds in Ponferrada.
Born in Gällivare, Mattsson has appeared in the past two Olympics, placing 12th in 2008 and seventh in 2012. Not to be confused with a Swedish model of the same name, Mattsson has won 11 Swedish National Championships and is regarded as one of the top women’s freestyle wrestlers in the world.
Although part of a team (women’s soccer), one of Sweden’s favorite athletes is one to watch. A panel of espnW voters ranked Schelin the fifth-best player in the 2015 World Cup but noted that unlike the top four (Marta, Alex Morgan, Vero Boquete and Christine Sinclair), Schelin hasn’t had a lot of exposure in North America. That could change as “L8,” as she is known, shoots for a medal in what’s expected to be her last pass at the Olympics.