Location: Olympic Stadium Athens
Sweden rules athletics
If you would characterize Sweden as a sport nation, you would probably mention typical winter sports first. In the national sport Ice hockey for example, Sweden has won 10 World titles! And Ingemar Stenmark was an icon in skiing. Snow and ice are what normally takes Sweden to the top of international sports.
Our thoughts were therefor not with Sweden that warm night in Athens. We arrived early at the Olympic Stadium. Transport was exemplary during our stay in Athens. The Games were back in town and did not disappoint us in any way! And this evening in august would confirm the magic of the Games. As a nation you always have moments in history that are collectively cherished. For the Netherlands the volleyball team that won gold in Atlanta was chosen thé sport moment of the 20st century. After this night we would for sure know what sport moments will be mentioned when we ask Swedish friends.
A triple Crowning
Sweden won 4 golden medals in Athens’04. Three of those were won in one night at the Olympic theatre. Gold had never a more yellow shining. Who were the crowned Swedish that night?
1)Christian Olsson – triple jump
He was on top of the world that year. Prior to the Games he had matched the world record with a jump of 17.83m. In the final in Athens he was in his own league. Four out of his six jumps were further than the silver medallist. And with his Olympic title he had all major titles in his possession; Olympic, World indoor, World outdoor, European in- and outdoor champion! Unprecedented!
2)Stefan Holm – high jump
The final of the high jump was fantastic. Although Holm was the reigning indoor world champion (2013) the competition that night was incredibly close. Holm missed two attempts at 2.34 where others succeeded in one go (Hemingway (USA) and Bába (Czech). Stefan decides then to go for 2.36 for his final attempt. He never jumped that high. But that night in Athens nothing could go wrong for Sweden. With a personal best of 2.36 he won his only Olympic golden medal
3) Caroline Klüft – pentathlon
Klüft was the queen of the Heptathlon in the period 2003-2007. She is the only athlete to have won three consecutive world titles in the discipline where often injuries prevent a run like that. Caroline was quickly in the lead and won comfortably the third Swedish crown of the night. Seeing all athletes crumbling to the ground after the last event, the 800m, Klüft helped many to their feet again. She took all athletes along in her lap of honour. Great sport(wo)manship and a great proof of the respect between rivalries in this historical Olympic event.
There were quite some Swedish fans in the stands, hoping for one gold. It must have felt like passing your exams on your birthday and winning the lottery! Drunk from happiness we saw the Swedish wonder of in the hot Athens night. We joined in. Winter was never farther away!