Bergqvist Swedish ”Athlete Of The Year”
A Lennart Julin for the IAAF
30 December 2001 - For the second year in a row high jumper Kajsa Bergqvist heads the traditional yearly “Top 10”-list of Swedish athletics.
But the victory was far from clear-cut as Swedish athletics - measured by the outcome of the major international championships - in 2001 experienced its best year for well over a quarter of a century.
Kajsa’s fiercest competition for the top honour came from male high jump colleague Stefan Holm, who just like Kajsa was crowned World Indoor Champion in Lisbon, and from triple jump sensation Christian Olsson, who this past summer burst right out of “anonymity” into the No 2 postion in the world behind legend Jonathan Edwards.
What finally proved decisive in Kajsa’s favour was that she managed to medal at the World Championships both indoors (gold) and outdoors (bronze). Stefan added a 5th place outdoors to his indoor gold while outdoor silver medallist Christian did not compete in Lisbon.
That Sweden more than ever before is a nation of jumpers is proven by the fact that the top-4 places as well as positions No 8, 9 and 10 are all occupied by jumpers. Two hurdlers and a 400m-runner fill the spots in between, so the middle- and long distances, the throws and the combined events miss out completely.
The top-10 list of 2001 as a whole is probably also the most youthful since the concept was created in 1973: Only one athlete over the age of 25 and no athlete remaining from the pre-1997 lists. Something that hopefully indicates that the best is yet to come ….
The Swedish top-10 of 2001:
1) Kajsa Bergqvist (HJ), 2) Stefan Holm (HJ), 3) Christian Olsson (TJ), 4) Staffan Strand (HJ), 5) Robert Kronberg (60mH/110mH), 6) Susanna Kallur (100mH), 7) Jimisola Laursen (400m), 8) Patrik Kristiansson (PV), 9) Martin Eriksson (PV), 10) Camilla Johansson (TJ).