Olympic hero Sven-Åke Lundbäck snubbed Börje Salming himself for the prestigious award: “Of course you will be proud”

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Sven-Åke Lundbäck is one of our biggest skiing heroes ever.
And up in Norrland, he is even bigger than Börje Salming himself.
– It is clear that it is big, especially considering who is second, says the icon to Sportbibeln.

There are few Swedish skiers in history who can measure up Sven-Åke Lundbäck. During the 1970s, Norrbotten from Töre dominated the skiing world and won everything that can be won both in Sweden and outside the world.

Olympic & WC gold

Lundbäck won about ten SM golds, the World Cup in cross-country skiing and the World Cup in long-distance skiing, Swedish victory in the classic World Cup race in Holmenkollen and also the Vasaloppet in 1981. The big medals are of course the Olympic gold in Sapporo in 1972 and the double World Cup gold in Lahti in 1978 , in the relay and the five-mile.

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© SCANPIX SWEDEN, 20010228, Photo: Stefan Lindblom/SCANPIX SCANPIX code 20360 ***ARCHIVE IMAGE*** Sven-åke Lundbäck

The successful skiing career then ended in 1981 and today the 74-year-old lives the quiet retired life. When he himself gets to look back to his glory days, it is above all a victory that warms an old man’s heart even more.
– I always come back to the Vasaloppet. To become world champion and Olympic champion, that’s perfectly fine. But the Vasaloppet is something special, I had never ridden it and had a chance to do it. I just wanted to be able to ride it and then say “thank you for me”, says Sven-Åke in an interview with Sportbibeln.
– So I rank that highest, then after that comes the WC gold and the Olympic gold in third place. I still think the Vasaloppet weighs the most, nobody thought I would win, but I knew exactly where to go from my competitors. They couldn’t beat me, they didn’t keep up. It might be a bit original, everyone would say that an Olympic gold weighs the most, but we should protect our Vasalopp, I think.

READ MORE: This is how Sven-Åke Lundbäck lives 45 years after the success – his own words about Thomas Wassberg’s protest: “He didn’t want…”

Snuvar Salming

The legendary Lundbäck left a big mark on the Vasaloppet and is still today the only one to have his own hill named after him on the Vasaloppet stretch. At Oxberg you will find the sign for “Lundbäcksbackarna”.
– I am very proud of that. It was the last thing I did in my career, and now it’s a new sign that was inaugurated two years ago. I got the old sign, and it’s hanging in my garage right now above my bullpen. It fits very well there and it will stay there, says a very satisfied Sven-Åke Lundbäck.

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ARCHIVE 1975 Tre Kronor’s Börje Salming sits in the substitution booth during an ice hockey match with the Swedish national ice hockey team in 1975. Photo: Leif R Jansson / SCANPIX / Code: 50020

Another prestigious award was given to the Swedish skiing icon in 2011 when the local newspaper Norrbottens-Kuriren named all of Norrbotten the greatest athlete of all time. On the prestigious top list with 150 names, we find sporting heroes such as Charlotte Kalla, Jan Boklöv, Tomas Holmström, Pekka Lindmark and Stig Strand.

READ MORE: The legendary Sven-Åke Lundbäck’s concern for the national skiing team – harsh words about the Swedish stars: “It looks poor”

Kiruna’s pride and the deceased Börje Salming comes in a strong second place but is snubbed for the title as Norrbotten’s best ever by Sven-Åke Lundbäck. An incredibly nice recognition for the skier who during his career was named Sportsman of the Year in Norrbotten nine years in a row.
– I have almost forgotten that. But it’s clearly big, especially considering who’s second on that list. He (Börje Salming) was with 1972 in Sapporo during the Olympics, then we were there together. It is clear that you become proud of such things. If you look at what kind of dreams you had once upon a time, and then when you look back on it and think: “Damn it, everything fell into place”, says Lundbäck to Sportbibeln.

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