He has won World Championships and an Olympic title. In his only start in Swedish 90K ski marathon, the 1981 Vasaloppet, he took a long-awaited victory. Now Sven-Åke Lundbäck realize another dream in life: - Imagine being able to stand on your hands on The Great Wall of China, says 63-year-old before the trip to Vasaloppet China.
In 1981 Sven-Åke Lundbäck ended his highly successful skiing career. During his last season, in his first (and as it turned out even his last) start in Vasaloppet he won the race: ”After that I said, never again a no. bib,” says Lundbäck today. But he has continued to keep fit and has been exercising five times a week, and right now, since his home town Luleå is still missing natural snow, he goes jogging and working out in the gym. Then, on 2 January 2012, Lundbäck will to return to the ski race track, when he stands on the starting line for the 10th edition of Vasaloppet China, where he and his wife Lena Carlzon-Lundbäck will compete in the 16.7-kilometer race.
“It will be just enough. But my wife is more excited than I am for this.” How will it feel to compete again? ”Deadly, ha-ha… Although it is basically for fun, I still have the competition spirit in me. So this will be very interesting. And it will be amazing to experience China. I have never been there before and I have a dream of standing on my hands on the Great Wall of China. I have after all been a physical education teacher for many years,” says Lundbäck, who last summer left the school world, but without regret as he says himself, “I now have the world’s best job, house husband”.
Sven-Åke Lundbäck grew up in the northern Swedish province Norrbotten, in Töre, and decided at a young age that he wanted to become a cross-country skier: “I had a vivid dream and a vision that I wanted to succeed. It was the strong driving force and the hard work that paid off. And so I had a strong body engine. Well, to say the least. Sven-Åke Lundbäck amazed everyone when he run tests at the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences in Stockholm and scored a Vo2 Max of 93 (oxygen uptake rate in relation to body weight). No one, before or after has reached that level.
Moreover, to push or break boundaries is not unusual for Sven-Åke Lundbäck. 1981, he did his first and only start in Vasaloppet. And since then, all hundreds of thousands skiers who have taken up to intermediate control Oxberg, have been reminded of Lundbäck’s single Vasaloppet, when they struggle, swear and sweat their way up to Lundbäck’s Slopes: ”It is a bonus that the name still lives on. I am terribly proud. Previously, nobody had ever gone away from his competitors so early during the Vasaloppet race, but I did it, and I managed to retain the advantage until the finish line in Mora! In fact, my attack right there and then was no coincidence. I had to do something before we arrived in Mora. And once I got to the crest I just continued. Vasaloppet suited me fine. I am a tough bastard,” says Sven-Åke Lundbäck, who now helps and provides the skiers of Boden Ski Club with well prepared and waxed skies competitions around the country. Once again, he now has to wax his own race skies, and prepare for his second Vasaloppet, the Chinese one this time.
Article courtesy of Mårten Lång
Photo: Peter Lundback