Stockholm was recently announced as the host for the sixth round of the ITU World Triathlon Series and today the Swedish Triathlon Federation launched the event at the press conference in Stockholm. And when it comes to the matter of triathlon and Sweden, who immediately springs to mind but Lisa Norden.
Those competing in Stockholm for the first time are in for a treat in this charming city, the central part of which consists of fourteen islands on the south-central east coast of Sweden. Norden, a regular on the ITU world series since 2003, believes the city provides an ideal location for one of the biggest events on the ITU calendar.
“I’m always blown away by how easy it is to get out in the trails even being downtown Stockholm. The city is surrounded by water and has many parks and trails providing excellent walking and running routes” said Norden, who is currently in Mooloolaba for this weekend’s World Cup opener.
“The city really comes to life in summer, knowing it’s only there for a limited time, Swedes tend to make the most of it. It’s also a breathtakingly beautiful city, so training there is a real pleasure.”
In a country where winter temperatures drop well below zero, Norden avoids the freezing months by training at home for the mild European summer then leaving for Australia as temperatures dip in Sweden, but is thrilled by the involvement of Stockholm in the 2012 series and what it means for triathlon in the area.
“I’m super excited for the fact this race will raise a lot media interest and coverage for the sport,” said Norden. “Triathlon is a sport that is slowly growing back home, and an event like this could potentially work like wood on the fire. I’d love to see full age group races and lots of first timers out there racing with us.”
Norden recalls the sweet feeling of sharing her first World Cup podium with reigning Olympic champion Emma Snowsill and Olympic silver medallist Vanessa Fernandes at the 2008 Mooloolaba BG Triathlon World Cup. Since then Norden has been no stranger to the world series podium, but has yet to have the experience of a home crowd.
“It’s going to be amazing to have the benefit of racing at home,” said Norden. “To know the place, the language and a lot of people in the crowd. It’s also a bit nerve wrecking that way and will be one of the more important races for me this year.”
Norden describes Stockholm as a clean, friendly beautiful city with lots of very, very tall people. So, for those triathletes looking for ways to spend their down-time, Norden offers up her knowledge on how to taste the Swedish culture and bereft of growing 5 inches, how to fit in with the locals.
“The old town of Stockholm is very picturesque and definitely worthwhile to take some time to explore. Public transport is great and you can get to pretty much everywhere in the city with the tube. We love to eat pickled herring for breakfast (...) and everyone should take an afternoon at a bakery for a true ‘fika’ experience. This is pretty much an afternoon brew with a cinnamon roll (kanelbulle) and a lot of talking.
“Swedes might seem reserved at first, but we do love coffee and talking.”
It has been a long time since ITU has been in Stockholm. Fifteen years to be precise when the city held the 1997 Stockholm ITU Triathlon World Cup. At that time ITU was only nine years old and yet to make its Olympic debut which came in Sydney 2000. It is astounding to look back over this relatively short period of time and to see just how much triathlon has evolved.
Thanks to the ITU’s tireless efforts, this development has stretched to the four corners of the globe. While it is clear that the Nordic nations have had an understandable domineering presence within the winter triathlon circuit, triathlon has been steadily building in the region since 1990 leading all the way up to the 25-26 August 2012 Stockholm weekend of racing, which will include the crowd pleasing ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships.
Stockholm will host an ITU event for the first time since 1997 after ITU today announced the Swedish capital replaces Lausanne in the 2012 ITU World Triathlon Series.
Come along for a ride on Lisa Norden's bike with highlights from the camera mounted on her bike during the Madrid race.