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The Swedish Stars of the soccer World Championships '94

The Most Popular Sports

Within the ball sports, such as; football (soccer), handball, basketball, American football as well as Frisbee, bandy, and Ice hockey there are series, divisions and qualification games. The teams at the bottom of the series, start off their next season in the series below.

Football (soccer)

As a result of a nationwide interest in football, and all the korp teams, leagues and divisions it has, Sweden has produced numbers of top players over the years.

IFK- Göteborg is the most internationally successful team over the last 15 years, with two wins in one of the major European Cups, the UEFA Cup.

The National Football Team has had a few international victories with a gold medal in the Olympic Games in 1948, with the most renowned players being Gunnar Gren, Gunnar Nordahl and Nils Liedholm. A silver medal was again awarded in 1958 in the World Championships, and a third place, i.e., Bronze medal, in the World Championship in 1994, with only Italy and Brazil ahead of the Swedish team. Added to this, the Swedish player Thomas Brolin was voted into the world-team. He is today a professional player in the Italian team Parma. The goalkeeper from IFK Göteborg, Thomas Ravelli, was voted the second best goalkeeper in the world. He is, in addition, the player in a Swedish team who has played the most international matches. They were 117 including the World Championship in 1994.

As far as the ladies teams are concerned, there are the divisions I and II, and then there are the III, and IV, in turn divided into A as well as B groups, and, lastly, there is only one division V.

Ice hockey

The Swedish Ice hockey team, Tre Kronor has won one gold medal in 1994, in the Olympics and they have six titles in the World Championships; in 1953, 1957, 1962, 1987, 1991 and 1992.

Ice hockey has always been a very popular sport in Sweden, both as far as the players are concerned, as well as viewers. The broad base for recruitment lies in the many hockey-clubs all over the country. Every boy has on one occasion or another, tried to play Ice hockey.

The series in Swedish hockey is divided into an elite series including twelve teams, from Malmö in the south to Luleå in the North. The All Swedish league comprising the best teams in division I, and then there are the Divisions II down to IV, in some places even more, depending on how many teams there are. When every team in the elite series has met twice, the two lowest ranked teams are out of the elite series, and pushed down to the All Swedish series. Thus, there are ten teams to play for the eight top places. Each team meets all of the others twice, until eight teams are left. These eight teams play to win the Swedish Cup.

As far as the ladies teams are concerned, the World Championships were initiated in 1990 and now take place every second year.

Bandy - the fastest team sport in the world


This ball game on ice was introduced in Sweden in 1894. Notwithstanding this, the game is nowadays confined to: the Nordic countries, Russia, Netherlands, North America, and Hungary. The World Championships were introduced in 1957, and since then Sweden has taken five titles.

The game as such includes eleven players in each team, plus three substitutes. The playing ground should be on ice, measuring 90-110 metres in length, shielded by a 15 centimetre high wooden fence. The playground measures 45-65m in width, and the goals are to be 3,5 metres in width and 2,1 in height. The kernel of the ball is made out of cork which is enclosed in red cord, and is not to be larger than 6 centimetres in diameter; it has to have a weight of 58-62 grams. The wooden club, which is not to be more than 120 centimetres long, with a bend of a maximum of six centimetres in width including the wrap. The goalkeeper does not have a club. The game is played 2x45 minutes. Noteworthy is that the rules pretty much resemble those in football. Due to the large number of teams there is an elite series, and a division system also within this sport.


Another broadly anchored sport in Sweden is athletics. To be able to participate in advanced training in athletics, one can join a club almost anywhere. The sport is very popular all the way from the north to the south. Most clubs accept youngsters from 10 years of age, seldom younger, rather they should be 11 to 12 years of age. At this age the youngsters try out all the various styles in athletics, and when they are about 15 years of age they will specialise in one or two events.

Athletics, being perhaps the toughest sport to succeed in internationally Sweden can still point to some victories after the 60s. Anders Gärderud's classic win, in the steeplechase at the Olympics at Montreal 1976, is probably the most recognised. In 1980, Linda Haglund was 4th in the 100m in the Moscow Olympics. In 1982, Ann-Louise Skoglund won the European championships in 400 m hurdles, and in 1984, Patrik Sjöberg won silver in the high jump at the Los Angeles Olympics, In '87 he became world champion and in '88 he was third in the Seoul Olympics.

World records held by Swedes in the last 20 years are: There is a circuit for international athletes called the Swedish Grand Prix every summer. Points are accumulated during several meets and the total winner is decided at the Grand Prix final at the end of the summer. The largest international meet is the DN-Galan, held in July each year, which is a part of the European Grand Prix Tour attracting the very best in the sport.


This sport is increasing in popularity all over the world, but is still dominated by the Nordic countries. One can say that this really is cross-country running. The sport is about running a course, following the check-points marked on a map, as fast as possible. To prove that one has run the whole course one must stamp at each check-point. The map and compass are the only tools used and the courses may go through almost any type of nature-swamps, rocks, fields etc.

Orienteering is one of the most popular sports in Sweden attracting more than 100,000 runners. It is very much a family sport with courses constructed to fit everyone's personal ability. The largest meets in Sweden are "Femdagars" and "O-ringen".


Within the Gymnastic Federation there are no less than 68 clubs with a total of 18,000 members. The gymnastic styles trained are in exercise form, and all the way to an elite form. Competitions are arranged regularly, and the Swedish Championships provide the opportunity to pick the best into a National gymnastics team for the Olympic Games, as well as the World, European, and the Scandinavian Championships.


Swedish swimming is internationally very strong and has over the years had many successes. Gunnar Larsson, Mikael Arvidsson, Bengt Baron, Anders Holmerz are a few names that have won international medals and held world records.

Sweden also has a broad anchored interest in the participation of swimming, for the pure exercise. It is a very popular sport for exercise and there are indoor swimming pools in most Swedish cities of middle size. Everyone is welcome to practice at given hours paying a small fee. During the summer there are additional outdoor pools.

Important to stress as far as public swimming and swimming education are concerned is the Swedish Life-saving Association (Svenska Livräddningssällskapet) organising the teaching of youngsters in how to swim. For further information please contact Svenska Livräddningssällskapet. (Industrigatan 2A) Box 49154. S-100 29 Stockholm. Phone; 08-654 18 30, fax; 08-651 81 10.

Martial Arts

Martial Arts has grown to be quite a large establishment in Sweden, as well as in other western countries, being very popular among teenagers. In Sweden all martial arts with licenses are connected to the Swedish Budo Association. Within this organisation all the respective types are represented. So, this association is ordered into yet smaller units, such as, for example the Swedish Judo Association, the Swedish Karate Association, and so forth.

The local yellow pages in the telephone catalogue reveal which styles that are represented in the region. The Swedish Karate Association is ordered under the World United Karate Organisation. The rules for competition are therefore equal to all karate styles. Swedish kung fu is also a type which is further divided into smaller units for its respective style.

National Championships as well as Nordic Championships are held in most types of martial arts in Sweden.

Riding Sports

Göteborg has for a long time been regarded as the most important riding centre in Sweden due to the renowned and annually held Gothenburg Horse Show. This event is but one of the most famous and prestigious series of Grand Prix horse jumping competitions in the world.

However, riding in all forms and styles has always been a very popular sport in Sweden. On the outskirts of large cities and in the countryside there are a large number of riding schools, providing the opportunity to ride a horse. For the beginner, the riding school will teach the students not only how to ride the horse, but also, how to take care of it. The advanced riders are provided with the opportunity to ride out in the woods, learn horse-jumping or track racing, and learn dressage riding. Most riding schools are affiliated to the Swedish Riding Sports Association; The Swedish Riding Sports Association publishes two different magazines; Ridsport and Hästjournalen.

For further information concerning the different riding schools throughout Sweden, and also of their summer camp activities please contact the Swedish Riding Sports Association in Stockholm.

There are, of course, also the horse-stables with ponies and Icelandic horses. These are almost never affiliated to the Swedish Riding Sports Association. However, they will be listed in the yellow pages in the local telephone book.
Photos: Copyright © Kamerareportage

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