It was a brilliant evening for Swedish athletics at the Swedish Sports Award on Monday night (17) which ended with Armand Duplantis being named Athlete of the Year for the third time.
Still only 22, Duplantis added the European Indoor and Olympic gold medals to its fast-growing list of awards. His consistency at the highest level was also unsurpassed as he managed 6.00 m or higher in 12 of his 17 competitions in 2021.
Duplantis was nominated together with the Olympic champion Daniel Stahl who won the discus title in Tokyo, the Olympic horse champion Peder Fredricson and the world champion in speed skating Nils van der Poel.
“First I want to say thank you to the Swedish people. You mean so much to me. Everyone has supported me so much and I am so grateful. I want to make you proud. And I will continue to do so.
“2021 was my biggest goal to take the Olympic gold. Representing Sweden was an honor and I am so happy that I was able to win for you,” said Duplantis, who also paid tribute to his parents Greg and Helena, who also serve as his coach.
“I want to say thank you to my mom and dad. They are the best and they have been since the beginning.”
The Coach of the Year award went to Vesteinn Hafsteinsson who trained Stahl and Simon Pettersson for gold and silver in discus at the Olympics in Tokyo. His stable of athletes also includes Fanny Roos who won silver in the shot put at the 2021 European Indoor Championships.
“I was very moved when I received this award. Since I was little, I have dreamed of becoming a coach,” said Hafsteinsson, who competed for Iceland in discus at four editions of the Olympic Games.
Maja Askag was also named Newcomer of the Year in all sports after her breakout season, which made her take home the long-distance and three-stage titles at both the U20 European Championships in Tallinn and a month later at the U20 World Championships in Nairobi.
Askag, who jumped a marginally windswept 6.80 m to win the long jump title in Tallinn and has already surpassed the 14-meter line even in three steps, still plans to combine both competitions for the predictable.
“There are many who ask, we will see. Right now it works well but in the future we will see if the body lasts, it is very individual. For some, it lasts a lifetime while others feel they have to choose, so we’ll see, “she said.