The Most Famous

SKIERS from Sweden

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This page contains a list of the greatest Swedish Skiers. The pantheon dataset contains 540 Skiers, 36 of which were born in Sweden. This makes Sweden the birth place of the 6th most number of Skiers behind Switzerland and Finland.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Swedish Skiers of all time. This list of famous Swedish Skiers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Swedish Skiers.

Photo of Ingemar Stenmark

1. Ingemar Stenmark (1956 - )

With an HPI of 68.64, Ingemar Stenmark is the most famous Swedish Skier.  His biography has been translated into 43 different languages on wikipedia.

Jan Ingemar Stenmark (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈɪ̌ŋː(ɛ)mar ˈstêːnmark]; born 18 March 1956) is a former World Cup alpine ski racer from Sweden. He is regarded as one of the most prominent Swedish athletes ever, and as the greatest slalom and giant slalom specialist of all time. He competed for Tärna IK Fjällvinden.

Photo of Sixten Jernberg

2. Sixten Jernberg (1929 - 2012)

With an HPI of 64.70, Sixten Jernberg is the 2nd most famous Swedish Skier.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Edy Sixten Jernberg (6 February 1929 – 14 July 2012) was a Swedish cross-country skier and one of the most successful cross-country skiers of all time. Between 1952 and 1964 he took part in 363 ski races, finishing within the podium in 263 and winning 134 of them; during this period he won four world titles and nine Olympic medals. In 12 starts over three consecutive Winter Games he never finished worse than fifth place, and between 1955 and 1960, he won 86 out of 161 competitions.Jernberg was a blacksmith and a lumberjack before beginning his career as a cross-country skier. He specialized in the longer distances, with four of his eight gold medals coming over 50 km, one over 30 km and three in the 4 × 10 km relay. He also won Vasaloppet twice, 1955 and 1960. He won the 15 km at the Holmenkollen ski festival in 1954. At one competition, Jernberg had a fever and coughed up blood, but still finished the 50 km event. Gunde Svan said: "It was almost like [Sixten] didn't like his own body and tried to punish it in different ways."For his cross-country skiing successes, Jernberg was awarded the Holmenkollen medal in 1960 (shared with Helmut Recknagel, Sverre Stensheim and Tormod Knutsen). He was also awarded the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal in 1956 (shared with pentathlete Lars Hall).Jernberg retired after the Olympic Winter Games of 1964. In 1965, the International Olympic Committee awarded Jernberg the Mohammed Taher Trophy for his contributions to Nordic skiing. He died of stroke at the age of 83. He was survived by son Edy. His nephew Ingemar became an Olympic pole vaulter.

Photo of Nils Karlsson

3. Nils Karlsson (1917 - 2012)

With an HPI of 59.25, Nils Karlsson is the 3rd most famous Swedish Skier.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Nils Emanuel Karlsson (25 June 1917 – 16 June 2012), better known as Mora-Nisse, was a Swedish cross-country skier. Karlsson won gold in the 50 km event at the 1948 Winter Olympics and nine Vasaloppet victories.

Photo of Gunnar Eriksson

4. Gunnar Eriksson (1921 - 1982)

With an HPI of 59.17, Gunnar Eriksson is the 4th most famous Swedish Skier.  His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Krång Erik Gunnar Eriksson (13 September 1921 – 8 July 1982) was a Swedish cross-country skier who won two medals at the 1948 Winter Olympics, a gold in the 4 × 10 km relay and a bronze in the individual 18 km. Eriksson won the 50 km event at the 1950 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, but finished 12th at the 1952 Olympics and 21st at the 1954 World Championships.Eriksson had five brothers and three sisters. Their father died aged 42, and the children had to start working in their teens at the local knife factory; in 1946 they started their own hardware business. Eriksson married Kerstin Norlin, the winner of the 1949 Vasa ski marathon, who lived next door. She died aged 38. After retiring from competitions in 1954 Eriksson spent time collecting stamps, fishing, hunting and working as timberjack. In 1980 he developed Lou Gehrig’s disease and died in July 1982.

Photo of Thomas Wassberg

5. Thomas Wassberg (1956 - )

With an HPI of 58.92, Thomas Wassberg is the 5th most famous Swedish Skier.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Thomas Lars Wassberg (born 27 March 1956) is a Swedish former cross-country skier. A fast skating style – push for every leg – is still called "Wassberg" after him in several countries. Wassberg's skiing idols when growing up were Sixten Jernberg and Oddvar Brå. He has described his mental strength and physical fitness as his greatest abilities as a skier, with his main weakness being a lack of sprinting ability.Wassberg won four Olympic gold medals: in 15 km (1980), 50 km (1984), and the 4 × 10 km relay (1984, 1988), and served as the Olympic flag bearer for Sweden in 1988. At the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, he earned three golds (50 km: 1982, 30 km: 1987, and 4 × 10 km relay: 1987), three silvers (15 km: 1985, 1987; 50 km (1987), and one bronze (4 × 10 km relay: 1985). Additionally, Wassberg won the 50 km at the Holmenkollen ski festival three times (1980, 1982 and 1987) and the 15 km twice (1979, 1985).At the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, Wassberg edged out Finland's Juha Mieto by 0.01 seconds in the 15 km, the closest cross-country ski race in Olympic history. Wassberg subsequently suggested to Mieto that the gold medal should be split between them "as one one-hundredth of a second is nothing in a 15-kilometer race". This incident led the International Ski Federation (FIS) to change their timing to the nearest one-tenth of a second. It also resulted in an apocryphal urban legend that Wassberg and Mieto's medals were cut in half and re-welded into half-gold, half-silver medals. At the 1984 Winter Olympics, Wassberg beat out fellow Swede Gunde Svan by 4.9 seconds in the 50 km, the closest margin of victory ever in that event until Giorgio Di Centa edged out Yevgeny Dementyev by 0.8 seconds at the 2006 Winter Olympics though the 2006 event was a mass start event while the 1984 event was an interval start event. He won the World Cup in 1977, and in 1980 was awarded the Holmenkollen medal. For some reason his teammate Sven-Åke Lundbäck did not receive the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal in 1978. In protest to this decision Wassberg refused to accept his Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal in 1980.According to Bengt Erik Bengtsson, Chief of the Nordic Office of the FIS from 1984 to 2004, Wassberg was the first to suggest in 1984 the splitting of the sport of cross country skiing into classic and freestyle disciplines. This was subsequently implemented by FIS in 1986.After retiring from competitions Wassberg worked as a sports reporter for Swedish Radio and a cross-country skiing coach for his club Åsarna IK. In 2009 he appeared on Swedish television in the show contests Mästarnas mästare, and in 2016 participated in Let's Dance 2016 which was broadcast on TV4. In the 2010s he oversaw the preparation of ski tracks for Åsarna IK, organized bird hunting events for tourists and worked as a forester.

Photo of Gunde Svan

6. Gunde Svan (1962 - )

With an HPI of 58.21, Gunde Svan is the 6th most famous Swedish Skier.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Gunde Anders Svan (born 12 January 1962) is a Swedish former cross-country skier and auto racing driver. During his cross-country skiing career he won a total of four gold, one silver and one bronze medals at the Winter Olympics. Svan won a total of seven golds (15 km - 1989; 30 km and 4 × 10 km relay - 1985, 1991; 50 km - 1985, 1989; and 4 × 10 km relay - 1987), three silvers (15 km, 50 km, 4 × 10 km relay (all 1991)), and one bronze (4 × 10 km relay - 1985) at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Svan also won the 15 km once (1983) and the 50 km twice (1986, 1990) at the Holmenkollen ski festival. In 1984, he earned the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal, and in 1985, he earned the Holmenkollen medal (shared with Anette Bøe and Per Bergerud). He is a board member of the International Ski Federation.

Photo of Assar Rönnlund

7. Assar Rönnlund (1935 - 2011)

With an HPI of 57.55, Assar Rönnlund is the 7th most famous Swedish Skier.  His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Bernt Assar Rönnlund (3 September 1935 – 5 January 2011) was a Swedish cross-country skier. Rönnlund's biggest success was at the 1962 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Zakopane where he won two gold medals (15 km and 4 × 10 km) and a silver (50 km). As a result, he earned the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal that year for his championship successes. Rönnlund was the anchorman of the Swedish 4 × 10 km relay team at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, bringing the team from fourth place to victory. Rönnlund also won the Vasaloppet in 1967 and the 50 km event at the Holmenkollen ski festival twice (1962 and 1968). For his cross-country skiing successes, Rönnlund was awarded the Holmenkollen Medal in 1968 (shared with King Olav V, Gjermund Eggen and Bjørn Wirkola). After retiring from active competition he was hired in 1972 by The Swedish Radio Corporation as a cross-country skiing commentator. He gained nationwide popularity working in a duo with Åke Strömmer. Rönnlund retired from broadcasting after the 2003 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.Rönnlund was married to Inga-Britt Rönnlund and they had three sons, Michael, Lars and Tommy Rönnlund. Later he married Toini Gustafsson, a 1967 Holmenkollen medalist; they had two children together, plus one from the previous marriage of Gustafsson. They became the second husband-wife team to earn this honor. They are also the only husband-wife team to ever win the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal with Gustafsson earning the honor in 1968. Rönnlund died on 5 January 2011 after a period of illness.

Photo of Sonja Edström

8. Sonja Edström (1930 - 2020)

With an HPI of 57.54, Sonja Edström is the 8th most famous Swedish Skier.  Her biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Sonja Viola Edström-Ruthström (Edström before 1960, 18 November 1930 – 15 October 2020) was a Swedish cross-country skier. She competed at the 1952, 1956, and 1960 Olympics in the 10 km and 3 × 5 km relay events and won bronze medals in both in 1956; in 1960 she finished fifth in the 10 km, but won the 3 × 5 km relay.Edström also won two 3 × 5 km relay bronze medals at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in 1954 and 1958. She won the 10 km event at the Holmenkollen ski festival in 1956. In 1953–1960, she collected 12 individual and three relay national titles.Edström was born in a family of six siblings, and was mostly raised by her father, as her mother fell seriously ill when Edström was six years old. At 14 she started working as a maid, and at 16 as a bottles cleaner at the Luleå Brewery. She was later a nurse at a Luleå hospital for more than 30 years.

Photo of Jan Boklöv

9. Jan Boklöv (1966 - )

With an HPI of 56.43, Jan Boklöv is the 9th most famous Swedish Skier.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Jan Mauritz Boklöv (born 14 April 1966) is a Swedish former ski jumper who won the 1988–89 World Cup season. He also dominated the Swedish national championships during the late 1980s and early 1990s. He is best known for popularising the now-ubiquitous V-style in the late 1980s and early 1990s.Kurt Elimä was one of Boklöv's trainers. Boklöv competed in two Winter Olympics, finishing seventh in the team large hill event in Calgary in 1988 and 47th in the individual normal hill in Albertville in 1992. At the 1989 Ski Jumping World Championships in Lahti, he finished fifth in the team large hill and tenth in the individual normal hill events. At the 1990 Ski Flying World Championships in Vikersund, Boklöv finished 27th. In 1989 he was the recipient of the Jerringpriset, a prize for the best sports performance of the year by a Swedish athlete, as voted for by the radio audience of Radiosporten. During the early 2000s he lived in Luxembourg., and as of 2016, he is living in Brussels together with his family.

Photo of Anja Pärson

10. Anja Pärson (1981 - )

With an HPI of 55.72, Anja Pärson is the 10th most famous Swedish Skier.  Her biography has been translated into 38 different languages.

Anja Sofia Tess Pärson (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈânːja ˈpæ̌ːʂɔn]; born 25 April 1981) is a Swedish former alpine skier. She is an Olympic gold medalist, seven-time gold medalist at the World Championships, and two-time overall Alpine Skiing World Cup champion. This included winning three gold medals in the 2007 World Championship in her native Sweden. She has won a total of 42 World Cup races.

Pantheon has 36 people classified as skiers born between 1917 and 1999. Of these 36, 31 (86.11%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living skiers include Ingemar Stenmark, Thomas Wassberg, and Gunde Svan. The most famous deceased skiers include Sixten Jernberg, Nils Karlsson, and Gunnar Eriksson. As of October 2020, 12 new skiers have been added to Pantheon including Gunnar Eriksson, Sonja Edström, and Torgny Mogren.

Living Skiers

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Deceased Skiers

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Newly Added Skiers (2020)

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Which Skiers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 5 most globally memorable Skiers since 1700.