He was so good for so long. He even triggered rule changes to see if they could make the World Cup circuit more competitive.
The title of the thread is a bit misleading as a sportsman isn't necessarily the same as a great athlete. But, I would say that Stenmark ranks pretty high on both scales.
If we are looking for an athlete, I must include Zlatan, an incredible physical specimen. However, his media anthics and behavior on the field don't necessarily work in his favor when looking at the "great sportsman."
Gunde Svan is also deserving a mentioning here. I think he might be the only guy, who could seriously challenge Stenmark.
Like Romelson was onto... there are a few women we might want to consider for being great "sportsmen" too!
Last edited by Ribban: 01-10-2011 at 12:54 PM.
Reason: Svan edition
Anders Gärderud is one of my personal favourites (he is not one of the greatest of course), for some odd reason I always loved endurance sports like steeplechase and cross-country skiing. I think it´s cool that Gärderuds old world record from 1976 is still a really good time.
Most Swedes would probably rank Stenmark and Borg as a little standout top2. Between them I would pick Borg, if he would've had the motivation it's a good possibility he'd be seen as the greatest tennis player of all time IMO, and that is a bigger feat than the alpine skiing dito to me.
It's easy to forget how good Borg's 11 Grand Slam titles look when you consider how young he retired and that Australian Open had no status(he only played there once) back then. He also holds the record for best win% of all time both in Slams and ATP-tour. He just really didn't care about his legacy like players do now i.e. Federer, who can chase after all-time records and use them as a carrot on a stick, because he was himself the standout great back then.
But in the end when you compare sports, it comes down to own taste.
Personally id pick Gunde, but alot of athletes could be considered for this, Borg, Stenmark, Nacka, Nordahl, Tumba, Lidström and Ingo (many more, but to many to list). Basically it mostly comes down to personal preference and sport bias, i really like Gunde and Stenmark for how great personalties they had aside from their incredible achievments.
As for women id say Magdalena Forsberg would be one of the front runners, Biathlon isnt a huge sport but she was dominating. Women is harder to rank since in big team sports like hockey and football (soccer) the women leagues etc arent really watched/cared for (atleast in Sweden). While alot of individual sports are atleast IMO as/almost as interesting no matter if its men or women competing (cross country/alpine skiing, biathlon, athletics etc, although i dont care much for alpine skiing/athetics personally).
In the end it is very hard to compare achievments from different sports, and it is alot harder to judge individual dominance in team sports, wich is why i think athletes in individual sports will come out on top in the end.
Yup, I agree. I guess the question you first have to ask is "How would you define a great sportsman?"
The value of different variables like: a sportsman dominating his/her sport, the time spent doing it, winning awards, his/her popularity, the popularity of the sport and so on probably differs for each one of us.
Sports which demands incredible stamina has a special place in my hart. Snorsporter (drool-sports?) as cross country with Gunde Svan, Wassberg and Anders Södergren. And guys such as Nils “Mora-Nisse” Karlsson and Sixten Jernberg who was active before I was born.
Gunder Hägg had incredible good results, I think he would have had a chance for many of his records even if the world war hadn't depleted the field of sportsmen so heavily (3.43 on 1500 meter is not bad even today - running on coal and bad shoes).
And I hold Stenmark above Borg, Stenmark was also an outstanding quote machine:
"I know nothing about luck, they more I exercise the more luck I have".
"One can't explain for those who don't understand".
I believe Ingmar Stenmark, Ingo Johansson and Björn Borg are in a league of their own when it comes to having a legendary legacy.
Can't see any Swede topping them in their respective sport.. ever.
Nordahl is one I would also nominate though. Has the best goal per game average in Serie A history I believe and holds the record for most goals in Milan history. But he did it in the immediate post war era when the talent crop was weakened so that might lessen it just a bit.
I think it's fair to say though that he's without a doubt Sweden's best football player of all-time.
Tumba is an interesting one too, but it's kind of hard to judge Swedish hockey from that era even if he was incredibly dominant. But he's a huge legend of the game for sure.
OT: Seems like 'Ingmar' is a great name for Swedes. Stenmark, Johansson, Bergman.. Many of Sweden's most successful sons of all time had this name.
Depends on if you're pro-Zlatan or not I still think Nordahl is the best, but Zlatan is/was definitely at the same level.
Personally, I'd say Stenmark.
Lidström is our best in hockeyplayer though.
I think it's almost impossible to compare players from different eras. You kind of go from best to "greatest " and suddenly Eddie Shore is ahead of Lidström even though they hardly played the same game.
For his time though, I can safely say that Nordahl was more dominant than Zlatan. I get this from watching clips, stats but mostly from people who (although perhaps with a nostalgic bias) saw him play.
But I do believe that Ibrahimovic is the most talented player we ever had. He's a beast physically while having ridiculous technique. He's a winner in Italy, but if he would just for once put his team on his back and drag them to glory (or at least a final) in the Champions League I might rate him as the greatest. He needs to show he can be more "clutch".
I'm a big fan of his but I'm not holding my breath any more.
Yes I agree Nordahl was more dominant and I still think he's our best, but just like you wrote Zlatan might be the better one in terms of talent. As with most sports, football has changed.. so we can't really compare them either.
And ofc, ask anyone in the UK (well, maybe not some hateful Rangers fans) and H. Larsson is definitely the best swede.
Either way, we're quite spoiled with those guys if you look at the level of Fotbollsallsvenskan..
I would add Annika Sörenstam to the mix, if we add women to the discussion. Whatever your opinion of golf is, I think she at least deserves a mention for her great career.
Borg and Stenmark feels like the clear top 2. Personally I rank Lidström very high and it's sad that he probably never will get the same recognition over here by the general crowd as athletes competing mostly in Europe.
Originally Posted by Pentothal
Must have missed that. It's obviously spot on, but when and where was this? Who were the other candidates?
It was awarded, when they started Idrottsgalan in 2000. I think it was Svenska Idrottsakademin that decided the winner and they built up the hype for it by having 10 candidates. Sadly I haven't found the videos that presented the candidates and it was even hard to find the final list. Here it is though, Svenska Idrottsakademin's top 10 athletes of the 20th century:
45 posts until Gert Fredriksson was mentioned. Too many The guy was incredible and would have had many more medals had there not been this thing called WWII.
Nordahl *drools* top scorer for nine seasons, as a footballer. To me that is the best record of any athlete. The Sweden team of that time could have been world cup winners had it not been for rules against professionalism. In that case, more than one of the players would have been on a top list.
Zlatan was instrumental in teams that won their league for some 7 years in a row. He would completely dominate the nhl had he been a hockey player.
I think Wislander is a good choice on a top list. As has been said, he was voted, handballer of the century, by the IHF. He also had a long career and got a euro gold with Sweden while in his 38th year.
It is difficult to rank, but I think Lidström could well be among the best ten. Who knows