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Vasaloppet (literally, The Vasa race) is an annual long distance (90 km) cross-country ski race (ski marathon) held on the first Sunday of March in northwestern Dalarna, Sweden between the village of Sälen and town of Mora. It is the oldest, the longest, and the biggest (in terms of participants) cross-country ski race in the world. In the 80th race, held on 7 March 2004, some 15,500 skiers competed in the main event. More than 40,000 participated in one of the seven different races held during the first week of March. The race was first run in 1922, inspired by a run by King Gustav Vasa in 1520. The winner of the first race was Ernst Alm from Norsjö, 22 years old, who is also the youngest ever winner of the race. Vasaloppet is one of the races in the long distance cup Ski Classics.
In 1520, the young nobleman Gustav Ericsson Vasa was escaping from the troops of Christian II, king of Denmark, Sweden and Norway (the Kalmar Union). Much of the Swedish nobility was in opposition to the king, and had nicknamed him Christian the Tyrant. In a move to silence the opposition, Christian invited the Swedish aristocracy to a reconciliation party in Stockholm, only to have them, including Gustav's parents, massacred in what came to be known as the Stockholm Bloodbath.
Gustav was escaping through Dalarna, fearing for his life if he were discovered by the king's troops, when he spoke to the assembled men of Mora and tried to convince them to raise a levy and start a rebellion against King Christian. The men refused to join the rebellion, and Gustav started toward Norway to seek refuge. However, he was later caught at Sälen by two Mora brothers on skis - the men in Mora had changed their minds after hearing that the Danish rulers had decided to raise taxes, and they now wanted Gustav to lead the rebellion. On 6 June 1523, Gustav Vasa was crowned king of Sweden, having defeated the Danish king Christian and dissolved the Kalmar Union. Sweden has been fully independent ever since.
World cup race
- The Swedish Vasaloppet is included in the Worldloppet Ski Federation, a series of long-distance cross-country skiing races.
- In 2006, the Vasaloppet was included in the FIS Cross-Country World Cup; a large complement of World Cup racers joined the men's field for the full 90 km distance. Owing to the distance—40 km longer than the longest race usually skied in the World Cup—as well as the proximity to the just-concluded Olympic Games in Torino, the race was again dominated by long-distance specialists rather than World Cup racers. Daniel Tynell won the race, just ahead of Jerry Ahrlin, while Anders Aukland - who has skied on both the Norwegian national World Cup team and in marathons like the Vasaloppet - finished third.
The women's World Cup Vasaloppet was held over 45 km the previous day, rather than being integrated with the full Vasaloppet. Marit Bjørgen of Norway won easily, though the field included only World Cup racers, since the marathon specialists chose to race in the full-distance event the next day.
The week preceding Vasaloppet is known as Vasaloppet week. Races held during this week include:
- KortVasan (short - 30 km)
- TjejVasan (ladies - 30 km)
- HalvVasan (half - 45 km)
- UngdomsVasan (9–16 years old) (3–9 km)
- Öppet spår (non-competitive 90 km)
- StafettVasan (relay 90 km)
- SkejtVasan (free technique 30 km and 45 km).
- Vasaloppet (90 km)
A few facts about the male winners through the 2007 race:
Nils 'Mora-Nisse' Karlsson has the most titles, with 9. Janne Stefansson (7), Jan Ottosson (4), Arthur Häggblad (4), Bengt Hassis (3), Oskar Svärd (3), Daniel Tynell (3) and Jörgen Brink (3) are the only other racers with more than two titles. Six men have two titles.
The average winning time is 5:11:38 (a per-kilometer average of 3:28). The record winning time is 3:38:41 (2:26 per kilometer), set by Jörgen Brink of Sweden in 2012. Only ten winners have finished in less than four hours. The ten fastest times include six Swedes, two Norwegians, and one Swiss; Oskar Svärd and Jörgen Brink from Sweden appear twice in the list of the ten fastest times. Of the ten fastest times, two occurred in the 1980s, two in the 1990s, four in the 2000s and two in the 2010s.
- 2012: Jörgen Brink (SWE) - 3:38:41
- 1998: Peter Göransson (SWE) - 3:38:57
- 2004: Anders Aukland (NOR) - 3:48:42
- 1986: Bengt Hassis (SWE) - 3:48:55
- 2013: Jørgen Aukland (NOR) - 3:50:49
- 2005: Oskar Svärd (SWE) - 3:51:47
- 2011: Jörgen Brink (SWE) - 3:51:51
- 1992: Jan Ottosson (SWE) - 3:57:04
- 1983: Konrad Hallenbarter (SUI) - 3:58:08
- 2003: Oskar Svärd (SWE) - 3:58:23
- 2002: Daniel Tynell (SWE) - 3:58:52
Average times per decade have declined in each ten-year span, with the sharpest drop between decade averages occurring in the 1960s, for which the average winning time was 31:45 faster than the average winning time of the 1950s. The average winning time in the 1970s was 16:07 faster than the 1960s, the 1980s average was 24:09 faster than the 1970s, and the 1990s average was 13:06 faster than the 1980s. The average winning time in the 2000s is only 2:18 faster than the 1990s, however. As of 2011 the average winning time so far in the 2010s is 12:12 faster than the 2000s.
Sweden - the most winners
Sweden is the most prolific producer of winners, with 74 titles (including two all-Sweden ties, in 1928 and 1988), or 90% of the 82 contested races. (The race was canceled in 1932, 1934, and 1990). Norway has produced four winners: Ole Ellefsæter, 1971; Anders Aukland, 2004; Jørgen Aukland, 2008 and 2013; and John Kristian Dahl, 2014. Two countries have produced two winners: Finland (Pekka Kuvaja, 1954; Pauli Siitonen, 1973) and Austria (Walter Mayer, 1980; Mikhail Botvinov, 1997). Five countries have produced one winner: East Germany (Gert-Dietmar Klause, 1975), the Soviet Union (Ivan Garanin, 1977), France (Jean-Paul Pierrat, 1978), Switzerland (Konrad Hallenbarter, 1983), and Estonia (Raul Olle, 2000).
Sweden won every race until 1954, when Pekka Kuvaja of Finland won the race. The next non-Swede to win was Ole Ellefsæter of Norway (1971), who kicked off a decade in which Sweden won just five titles and racers from five other countries won the five other titles. Sweden won 8 of the titles in the 1980s (Austria [Mayer, 1980] and Switzerland [Hallenbarter, 1983] each won one title in that decade), and 8 more in the 1990s (Austria won one more title in that decade [Botvinov, 1997], and the race was canceled once ). In the 2000s, Sweden won seven races, Norway won twice (Anders Aukland, 2004; Jørgen Aukland, 2008), and Estonia won once (Olle, 2000).
|1997||Sofia Lind||Åsarna IK, Sweden||5:06:35|
|1998||Kerrin Petty||IFK Mora, citizen of USA||4:17:02|
|1999||Sofia Lind||Åsarna IK, Sweden||5:04:50|
|2001||Ulrica Persson||SK Bore, Sweden||4:31:05|
|2003||Ulrica Persson||SK Bore, Sweden||4:32:57|
|2004||Sofia Lind||Åsarna IK, Sweden||4:20:28|
|2005||Sofia Lind||Åsarna IK, Sweden||4:24:09|
|2007||Elin Ek||IFK Mora SK, Sweden||4:48:29|
|2008||Sandra Hansson||Uddevalla IS, Sweden||4:47:16|
|2009||Sandra Hansson||Uddevalla IS, Sweden||4:43:13|
|2010||Susanne Nyström||IFK Mora SK, Sweden||4:33:07|
|2011||Jenny Hansson||Östersunds SK, Sweden||4:25:30|
|2012||Vibeke Skofterud||Slitu IF, Norway||4:08:24|
|2013||Laila Kveli||Lierne IL, Norway||4:22:22|
|2014||Laila Kveli||Lierne IL, Norway||4:31:57|
Women's winners have been received awards since 1997. Women were allowed to race, but did not receive awards, in 1922-23 and 1981-96. The first woman was Margit Nordin in 1923. Women were banned from 1924 to 1980. The ban was introduced because it was considered bad for women's health to participate in such a competition. This ban was criticized especially after 1960. Some defended the ban saying that allowing women would reduce the race's reputation as a tough challenge. Several women however did participate during the ban, disguised as men.
A sister race to the Swedish Vasaloppet, Vasaloppet USA, is held annually on the 1st Saturday of February in Mora, Minnesota, USA (prior to 2015, the race occurred on the second Sunday of February annually).
In Finland, Botniavasan was first held in 2006.
- Vasaloppet official website http://www.vasaloppet.se/wps/wcm/connect/en/vasaloppet/start/arena/history/once_upon_a_time/index.html
Media related to Vasaloppet at Wikimedia Commons
- Vasaloppet - Official Swedish Site
- Vasa That! - A participant's story
- American Vasaloppet - Mora, MN, USA Race Site
- Interactive Map
- 3D animation of race - Requires Google Earth software.
- 2D View in Google Maps.
- Mora, MN: Mora, MN Vasaloppet Website
- Vasaloppet 2013 photos
|En svensk klassiker|
|Vasaloppet | Vätternrundan | Vansbrosimningen | Lidingöloppet|