Maria Akraka

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Maria Akraka
Maria Akraka 2012-03-13 001.jpg
Maria Akraka representing Intersport
Personal information
Full name Maria Helene Henriksson Akraka
Born (1966-06-07) 7 June 1966 (age 51)
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight 55 kg (121 lb)
Country  Sweden
Sport Athletics
College team Iowa State
Club Rånäs 4H
Retired 2000

Maria Helene Henriksson Akraka (born July 7, 1966) is a retired Swedish entrepreneur, television host and former athlete.

College career[edit]

Akraka competed as an athlete in both cross country and track & field as Iowa State. She finished her career a four-time All-American and a two-time Big Eight champion.[1]

In 2010 she was inducted into the Iowa State Cyclones Hall of Fame.[2]

International career[edit]

She competed in four European Championships,[3] three World Championships, and the 1992 Olympic Games in both the 1,500 m and 800 m races.[4]

Post-athletics career[edit]

Akraka worked previously as a host of betting company ATG's channel, Channel 75, where she interviewed Horse racing jockeys. She also worked for TV4 covering horse racing. In 2006, she started working for SVT, hosting extreme sports game show Megadrom[5][6] and also covered various sports competitions such as the Olympics and DN Galan.[7]

In 2009, she and her husband bought an estate with an equestrian training stable in 2009. She now spends much of her time training race horses.[8]

Currently she serves as an advisory for sporting goods retailer, Intersport[9] and the founder/CEO of Sportcore, a career agency for former professional athletes.

Personal bests[edit]

Surface Event Time Date Place
Outdoor 400 m 54:50 August 20, 1988 Malmö, Sweden
800 m 2:00:58 August 8, 1991 Lahti, Finland
1,000 m 2:38:30 July 25, 1995 Monaco
1,500 m 4:08:63 August 19, 1994 Brussels, Belgium
1 mile 4:32:04 September 10, 1993 London, England
2,000 m 5:47:76 September 4, 1994 Sheffield, England
3,000 m 9:04:35 August 28, 1994 Stockholm, Sweden
Indoor 800 m 2:00:01NR February 19, 1998 Stockholm, Sweden
1,500 m 4:07:74 February 18, 1992 Genoa, Italy

Personal life[edit]

Akraka is married to former triple jumper Tord Henriksson and they have two children.[10]

She was born in London to a Swedish mother and a Nigerian father.[11] The family moved to Sweden but her parents separated and her father moved back to Nigeria. She was raised by her mom in Rågsved outside Stockholm. Her father Smart Akraka is a former track and field athlete who competed in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.[12] She has a twin brother, Michael.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Black History Month: Maria Akraka - Iowa State University". Iowa State University. Retrieved 2018-01-24. 
  2. ^ "Iowa State Athletics". Retrieved 2018-01-24. 
  3. ^ NORWOOD, ROBYN (1990-10-02). "In the Long Run, Swedish Track Star Competes to Stay in Shape : Cross-country: For Maria Akraka, running with UC Irvine's team is preparing her for spring and a shot at an NCAA title at 800 meters". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-01-24. 
  4. ^ "Maria AKRAKA - Olympic Athletics | Sweden". International Olympic Committee. 2016-06-14. Retrieved 2018-01-24. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  8. ^ "Mountain Horse's Stjärnor till Globen - Plyhm Kommunikation". Plyhm Kommunikation (in Swedish). 2010-11-22. Retrieved 2018-01-24. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  10. ^ "Paret som kommer igen". Göteborgs-Posten (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-01-24. 
  11. ^ "Maria Akraka". Discogs. Retrieved 2018-01-24. 
  12. ^ "AFN mourn Smart Akraka, Stephen Keshi | MAKING OF CHAMPIONS". MAKING OF CHAMPIONS. 2016-06-09. Retrieved 2018-01-24. 

External links[edit]