Thomas Wassberg

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Thomas Wassberg
Thomas Wassberg 2013-12-11 001.jpg
Wassberg in 2013
Full name Lars Thomas Wassberg
Born (1956-03-27) 27 March 1956 (age 62)
Lennartsfors, Värmland, Sweden
Height 185 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Ski club Åsarna IK
World Cup career
Seasons 1977–1988
Individual wins 6
Team wins 7
Indiv. podiums 18
Team podiums 10
Discipline titles 1 (1976/77)

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.[1]

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.[2] At the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, he earned three golds (50 km: 1982, 30 km: 1987, and 4×10 km: 1987), three silvers (15 km: 1985, 1987; 50 km (1987), and one bronze (4×10 km: 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).[3]

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 skiing 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.[4] 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.[3][5]

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.[6]

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.[7] In the 2010s he oversaw the preparation of ski tracks for Åsarna IK, organized bird hunting events for tourists and worked as a forester.[3]

World Cup results[edit]

All results are sourced from the International Ski Federation (FIS).[8]

Individual podiums[edit]

  • 6 victories
  • 18 podiums
No. Season Date Location Race Level Place
1 1981–82 9 January 1982 West Germany Reit im Winkl, West Germany 15 km Individual World Cup 3rd
2 16 January 1982 Switzerland Le Brassus, Switzerland 15 km Individual World Cup 2nd
3 27 February 1982 Norway Oslo, Norway 50 km Individual World Championships[1] 1st
4 12 March 1982 Sweden Falun, Sweden 30 km Individual World Cup 3rd
5 19 March 1982 Czechoslovak Socialist Republic Štrbské Pleso, Czechoslovakia 15 km Individual World Cup 2nd
6 1982–83 26 February 1983 Sweden Falun, Sweden 30 km Individual World Cup 2nd
7 27 March 1983 Canada Labrador City, Canada 30 km Individual World Cup 3rd
8 1983–84 19 February 1984 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Sarajevo, Yugoslavia 50 km Individual Olympic Games[1] 1st
9 25 February 1984 Sweden Falun, Sweden 30 km Individual World Cup 2nd
10 2 March 1984 Finland Lahti, Finland 15 km Individual World Cup 2nd
11 1984–85 22 January 1985 Austria Seefeld, Austria 15 km Individual World Championships[1] 2nd
12 9 March 1985 Sweden Falun, Sweden 30 km Individual World Cup 3rd
13 14 March 1985 Norway Oslo, Norway 15 km Individual World Cup 1st
14 1985–86 8 March 1986 Sweden Falun, Sweden 30 km Individual C World Cup 1st
15 1986–87 12 February 1987 West Germany Oberstdorf, West Germany 30 km Individual C World Championships[1] 1st
16 15 February 1987 West Germany Oberstdorf, West Germany 15 km Individual C World Championships[1] 2nd
17 21 February 1987 West Germany Oberstdorf, West Germany 50 km Individual F World Championships[1] 2nd
18 21 March 1987 Norway Oslo, Norway 50 km Individual C World Cup 1st

Team podiums[edit]

  • 7 victories
  • 10 podiums
No. Season Date Location Race Level Place Teammate(s)
1 1983–84 16 February 1984 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Sarajevo, Yugoslavia 4 x 10 km Relay Olympic Games[1] 1st Kohlberg / Ottosson / Svan
2 26 February 1984 Sweden Falun, Sweden 4 x 10 km Relay World Cup 1st Östlund / Ottosson / Svan
3  1984–85  24 January 1985 Austria Seefeld, Austria 4 x 10 km Relay World Championships[1] 3rd Östlund / Eriksson / Svan
4 10 March 1985 Sweden Falun, Sweden 4 x 10 km Relay World Cup 2nd Östlund / Mogren / Svan
5 17 March 1985 Norway Oslo, Norway 4 x 10 km Relay World Cup 1st Eriksson / Danielsson / Svan
6  1985–86  13 March 1986 Norway Oslo, Norway 4 x 10 km Relay F World Cup 3rd Majbäck / Håland / Danielsson
7 1986–87 17 February 1987 West Germany Oberstdorf, West Germany 4 x 10 km Relay F World Championships[1] 1st Östlund / Svan / Mogren
8 8 March 1987 Sweden Falun, Sweden 4 x 10 km Relay C World Cup 1st Östlund / Mogren / Majbäck
9 19 March 1987 Norway Oslo, Norway 4 x 10 km Relay C World Cup 1st Ottosson / Mogren / Eriksson
10 1987–88 24 February 1988 Canada Calgary, Canada 4 x 10 km Relay F Olympic Games[1] 1st Ottosson / Svan / Mogren

Note: 1 Until the 1999 World Championships and the 1994 Winter Olympics, World Championship and Olympic races were included in the World Cup scoring system.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cross Country Legend Thomas Wassberg (SWE) in Interview". Fischer Sports. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Sweden. sports-reference.com
  3. ^ a b c Thomas Wassberg. sports-reference.com
  4. ^ Perman, Cindy (2013). New York Curiosities, 2nd: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 151. ISBN 9780762774968. 
  5. ^ Thomas Wassberg. Swedish Olympic Committee
  6. ^ Bengt Erik Bengtsson (2010). "Cross country skating: how it started". Retrieved 27 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "Deltagare i Let's dance – tv4.se". tv4.se. Retrieved 1 April 2016. 
  8. ^ "Athlete : WASSBERG Thomas". FIS-Ski. International Ski Federation. Retrieved 11 February 2018. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Malmö FF
Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal
1980
Succeeded by
Annichen Kringstad