Athlete of the Month – August 2013

EMTBOC 2013 Long WE podium 2

Name: Cecilia Thomasson

Country: Sweden

Discipline: MTB Orienteering

Career highlights: Gold on long distance and silver on middle distance at the European Championships 2013.

IOF World Ranking Position: 16

Cecilia Thomasson, our Athlete of August, started with orienteering in her childhood, as both her father and grand father orienteered. “But I also did other sports as many kids, like xc-skiing, tabletennis, floorball, kayaking and handball”, Cecilia says, and continues: “In early teenage I started with mountainbiking. I had a injury in my knee and couldn’t orienteer, and therefore I went with my uncle and cousin to the local cycling club. The first time I was there I had the kickstand, clips and mudguards on the bike and the clothes were some old and too big cyclingshorts from my father. I was hooked at once, really excited of biking fast and the bike itself, but actually I wasn’t any good, I always had some crashes at the competitions.”

She continued with biking, however, as well as with orienteering. “In my twenties I’ve biked a lot, mostly mountain biking which I also compete in. But also road racing, downhill and freeride. As I can’t run as much as I want due to injuries biking has been a good substitute which I now love to do. I started with MTB orienteering when I saw the first competition in Sweden in 2010, and as in orienteering I like the challenge to solve the navigation problems and not just run/bike”, Cecilia explains.

The unbeatable feeling

Her real break through in MTB orienteering came in June 2013 at the European Championships in Poland, where she won one gold and one silver medal. “I’m very very happy! I really can’t understand that I was first and it’s a unbeatable feeling that I want to feel again!”, Cecilia says. 

The World MTB Orienteering Championships take place in Rakvere, Estonia, at the end of August. Cecilia’s goal there is a medal: “If I have a good day and can focus on the orienteering I believe it’s not impossible. At the end of July I fell really bad on my neck and head and have been into hospital, I got a little hole in my gullet, and now need to recover from that. But I hope I can perform good races anyway, and I also hope we can have a good relay.” Cecilia’s favorite distance is the middle. “It’s not the distance I’m best in but it’s more challenging with the route choices and navigation, and sometimes more technical biking”, Cecilia tells.


EMTBOC 2013 Long WE podium 2

Cecilia celebrating her first European Championships gold medal. Photo: Sandor Talas

Likes to train in the mountains

Cecilia lives in Östersund to have the mountains nearby: “It is great surroundings and you can bike and run everywhere in the summer and ski in the winter.” She has worked as a nurse for a couple of years, and now she studies medicine in Umeå. ” I train approximately 12-13 h per week. In hard study weeks or rest weeks it can be 8 h, but it is almost never more than 15 h. Its very varying, but mostly I do the trainings on the bike. In the winter its lots of xc-skiing”, Cecilia tells. “I like the long-distance training best, because then I can be out and enjoy seeing new places and be active, the best is to ride in the ”fjälls”, swedish mountains, in good wheather. When I have too much to do in school I don’t have so much time for training and that’s the worst part, to train in some kind of stress condition.”

Cecilia tried ski orienteering for the first time last winter: “It was really fun and crazy! I did it for the similarity with MTBO and I will for sure continue with it. At the university we have lots of ski orienteers and our technical coach sets up lots of good trainings.”

Athletes’ questions

The question from Oleksandr Kratov to Cecilia was:

“Do you orienteer on foot as well as on mountain bike, or is it not good to combine the two?”

“Up to 5 years ago I did a lot of foot orienteering, and was good at it. Now I can’t run as much as I want due to injuries, so my focus is on MTB orienteering. In some way, I like the navigation part in FootO more than in MTBO. When people try MTBO they get disappointed because navigating is too easy and their biking skills are not good enough. You need to realise that it’s another kind of navigation and don’t compare it to FootO.”

Cecilia asks Jana Kostova, World Champion 2013 in Paralympic class and our Athlete of September:

How do you train the technical skills in preO? What is your favourite technical training?


Cecilia Thomasson (to the left) aims to get a medal at the World MTB Orienteering Championships too. Photo: Laszlo Zentai


Previous Athletes of the Month


January 2013 Staffan Tunis (FIN)
February 2013 Jerker Lysell (SWE)
March 2013 Stanimir Belomazhev (BUL)
April 2013 Davide Machado (POR)
May 2013 Evaldas Butrimas (LTU)
June 2013 Minna Kauppi (FIN)
July 2013 Oleksandr Kratov (UKR)


January 2012 Alison Crocker (USA)
February 2012 Morihiro Horie (JPN)
March 2012 Polina Malchikova (RUS)
April 2012 Ionut Zinca (ROU)
May 2012 Tobias Breitschädel (AUT)
June 2012 Ivo Tišljar (CRO)
July 2012 Matthias Kyburz (SUI)
August 2012 Marika Hara (FIN)
September 2012 Lizzie Ingham (NZL)
October 2012 Tonis Erm (EST)
November 2012 Marit Wiksell (SWE)
December 2012 Tatiana Ryabkina (RUS)


February 2011 Olga Novikova (KAZ)
March 2011 Olli-Markus Taivainen (FIN)
April 2011 Emily Benham (GBR)
May 2011 Søren Saxtorph (DEN)
June 2011 Tove Alexandersson (SWE)
July 2011 Olav Lundanes (NOR)
August 2011 Thierry Gueorgiou (FRA)
September 2011 Erik Skovgaard Knudsen (DEN)
October 2011 Lauri Kontkanen (FIN)
November 2011 Annika Billstam (SWE)
December 2011 Anna Füzy (HUN)


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