Tove Alexandersson – Ski Orienteering Athlete of the Year 2017

Posted on | December 12, 2017 | Category: Arena, News, SkiO

Three golds in the World Championships. Two golds and two silvers in the European Championships.

That is the Tove Alexandersson record in Ski Orienteering in 2017. And they were also the results that gave her the title of IOF Athlete of the Year in Ski Orienteering. “The races I had in the World Championships in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, were the best ever in my career as a Ski Orienteer,” says Alexandersson.

Tove Alexandersson has been collecting a lot of medals in the different championships for several years, even before 2017. But the question is, if her speed in picking medals during February and March 2017 was her best ever.

Pole problems in Finland

It started with the European Championships in a very chilly Imatra, Finland. Alexandersson started the week in Finland with a gold already in the first event, the Sprint. And that even though she had big problems with her pole, which she broke right at the beginning of the race. The handle came loose from the rest of the pole after a fall. “I had to take a tight grip on the pole during the whole race, so as not to lose it. It was an extra thing to have to concentrate on, and I´m really satisfied that I was so stable in my orienteering in spite of that problem. But when I had passed the last control I dropped the thoughts about the pole, and that meant that I lost the pole just before the finish line,” says Tove Alexandersson with a laugh.

In fact she had problems with her pole, another one though, also during the Relay. The race ended with a Swedish silver. On the days before that she had won the Middle and was second in the Long Distance. “The World Championships was my biggest goal for last season. I wasn´t in my best shape in Finland, but I felt that I was going the right way physically, technically and mentally, and that was important for the preparations for the World Championships in Russia.”

World Championships: big expectations, perfect races

Tove Alexandersson travelled to Krasnoyarsk with big expectations on her shoulders. And the high expectations were definitely fulfilled. She won the Sprint Relay (with Erik Rost), she won the Sprint and she won the Middle. “They were almost perfect races for me. I didn´t make any mistakes at all. I think they were my best races in Ski Orienteering ever. Unfortunately the last part of the adventure in Russia wasn´t what I wanted. My room-mate Magdalena Olsson got the flu the day before the Long Distance. I was uncertain before the start, and I decided that if I should feel anything strange in my body during the race I would retire from the competition immediately. And that was the case, and I felt the flu for a couple of weeks afterwards.”

The new season: “time for decent training sessions”

At the time of this interview Tove Alexandersson has started her final preparations for the new Ski Orienteering season. The World Cup starts in November in Ylläs, Finland, it continues with the European Championships in Velingrad, Bulgaria in February, and the World Cup finals are arranged to be in Vermont, USA in March. “It is quite a long time between the competitions, and that makes it possible to have decent training sessions between them. And also time to reduce the training before each big competition. For me, focusing on both Orienteering and Ski Orienteering, it is great to have some weeks between the biggest goal for each season, so that I have the chance to do some running even in the winter.”

The focus on two sports means that the competition programme is really intense for Alexandersson. But she considers that it is an advantage in the training: “Since I can vary my training with for instance running and roller skiing, I can train harder without struggling so hard. For instance I think that I´m pretty good at feeling my body and changing from running to roller skiing if I´m sore in the body after running. But of course it is sometimes tough to compete in two sports, but that´s something that really suits me,” says Tove Alexandersson.

And with her results from 2017 in mind, there is no reason to doubt that.

 

MÅRTEN LÅNG, Editor Skogssport – official magazine of the Swedish Orienteering Federation

Photo: Malin Fuhr

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