A few weeks ago, at the end of February, there was a celebration for Olympic gold medal winner Marcus Hellner here in Gällivare. Hellner won gold in the 4 x 10 km relay, and silver in the skiathlon in Sochi this year for Sweden! (Cross country skiing for those of you who don’t know). 4 years ago in Vancouver he also won Sweden gold in both of those events. Hellner went the the ski gymnasium here in Gällivare, so he lived here for 4 years of high school and then continued to live here some after that!
Celine and I went to the event to take some pictures for class, so it was a really cool experience to stand in the front with all of the media.
The event started with thousands of people crowded around the stage, and some live music and dancing. Marcus’ parents were interviewed and so were the coaches at the ski gymnasium here and some ski students. There was a host, we’re not quite sure who he was, although he reminded us of Haymitch from the Hunger Games. He had a CD he was handing out to the children who volunteered to come and sing a song on stage, so I suppose he was someone sort of famous.
Marcus came about an hour after the celebration started by a police escort to the stage. After he came on stage there were some more interviews done with him and his family, and he was given a few gifts (from LKAB and the community I think). He received some baby ski strollers, because his wife is expecting soon and a beautiful picture of Dundret. When Marcus was asked Gällivare or anywhere else in Sweden (Österstund where he trains sometimes for example) he always responds Gällivare!
Apparently these gifts weren’t as nice as the first Olympics he participated in, because then he received a new Volvo, new snowmobile, got a cross country ski stadium named after him and a cabin on Dundret, or at least that’s what my host dad told me.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have his actual medals with him, but they gave him these medals still anyways.
The celebration ended with one last song, with Marcus taking over the drums. He’s pretty talented playing them actually!
After it was over, we went backstage and as Hellner a question for the school newspaper. We also took a picture with him of course because we’re exchange students.
It was really funny because the celebration was broadcasted online and on TV I believe, so awhile after everyone was telling me that they saw me on TV standing next to Hellner!
Over all it was a fun night and it’s really cool to say that I have met an Olympic gold medalist and that he even lives in the same small down as I do!