It was a brilliant night for Swedish athletics at the Swedish Sports Awards on Monday (17) evening which was capped by Armand Duplantis being crowned Sportsman of the Year for the third time.
Still only 22, Duplantis added the European indoor and Olympic gold medals to his rapidly growing list of accolades. His consistency at the highest level was also unparalleled as he cleared 6.00m or higher in 12 of his 17 competitions in 2021.
Duplantis was shortlisted alongside fellow Olympic champion Daniel Stahl who won the discus title in Tokyo, Olympic equestrian champion Peder Fredricson and world champion speed skater Nils van der Poel.
“First, I want to say thank you to the Swedish people. You mean so much to me. Everyone has supported me so much and I am so grateful. I want to make you proud. And I will continue to do so.
“In 2021 it was my biggest goal to take the Olympic gold. Representing Sweden was an honour and I am so happy that I was able to win for you,” said Duplantis who also paid tribute to his parents Greg and Helena who also serve as his coaches.
“I want to say thank you to my mum and dad. They are the best and they have been since the beginning.”
The Coach of the Year award went to Vesteinn Hafsteinsson who coached Stahl and Simon Pettersson to gold and silver respectively in the discus at the Tokyo Olympics. His stable of athletes also includes Fanny Roos who won silver in the shot put at the 2021 European Indoor Championships.
“I was very moved when I received this award. Since I was a little boy, I have dreamed of becoming a coach,” said Hafsteinsson who competed for Iceland in the discus at four editions of the Olympic Games.
Maja Askag was also named Newcomer of the Year across all sports after her breakout season which saw her scoop the long jump and triple jump titles at both the European Athletics U20 Championships in Tallinn and one month later at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi.
Askag, who jumped a marginally wind-aided 6.80m to win the long jump title in Tallinn and has already surpassed the 14 metre-line in the triple jump as well, is still planning to combine both events for the foreseeable.
“There are many who ask, we will see. Right now it works well but in the future we will see if the body lasts, it is very individual. For some, it lasts a lifetime while others feel they have to choose, so we'll see,” she said.