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Sara Eriksson, Legendary Swedish Freestyle Wrestler

Her snow seems to blanket the land with sparkling diamond like crystals that creates an aura of magic. Her women are arguably some of the most beautiful in the world. Her sense of tolerance, though not perfect, lends hope to the rest of us what the human race is capable of on our best days.

There is so much to like about Sweden so when I read that the timeless beautiful actress Anita Ekberg has finally run out of time, it made me reflect on one of the greatest Swedish female freestyle wrestlers in history, Sara Eriksson.

fciwomenswrestling.com article, Wikimedia photo
fciwomenswrestling.com article, Wikimedia photo

Ms. Ekberg if you remember mesmerized us with the sensuous fountain scene in Federico Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita, which vaulted her to the status of an international sex symbol.

Though Sweden is a country with a long proud wrestling history, Sara Eriksson certainly helped bring more attention to our great sport with her exceptional achievements on the mats.[adToAppearHere]

Born in Lulea Sweden, now retired, Sara is a freestyle wrestler, who competed in the women`s middleweight category. Considered one of the world`s top female wrestlers of her decade, Eriksson has yielded a remarkable tally of fourteen career medals, including two golds at the World Championship om 1995 and 1996.

Sara also had an opportunity to compete for Sweden at the 2004 Summer Olympics, finishing tenth in the 63-kg division. Before her sporting career ended shortly after the Games, Eriksson trained as a member of the wrestling team for Örgryte Sporting Club (Swedish: Örgryte Idrottsällskap) in Gothenburg, under her personal coach and husband Pierre Dikanda.

Before she appeared at the Olympics, Ms. Eriksson held a stunning combined record of thirteen medals; three of which came from the World Championships, and the rest from the European Championships, including two more golds to add to her career library.[adToAppearHere]

At the 2002 World Wrestling Championships in Chalcis, Greece, Ms. Eriksson overcame her six-year struggle to reach the final match in the 63-kg division and earned the silver medal after being pinned by Japan’s Kaori Icho.

When women’s wrestling made its debut at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Ms. Eriksson qualified for the Swedish squad, as a 30-year-old veteran, in the 63 kg class. Earlier in the process, she earned an Olympic spot by taking second at the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tunis, Tunisia.

On August 22, 2014, it was announced by FILA, the international governing body for the sport of wrestling, that Sara Eriksson was named as an inductee into its 2014 Hall of Fame Class.

It’s time to visit Sarah’s hometown.

fciwomenswrestling.com article, Wikimedia photo
fciwomenswrestling.com article, Wikimedia photo

The global information source Wikipedia shares, Luleå is a quiet city on the coast of northern Sweden with 46,607 inhabitants and is the capital of Norrbotten County.

The town’s Royal charter was granted in 1621 by King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. The original town was situated where Gammelstad (Old Town) is situated today. The town had to be moved in 1649 to the current site, due to the post-glacial rebound that had made the bay too shallow for ships to enter.

The Gammelstad Church Town is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

fciwomenswrestling.com article, Wikimedia photo
fciwomenswrestling.com article, Wikimedia photo

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place (such as a forest, mountain, lake, island, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of special cultural or physical significance.

In 1887, a devastating fire destroyed most of the town, sparing only a few buildings. The Neo-Gothic Cathedral (originally the Oscar Fredrik church), dedicated in 1893, standing at 67 meters (220 ft.), is the tallest building in town.

The resourceful site swedishlapland.com adds, “A center for growth, Luleå is situated in the province of Norrbotten that spans a quarter of Sweden´s surface area.

fciwomenswrestling.com article, Wikimedia photo
fciwomenswrestling.com article, Wikimedia photo

Luleå is truly a place of contrast. You will be surprised by the international atmosphere of the city and at the same time enjoy the closeness to unspoiled countryside which opens up for unlimited possibilities.

Luleå can offer you action-packed adventure but here you can also enjoy tranquility, peace and quiet. In winter the town is clothed in white but in summer it’s embraced by sun and heat.”

A college town and an important high-tech center, Luleå is a very pedestrian-friendly town with several parks and a sparkling bay with a marina.

There are other fun ways to travel in style. The travel adventure site wikitravel.org showcases, “Luleå is the easternmost point in the Swedish rail network. The city is connected to Stockholm by the over 100 year old Norra Stambanan-rail, which travels way into the inner parts of northern Sweden before meeting the coast again at Gävle.”

In watching Sara perform during her matches, it was like watching a relentless warrior roll to a slow victory march. Her style was unyielding as she continued to apply pressure on the same hold until her victim finally succumbed. She was very effective at engaging in the standing position and before you know it quickly entrapped her opponent’s arm and flipped her on the ground to finish the job.

The name Eriksson is a common Swedish patronymic surname meaning “son of Erik”, itself an Old Norse given name. The most famous Icelander, and Viking explorer was Erik the Red.  He was born in Iceland of Norwegian decent. During the Viking Age overpopulation became a leading reason to search for new lands and the migration to them. The first stage of these migrations was to England and the European mainland.

That was a small part of history, but as time marches forward, many milestones in time encourage us to look back at those who graced enhanced and excelled at the highest level, creating moments that are timeless and records that may never be broken.

Female Competition International would like to express appreciation to Sara Anne Eriksson for being a great champion who helped project dignified competitive women’s wrestling into the future.

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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling.com, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, femcompetitor.com, gettysburg.edu/, swedishlapland.com, wikitravel.org, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.

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