Thomas Wassberg
Thomas Wassberg 2013-12-11 001.jpg
Thomas Wassberg in December 2013
Country Sweden
Full nameLars Thomas Wassberg
Born (1956-03-27) 27 March 1956 (age 66)
Lennartsfors, Värmland, Sweden
Height185 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Ski clubÅsarna IK
World Cup career
Seasons7 – (19821988)
Individual wins6
Team wins7
Indiv. podiums18
Team podiums10
Indiv. starts44
Team starts11
Overall titles0 – (2nd in 1982, 1984, 1987)
Medal record
Men's cross-country skiing
Representing  Sweden
International nordic ski competitions
Event 1st 2nd 3rd
Olympic Games 4 0 0
World Championships 3 3 1
Total 7 3 1
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1980 Lake Placid 15 km
Gold medal – first place 1984 Sarajevo 50 km
Gold medal – first place 1984 Sarajevo 4 × 10 km relay
Gold medal – first place 1988 Calgary 4 × 10 km relay
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1982 Oslo 50 km
Gold medal – first place 1987 Oberstdorf 30 km classical
Gold medal – first place 1987 Oberstdorf 4 × 10 km relay
Silver medal – second place 1985 Seefeld 15 km
Silver medal – second place 1987 Oberstdorf 15 km classical
Silver medal – second place 1987 Oberstdorf 50 km freestyle
Bronze medal – third place 1985 Seefeld 4 × 10 km relay

Thomas Lars Wassberg (born 27 March 1956) is a Swedish former cross-country skier. A fast skating style – push for every leg – is still called "Wassberg" after him in several countries. Wassberg's skiing idols when growing up were Sixten Jernberg and Oddvar Brå. He has described his mental strength and physical fitness as his greatest abilities as a skier, with his main weakness being a lack of sprinting ability.[1]

Wassberg won four Olympic gold medals: in 15 km (1980), 50 km (1984), and the 4 × 10 km relay (1984, 1988), and served as the Olympic flag bearer for Sweden in 1988.[2] At the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, he earned three golds (50 km: 1982, 30 km: 1987, and 4 × 10 km relay: 1987), three silvers (15 km: 1985, 1987; 50 km (1987), and one bronze (4 × 10 km relay: 1985). Additionally, Wassberg won the 50 km at the Holmenkollen ski festival three times (1980, 1982 and 1987) and the 15 km twice (1979, 1985).[3]

At the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, Wassberg edged out Finland's Juha Mieto by 0.01 seconds in the 15 km, the closest cross-country ski race in Olympic history. Wassberg subsequently suggested to Mieto that the gold medal should be split between them "as one one-hundredth of a second is nothing in a 15-kilometer race". This incident led the International Ski Federation (FIS) to change their timing to the nearest one-tenth of a second. It also resulted in an apocryphal urban legend that Wassberg and Mieto's medals were cut in half and re-welded into half-gold, half-silver medals.[4] At the 1984 Winter Olympics, Wassberg beat out fellow Swede Gunde Svan by 4.9 seconds in the 50 km, the closest margin of victory ever in that event until Giorgio Di Centa edged out Yevgeny Dementyev by 0.8 seconds at the 2006 Winter Olympics though the 2006 event was a mass start event while the 1984 event was an interval start event.

He won the World Cup in 1977, and in 1980 was awarded the Holmenkollen medal. For some reason his teammate Sven-Åke Lundbäck did not receive the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal in 1978. In protest to this decision Wassberg refused to accept his Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal in 1980.[3][5]

According to Bengt Erik Bengtsson, Chief of the Nordic Office of the FIS from 1984 to 2004, Wassberg was the first to suggest in 1984 the splitting of the sport of cross country skiing into classic and freestyle disciplines. This was subsequently implemented by FIS in 1986.[6]

After retiring from competitions Wassberg worked as a sports reporter for Swedish Radio and a cross-country skiing coach for his club Åsarna IK. In 2009 he appeared on Swedish television in the show contests Mästarnas mästare, and in 2016 participated in Let's Dance 2016 which was broadcast on TV4.[7] In the 2010s he oversaw the preparation of ski tracks for Åsarna IK, organized bird hunting events for tourists and worked as a forester.[3]

Cross-country skiing results

All results are sourced from the International Ski Federation (FIS).[8]

Olympic Games

 Year   Age   15 km   30 km   50 km   4 × 10 km 
 relay 
1976 19 15 4
1980 23 Gold 4 5
1984 27 14 Gold Gold
1988 31 42 DNF Gold

World Championships

 Year   Age   15 km   30 km   50 km   4 × 10 km 
 relay 
1982 25 18 16 Gold 5
1985 28 Silver 4 Bronze
1987 30 Silver Gold Silver Gold

World Cup

Season standings

 Season   Age  Overall
1982 25 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
1983 26 5
1984 27 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
1985 28 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
1986 29 15
1987 30 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
1988 31 19

Individual podiums

No. Season Date Location Race Level Place
1 1981–82 9 January 1982 West Germany Reit im Winkl, West Germany 15 km Individual World Cup 3rd
2 16 January 1982 Switzerland Le Brassus, Switzerland 15 km Individual World Cup 2nd
3 27 February 1982 Norway Oslo, Norway 50 km Individual World Championships[1] 1st
4 12 March 1982 Sweden Falun, Sweden 30 km Individual World Cup 3rd
5 19 March 1982 Czechoslovak Socialist Republic Štrbské Pleso, Czechoslovakia 15 km Individual World Cup 2nd
6 1982–83 26 February 1983 Sweden Falun, Sweden 30 km Individual World Cup 2nd
7 27 March 1983 Canada Labrador City, Canada 30 km Individual World Cup 3rd
8 1983–84 19 February 1984 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Sarajevo, Yugoslavia 50 km Individual Olympic Games[1] 1st
9 25 February 1984 Sweden Falun, Sweden 30 km Individual World Cup 2nd
10 2 March 1984 Finland Lahti, Finland 15 km Individual World Cup 2nd
11 1984–85 22 January 1985 Austria Seefeld, Austria 15 km Individual World Championships[1] 2nd
12 9 March 1985 Sweden Falun, Sweden 30 km Individual World Cup 3rd
13 14 March 1985 Norway Oslo, Norway 15 km Individual World Cup 1st
14 1985–86 8 March 1986 Sweden Falun, Sweden 30 km Individual C World Cup 1st
15 1986–87 12 February 1987 West Germany Oberstdorf, West Germany 30 km Individual C World Championships[1] 1st
16 15 February 1987 15 km Individual C World Championships[1] 2nd
17 21 February 1987 50 km Individual F World Championships[1] 2nd
18 21 March 1987 Norway Oslo, Norway 50 km Individual C World Cup 1st

Team podiums

No. Season Date Location Race Level Place Teammates
1 1983–84 16 February 1984 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Sarajevo, Yugoslavia 4 × 10 km Relay Olympic Games[1] 1st Kohlberg / Ottosson / Svan
2 26 February 1984 Sweden Falun, Sweden 4 × 10 km Relay World Cup 1st Östlund / Ottosson / Svan
3  1984–85  24 January 1985 Austria Seefeld, Austria 4 × 10 km Relay World Championships[1] 3rd Östlund / Eriksson / Svan
4 10 March 1985 Sweden Falun, Sweden 4 × 10 km Relay World Cup 2nd Östlund / Mogren / Svan
5 17 March 1985 Norway Oslo, Norway 4 × 10 km Relay World Cup 1st Eriksson / Danielsson / Svan
6  1985–86  13 March 1986 Norway Oslo, Norway 4 × 10 km Relay F World Cup 3rd Majbäck / Håland / Danielsson
7 1986–87 17 February 1987 West Germany Oberstdorf, West Germany 4 × 10 km Relay F World Championships[1] 1st Östlund / Svan / Mogren
8 8 March 1987 Sweden Falun, Sweden 4 × 10 km Relay C World Cup 1st Östlund / Mogren / Majbäck
9 19 March 1987 Norway Oslo, Norway 4 × 10 km Relay C World Cup 1st Ottosson / Mogren / Eriksson
10 1987–88 24 February 1988 Canada Calgary, Canada 4 × 10 km Relay F Olympic Games[1] 1st Ottosson / Svan / Mogren

Note: 1 Until the 1999 World Championships and the 1994 Winter Olympics, World Championship and Olympic races were included in the World Cup scoring system.

References

  1. ^ "Cross Country Legend Thomas Wassberg (SWE) in Interview". Fischer Sports. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  2. ^ Sweden. sports-reference.com
  3. ^ a b c Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Thomas Wassberg". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020.
  4. ^ Perman, Cindy (2013). New York Curiosities, 2nd: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 151. ISBN 9780762774968.
  5. ^ Thomas Wassberg. Swedish Olympic Committee
  6. ^ Bengt Erik Bengtsson (2010). "Cross country skating: how it started". Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Deltagare i Let's dance – tv4.se". tv4.se. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  8. ^ "WASSBERG Thomas". FIS-Ski. International Ski Federation. Retrieved 14 January 2020.