Two athletics competitors have made the final cut for tomorrow's Jerringspriset - a prestigious annual Swedish award sponsored by Sveriges Radio which honours our nation's best sports performance of the year.
Susanna Kallur and Carolina Klüft have been selected among the 10 finalists vying for the coveted award, and will be on hand tomorrow evening at Globen in Stockholm in anticipation of being selected highest among their peers in sports such as alpine skiing, curling, ice hockey, cross country skiing and biathlon.
Jerringpriset, which had its origin in 1979, is the only sports distinction in Sweden which is solely voted on by the Swedish people rather than by a panel.
The annual prize is handed out for the year's best Swedish sports performance, preferably against an international backdrop and perspective.
Winners can be selected on more than one occasion during their careers - as either individuals or an entire team, and the prize is not limited to athletes. Coaches can also be selected for the award.
Jerringpriset was borne 28 years ago out of the memory of legendary Sveriges Radio's Sven Jerring, who got his start with Sveriges Radio (then called Radiotjänst) in 1925 with calling the shots from Vasaloppet, among other sporting events.
The nominees are selected by Radiosporten's editorial staff, and the total number of candidates can vary from year to year. Fifteen nominees were presented at the end of 2006, with the year's best Swedish sports performance voted upon by the public through several methods including telephone and internet.
Christian Olsson was nominated as well, but did not make the cut.
Kallur seems a very likely candidate from an athletics perspective, having won the European Championships here on our home soil - our third gold of the August championships (Olsson and Klüft won the others).
Kallur handily won the European Championships short hurdles race, winning by 0,13 seconds over Irishwoman Derval O'Rourke, the 2006 World Indoor Champion, who set a new Irish national record with her 12,72 performance. Germany's Kirsten Bolm took home the bronze with the same time clocking as O'Rourke.
Klüft, who won the 2005 Women's Athlete-of-the-Year (video link), the 2003 and 2004 Performance-of-the-year (video link) and the 2003 Jerringpriset award, became historic with her victory in the heptathlon, becoming the first woman to ever win five-consecutive outdoor heptathlon championships. She is trained by Agne Bergwall, and has continued to compete for her hometown IFK Växjö despite living down in Karlskrona.
The categories which athletes will be voted on to win prizes are: The Year's Best Women's Athlete; The Year's Best Men's Athlete; The Year's Best Sports Team; The Year's Best Performance; The Year's Top Newcomer; The Year's Best Sports Leader; The Year's Best Functionally-hindered Athlete; and the Year's Honour Prize.
Other prizes which will be dealt out on Tuesday are the Jerringpriset, itself, as well as TV Sportens Sportspegelpris - an award of honour which is handed out to one recipient who has been on the Sportspegeln programme during the year; Svenska Spel Stipendiet - an award which will enable youth involved in sports at the national team level to both study and compete parallel to those studies; and Forskarpriset - an award which is designated for an established researcher who deepens knowledge for others through their research.
Though both Kallur and Klüft had remarkable seasons, it appears that Anja Pärson may have had the greater success, having captured gold in the Giant Slalom and Super-G at the Winter Olympics in Torino, and taking the overall Super-G grand prix as well.
Stefan Holm was the last athletics winner, taking home the honours in 2004 as well as taking home both the 2005 Men's Athlete of the Year distinction (video link) and the Year's Best Sports Performance (video link). Holm's father, Johnny, took home the TV-Sportens Sportspegelpris (video link).
The year 2005 was also kind to Yannick Tregaro, as he was selected The Year's Top Coach (video link).
Sanna Kallur contests the 100 metre hurdles. She was born on 1981-February-16. She is 170 cm tall and weighs 61 kg at optimum competition. She competes for Falu IK under coaches Agne Bergwall and Karin Torneklint. Sanna won the 2006 European Championships in the 100m hurdles to compliment her 2005 European indoor gold at 60m hurdles. "Sanna", as she is called by fans, has 15 national titles - both indoors and out - to her credit She placed third in the 2006 World Indoor Championships in the 60m hurdles.
Carolina contests the heptathlon and long jump. She was born on 1983-February-2. She is 178 cm tall and weighs 65 kg at optimum competition. Klüft competes for IFK Växjö under coach Agne Bergwall. Klüft's record to date: 2006 European Champion in the heptathlon. 2005 World Champion in the heptathlon. 2004 Olympic Gold medalist (heptathlon). 2003 World Champion in the heptathlon. 2003 Indoor World Champion in the pentathlon. 2003 Under-23 European Gold medalist in the long jump. 2002 European Champion in the heptathlon. 2002 World Junior Champion in the heptathlon. 2000 World Junior Champion in the heptathlon. 2004 Indoor World Championships bronze medalist in the long jump. 2002 European Indoor bronze medalist in the pentathlon. 1999 Gold medalist in the high jump at the Junior Olympics.
2006 Nominees: Alpine: Anja Pärson; Curling: Team and Anette Norberg; Hockey: Tre Kronor; Hockey: Damkronorna (women's national team); Athletics: Susanna Kallur; Athletics: Carolina Klüft, Diving: Anna Lindberg; Skiing: Anna Dahlberg–Lina Andersson; Skiing: Björn Lind; Biathlon: Anna Carin Olofsson.
Did Not Make Cut: Golf: Annika Sörenstam; Innebandy: Men's National Team; Swimming: Therese Alshammar; Athletics: Christian Olsson; Canoe: Markus Oscarsson.
Source: Sveriges Radio