It is these two who have the most illustrious assignment amongst the thousands of functionaries who make possible Vasaloppet's winter week 2015: this morning, the 2015 kranskulla Viktoria Stärner and kransmas Victor Gustafsson were presented on Swedish Television's programme Gomorron Sverige. SVT transmits TjejVasan live on 28 February for the fourth year and, on 8 March, Vasaloppet for the 38th year.
The competition management for Vasaloppet have chosen Viktoria Stärner to be the 91st kranskullan, and TjejVasan's competition management have chosen Victor Gustafsson to be the 27th kransmasen. Just now, so far, there are 65,300 participants registered for Vasaloppets winter week in February/March 2015 and 17,100 for Vasaloppets summer week in August 2015.
Competition management's motivation for nomination of Viktoria Stärner as Vasaloppets kranskulla 2015:
“This year's kranskulla is a model example for recruiting young leaders in sports through her many years commitment within IFK Mora. With an expressed wish to change the world, she has already, at her early age, acquired experience from work in three different parts of the world. Viktoria Stärner is a clear choice as kranskulla and will be an excellent ambassador for Vasaloppet in the coming year.”
Bo Johansson, Competition Manager, Vasaloppet
Facts kranskulla: Viktoria Stärner (kranskulla no.91)
Age: 21 years (born 30 March 1993)
Lives: In Uppsala, but grew up in Mora
Family: Mother Christina, Father Pär, younger sister Emma, younger brother Erik
Work: Since 2013 studying economics at Uppsala University.
Sport: Has been occupied with both gymnastics and downhill skiing and has, moreover, been a trainer in both these sports within IFK Mora.
Interests: “When I'm not studying, I train a lot and try to keep up with life as a whole, meeting with friends, being with my family and, of course, skiing!”
Describe yourself as a person: Resolute, persistent, positive and cheerful.
Kranskullan Viktoria Stärner has already managed to be both an active participant and a trainer in both IFK Mora's Gymnastic Club as well as IFK Moras Alpine Club. She has also sat as a member of the Gymnastic Club's Board.
Viktoria has also had some international commitments. In 2011 she took part in a four nations youth exchange in China with various activites and visits to, for example, Peking and to Changchun, where the Chinese Vasaloppet takes place every year. During senior high school she was also involved with United Nations questions and has been on UN courses in both Geneva and New York.
Viktoria, what did you think when you found out that you'd been chosen as kranskulla?
“I was really hugely happy! This is something you can dream about maybe, but nothing you go round hoping for or thinking about. It is absolutely an unbelievable honorary task, so I was really pleased.”
What has/does your club, IFK Mora, meant/mean for you?
“It means a very great deal to me. Most of all in the leader and trainer role; here I feel that I'm doing something important and it's so incredibly satisfying that what I can give children, in the form of both enjoyment and training in gymnastics and skiing, is quite fantastic. To get kids to understand already when they're very little just how much fun sport is and to get them to feel the community fellowship in the club. That means so very much to me.”
And what about future objectives?
“I have rather ambitious aims and I really do believe that nothing is impossible. So I see myself happily in some sort of leader or management role in a couple of years or so. In which area is a little unclear, but just some role where I can see others develop and, at the same time, I myself also develop.”
What is Vasaloppet for you?
“IFK Mora and Vasaloppet go hand in hand, and Vasaloppets winter week means such a great deal for Mora as a whole and the entire district. But then Vasaloppet also has great significance for the sports clubs, bearing in mind what's possible for the clubs to do, thanks to contributions from Vasaloppet. And one shouldn't forget that Vasaloppet is the world's greatest race!!”
Have you yourself skied any of the races? Which would you like to take on?
“Yes, I've done KortVasan three times and I definitely want to ski Vasaloppet. Of course, if I've been kranskulla, I must ski Vasaloppet. I can't promiese when this will be, but perhaps 2016…”
What expectations do you have about this year as kranskulla?
“I believe it's going to be a completely magical year and it feels so great just to be a part of all this. I hope it'll be a fantastic race with masses of snow and that I'll have time to hang the garland over the winner at the finish. So I'm full of expectations!”
Competition managements' motivation for nomination of Victor Gustafsson as Vasaloppets kransmas 2015:
“Victor Gustafsson has been chosen as the 2015 kransmas. His growth has been stamped by his commitment within both IFK Mora and Vasaloppet's various arrangements. Victor has achieved good success as an elite focused skier. As recently as this autumn he won a Swedish Championship gold on rollerskis. As a junior he represented Sweden in the junior Ski World Championships. Viktor's successes have not been easily won; his way forward has been shadowed by set-backs in the form of illness and consequent long enforced absences from training. Victor has, however, always come back, more motivated and purposeful every time to reach new goals – all this with humility, cheerfulness and a great heart for his sport, cross country skiing. Victor's personal characteristics make him eminently suitable as kransmas; always positive and cheerful, he will be an excellent ambassador for Vasaloppet.”
Karin Ersson and Maria Gustafsson, competition managers, TjejVasan
Facts kransmas: Victor Gustafsson (kransmas no.27)
Age: 24 years. (Born 9 July 1990)
Lives: In Falun, but grew up in Mora
Family: Mother Ann-Louise, Father Lars, brothers Jacob, Martin, Henric
Work: Taking a Master's Programme in Business Administration at Gävle University and is a skier!
Sport: Cross country skiing
Merits: A number of Junior Swedish Championship medals, took part in Junior World Championship 2010, Australian champion 2013, total third and two stage wins in Tour de Ski China 2014. Two Swedish Championship golds on rollerskis 2014, a win in the team sprint at the rollerski World Cup in Val di Fiemme 2014.
Interests: “My sport takes up all time, of course, but slalom is also fun, especially in the Alps. And cycling, travelling... As a skier, you choose to drop quite a lot, partying and the like, but you get so much back instead, and can come out in the world and compete.”
Describe yourself as a person: Cheerful and considerate.
Victor Gustafsson has an imposing merit list in several different sports, skiing, orienteering and rollerskiing. He's participated in Vasaloppet, HalvVasan, KortVasan, SkejtVasan, StafettVasan, CykelVasan and run VasaStafetten. In 2012 he had, moreover, a first in Vasaloppet (!) by taking the spurt prize in Smågan! His finish placing was, however, somewhat more modest.
In 2013 he was a ski trainer in Australia and, at the same time, he took the opportunity to compete in their national championships – this resulted in his becoming the Australian champion! As late as July 2014 Victor made his competition debut in rollerskiing and this led all the way to a World Cup victory in September! Victor's mother, Ann-Louise Almquist has, amongst other things, been competition manager for SkejtVasan and in 2015 is competition manager for HalvVasan. And his father, Lars Gustafsson, runs Johns Sport in Mora.
Victor, what did you think when you heard you'd been chosen as kransmas?
“It was a bit of a shock since I had thought that I was probably too old to be chosen. So I had to think a little, especially since things had gone so well in the summer and I wasn't sure how much it would affect planning for the winter. But I quickly felt that this was something I wanted to do whatever!”
How has your sporting career been?
“I've tested most things: wrestling, jujutsu, taekwondo, sailing, orienteering, athletics, football…, but, for the most part, individual sports. But in the end it was skiing since it went best there and was most fun, and I went to the ski Senior High School in Mora. The last years I've had some health problems, but I hope that's over now, so now I'm fit, eager and forward looking.”
How was it that you began to compete in rollerskiing?
“Since I'd been sick so much and not competed, I wanted to get going again and get the competitive feeling back, to be nervous before a competition. So I just ordered a pair of rollerskis and went to the Swedish Championship. It went well and it was fun with a summer sport. Then I won a competition in Idre and was able to go to the World Cup in Val di Fiemme, where I had an individual fourth, and won in the team sprint. It was terrific fun and a bit of evidence that things were going the right way for me again.”
What has/does your club, IFK Mora, meant/mean for you?
“A tremendous amount. Because they help enormously with training camps and that we all should have the best possible conditions – I know many in other clubs who are very envious of us and our planning when it come to camps and the like.”
What is Vasaloppet for you?
“It's the biggest thing that happens in the district and, for me, the winter week is the most fun week of the entire year in Mora. It really shows off and lights up Mora!”
And you know how it is to be first in Vasaloppet!?
“Yes, it was 2012 and the thing was that I'd had a stomach-disorder the days before and had thought not to take part at all. But on the Saturday I felt that maybe I should give it a go. And it went really well in the beginning and I was hanging in there well. When there was a kilometre to the first spurt prize I thought, right, now I'll give it all I've got. I was first to Smågan, but after that I'd no energy left so I stopped and ate at the checkpoints and then it was more or less “walking speed” to the finish... It was a bit special to be leading Vasaloppet! I will definitely ski more races, but perhaps not Vasaloppet this winter...”
What are your goals for the future?
“I'm just pleased to be able to compete again, and hope that I can do it well, and then I must take it from there. But it'll be great to get going again for real.”
What expectations do you have about this year as kransmas?
“It'll be massive fun and exciting. I hope that I'll learn much from it. This is really something new that I'm going to be doing.”
Footnote: Kranskullan in Vasaloppet made her debut already in connection with very first race in 1922, while kransmasen made his entré when the first TjejVasan was run in 1988. Since 2005, the kransmasen also places the victory garland on the ladies' winner of Vasaloppet. Also during Vasaloppets summer week, which began in 2009, the kranskullan are kransmasen are on duty.
Coming arrangements in Vasalopps Arena:
Vasaloppets winter week 2015
Fri 27 Feb: KortVasan. 30 km.
Sat 28 Feb: TjejVasan. 30 km. (10,000 entries. FULL 6/10/2014))
Sun 1 Mar: UngdomsVasan. 3, 5, 7 or 9 km.
Sun 1 Mar: Öppet Spår Sunday. 90 km. (10,000 entries. FULL 21/5/2014)
Mon 2 Mar: Öppet Spår Monday. 90 km. (8,000 entries. FULL 13/9/2014)
Tues 3 Mar: HalvVasan. 45 km.
Fri 6 Mar: StafettVasan. 24, 24, 14, 9 and 19 km. (8,000 entries. FULL 16/3/2014)
Sun 8 Mar: Vasaloppet. 90 km. (15,800 entries. FULL 16/3/2014)
Vasaloppets summer week 2015
Fri 14 Aug: CykelVasan 30. 30 km. Start Oxberg.
Fri 14 Aug: UngdomsCykelVasan. 30 km. Start Oxberg.
Fri 14 Aug: CykelVasan 45. 45 km. Start Oxberg.
Fri 14 Aug: CykelVasan Öppet Spår. 95 km. Start Sälen.
Sat 15 Aug: CykelVasan 90. 95 km. Start Sälen. (12,000 entries. FULL 1/10/2014)
Sat 22 Aug: UltraVasan 45. 45 km. Start Oxberg.
Sat 22 Aug: UltraVasan 90. 90 km. Start Sälen.
Sat 22 Aug: VasaStafetten. 4.5–15 km. Running relay race for ten person teams. Start Sälen.