Who is Who
Lena Nordahl

Lena Nordahl, W80, SWE

(NOTE - In fact, it is not one but three interviews: with Lena Nordahl, W80; with her husband, Arne Nordahl, M80; and with their son, Per Nordahl, also an orieenter but this time coming to Portugal as a tour operator. Following the rules of this column, we had to put in evidence only one name and... ladies first! Picture on the right side shows the couple. On left, we have Per Nordahl, last July, in 5 Days.)


You won the gold medal in Lithuania 2001. What memories do you have from this event?
The event in Lithuania is an unforgettable experience, the highlight of my sporting career. I did not expect to win, so the victory was a big surprise to me. I really liked the terrain and the maps. I have been to lots of WMOC events around the world. They have all been very well organised and I have only good memories.

Are you in good shape now? Are you able to win again? Who else can win your class?
I am not in good shape at the moment. I have recently gone through an operation in my knee, so this year I am satisfied just to participate. There are quite a few good runners in my class that can win if they have a lucky day. My special favourite is Karin Rehn. She is a very skilful orienteer.

How did you discover orienteering?
I discovered orienteering in 1943. I was first introduced to the sport on a sports day in school. I thought it was fun and contacted the nearest club and got caught.


You won the gold medal in Australia 1992. What memories do you have from this event?
It was a very good event (it always is when you win!!!) The terrain in Tasmania is very special with the eucalypt trees and deep furrows crossing the area.

In the last two years you got honourable 6th places. How was it in Austria and in Finland?
I was doing well in both races except for bad mistakes on the 8th control point on both of them. So this year, in Portugal, I will be extra careful and smart when I approach control point number 8.

How did you discover orienteering?
I discovered orienteering in 1946. I played football and a friend in the team introduced me to orienteering and I got caught.


Indicate the highlights of your sporting careers.
The victories of WMOC are the highlights of our sporting careers. Other memorable events are the Swedish National Championships for veterans and for Lena also the bronze medal on the Nordic Championships in 1948. The absolute top highlight is however when we met on a training camp in 1949.

Date of birth and where do you live?
We were both born in 1926. We live in a small town, Ängelholm, in the south of Sweden.

Do you have particular memories from any orienteering travel?
Orienteering has given us the possibility to visit interesting places far away from where tourists normally go. We have been to a lot of countries in different parts of the world. We have competed in every country in Western Europe except for Portugal and now we are looking forward to visiting your country and experience your orienteering. It is not possible to pick out a favourite trip among all our orienteering trips. They have all been interesting and nice in this way or the other. One outstanding memory however is from a competition outside New York where there was a rattlesnake just beside one of the control points.

What kind of training do you use to do?
We do not train a lot nowadays. Every second week a group of elderly orienteers come together for training and fun and once and a while we take part in a training competition. We have never trained a lot actually. We believe that if you want a long sporting life it is better not to take it too seriously. It is more important that there is pleasure and joy.
What about your club?
Our club is Örkelljunga FK. We have been members since 1954. We have had all kinds of tasks in the club. Arne has been a member of the council for more than 40 years, both as secretary and treasurer. Örkelljunga FK was founded in 1937 and has 250 members at the moment. The club had its peak period in 1970-1990 with quite a few Swedish champions, among them our son Per Nordahl.

Can you leave a message to the other competitors?
Enjoy the nature and the company of friends and relatives. This is what we are going to do. We stay here with some members of the family (children and grandchildren) and we are looking forward to a couple of nice and exciting days in Portugal.


Per, you will come to Portugal as a tour operator. How many people and from which countries are travelling with you in June?
We have today 470 travellers in our group representing Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

What exactly is Per Nordahl AB Orienteering Tours?
Just a company arranging tours for orienteers... Started with small arrangements for friends during the 70th and have since 1980 continued with these tours as part of a work in a more professional way. In the beginning was it mainly training tours for younger runners but today are most clients Masters. The tour to Portugal will be our 19th (with more than 4.000 travellers) to WMOC and similar veteran events.

Do you have any special story to tell us from one of these tours?
There are so many fantastic memories from so many tours with so many orienteering friends...
But a very special memory is from the Northern Territory, Australia when I was travelling alone and prepared for our WMOC 2000 tour. During my driving up to Kings Canyon had I not met any car for the last 50km and the next one came 80km later. Not either did I see any houses or connection roads, just the main road crossing the desert. When getting dusk I needed to stop the car to clean the window and then very abrupt I understood my situation. I had to walk around 200 meters away from the car not to hear the small buttonings from the warm engine. The silence was so compact that my chest just got oppressed. I have no idea if any aboriginals were living out there in the desert, if not could I probably been the only human within 50km or more.

You have performed, some years ago, important functions in O-ringen organization. Can you explain what exactly have you done?
The O-ringen was originally an organization for elite runners who had taken part in the Swedish national team and it was 2 members from this organisation who once started the O-ringen event. I was president of this organisation 1978-85 when we tried to develop both Swedish elite orienteering and to spread the sport international.

Have you had any responsible position in your club or in your federation?
Former I have been working in the council in my club and my district plus also had commissions in working groups both national and international. I also was the first instructor at the Orienteering gymnasium in Sandviken and now, 32 years later, have I decided to start a new Orienteering gymnasium in south Sweden this autumn!

As an orienteer, what are the highlights of your sporting career?
The absolute highlight is when I became Swedish Champion 1977. Still we are just 2 runners from my part of Sweden who have succeeded with this on the classic distance. 2nd highlight is when I became Swedish Junior Champion in night orienteering 1974. I won with 9.18 minutes which still is among the top 10 for larges winning marginal in Swedish championships.

What do you expect from WMOC 2008?
Good weather (!) and I look forward to good competitions and to get satisfied travellers!

(Interview by Manuel Dias. Questions and answers by e-mail. Answers from Lena and Arne received on 2008 Feb 11th, answers from Per received on 2008 April 5th.)

[2008-06-20] Carlos Monteiro, WMOC Event Director

[2008-06-20] Dieter Wolf, M55, SUI

[2008-06-19] Timo Teinila, WMOC speaker

[2008-06-19] Jorge Simões, WMOC Event Director assistant

[2008-06-18] Blair Trewin, M35, AUS

[2008-06-18] Mariett Matias, WMOC Media responsible

[2008-06-17] David May, WMOC Senior Event Advisor

[2008-06-16] Gottfried Tobler, M60, AUT

[2008-06-16] Tuulikki Salmenkylä, W45, FIN

[2008-06-16] Arvo Majoinen, M80, FIN

[2008-06-14] Fernando Costa, WMOC Marketing responsible

[2008-06-13] Sarah Dunn, W40, GBR

[2008-06-12] Santos Sousa, WMOC planner

[2008-06-11] Sigurd Daehli, M55, NOR

[2008-06-10] Alexandre Reis, WMOC mapper and planner

[2008-06-09] Nick Duca, M40, CAN

[2008-06-07] Tiago Aires, WMOC mapper and planner

[2008-06-06] Irina Stepanova, W55, RUS

[2008-06-05] Luís Sérgio, WMOC mapper

[2008-06-04] Ari Kattainen, M50, FIN

[2008-06-03] Rui Antunes, WMOC Mapping coordinator

[2008-06-02] Jon Musgrave, M45, GBR

[2008-05-31] Jacinto Eleutério, WMOC Course coordinator

[2008-05-30] Rune Carlsson, M70, SWE

[2008-05-29] Åke Jacobson, IOF President

[2008-05-29] Augusto Almeida, POF President

[2008-05-28] Jurate Uleviciene, W55, LIT

[2008-05-26] Vladimir Ioffe, M70, ISR

[2008-05-23] José Fernandes, M45, POR

[2008-05-21] Ezio Paris, M55, ITA

[2008-05-19] Gabriella Györffy, W40, HUN

[2008-05-16] Alberto Minguez, M40, ESP

[2008-05-14] Tomas Zdrahal, M55, CZE

[2008-05-12] Paulo Becker, M45, BRA

[2008-05-09] Ingrid Roll, W70, NOR

[2008-05-07] Jerzy Parzewski, M55, POL

[2008-05-05] Hugh Moore, M60, AUS

[2008-05-02] Martin Checkley, M55, GBR

[2008-04-30] Etienne Bousser, M60, FRA

[2008-04-28] Andreas Grote, M40, SUI

[2008-04-24] Liudmila Labutina, W65, RUS

[2008-04-22] Freddy Sillien, M60, BEL

[2008-04-17] Tomislav Kaniski, M35, CRO

[2008-04-14] Eero Tuuteri, M85, FIN

[2008-04-10] Lena Nordahl, W80, SWE

[2008-04-07] Albano João, M45, POR

[2008-04-03] Tom A. Karlsen, M55, NOR

[2008-03-31] Kayoko Sakai, W55, JPN

[2008-03-27] Finn Arildsen, M45, DEN

[2008-03-24] Anne Nurmi, W45, FIN

[2008-03-20] Peo Bengtsson, M75, SWE

[2008-03-17] Alida Abola, W50, LAT

[2008-03-13] Matti Railimo, M60, FIN

[2008-03-10] Cornelia Eckardt, W35, GER

[2008-03-06] Joaquim Sousa, M35, POR

[2008-03-03] Birgitta Olsson, W75, SWE

[2008-02-20] J. Salmenkylä, M75, FIN

[2008-02-18] Torid Kvaal, W65, NOR

[2008-02-15] Mykola Bozhko, M55, UKR

[2008-02-13] Pavlina Brautigam, W45, USA

[2008-02-11] Ferran Santoyo, M35, ESP

[2008-02-08] Sole Nieminen, W80, FIN

[2008-02-06] Stefano Galletti, M40, ITA

[2008-02-04] Gillian Ingham, W50, NZL

[2008-02-01] Jörgen Mårtensson, M45, SWE

[2008-01-30] Tom Hiltebrand, M50, SUI

[2008-01-28] Baiba Ozola, W40, LAT

[2008-01-25] Eddie Harwood, M55, GBR

[2008-01-23] Marje Viirmann, W45, EST

[2008-01-21] Alexander Afonyushkin, M40, RUS

[2008-01-18] Paulina Majova, W55, SVK

[2008-01-16] Björn Linnersjö, M65, SWE

[2008-01-15] Lillian Røss, W85, NOR

[2008-01-10] Tapio Peippo, M55, FIN

[2008-01-07] Elizabeth Brown, W90, GBR

[2008-01-04] Erkki Luntamo, M90, FIN

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