Ohrstrom makes swedish slalom history

When Sweden’s Isak Ohrstrom rolled at an early gate in his K1 semi-final run in Rio, he knew his Olympics were over.

And while the subsequent 50 second penalty officially killed off his Olympics, the 25-year-old was not inconsolable.

Quite the contrary – the moment he set foot in Rio he made history for his country, so he was already winning.

“I didn’t feel any pressure,” Ohrstrom said after his race.

“I was happy to be in the semi-finals, and I just tried to cut the lines a little bit too much, then what happened, happened.

“Obviously it means a lot. It’s the first time ever we have qualified for the Olympics. It’s very nice for sure, and we’ll see what it means in the future.”

But that’s not to say Ohrstrom was happy with how his semi-final panned out, and that horrible moment when you are suddenly upside down and underwater.

“You react, and then you try and keep going,” he said.

“It’s like ‘sh..’ and then you try and go on.”

Despite the relatively low profile of canoe slalom in Sweden, and its non-existent Olympic history, it was a sport Ohrstrom was always destined to do.

And then of course, there’s the problem of Sweden’s climate, and the prospect of winter months on ice-cold water.

“It was something that my family was doing, so it was a natural thing to do,” he said.

“My sister was a paddler, she was in the national team, so it was obvious for me to start in Sweden.

“When you are young it is a one season sport, but when you are at this level you look for somewhere else to train in the winter months,like Australia or the United Arab Emirates.”

Ohrstrom won’t know how his, and Sweden’s, Olympic debut in slalom will affect the standing of the sport in his country until he gets home.

But now that he has a taste for it, he is determined to work hard to make an even bigger impact in Tokyo in 2020.

How he goes about that is still to be determined.

“That’s something I will take some time to look at,” he said.

“I’ll look at what happened here and talk to my coach about what we might do for the next four years.

“Now I’m supported by the Swedish Olympic Committee, but generally it is very hard to get funding for slalom because it is a very small sport.”

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