Cross-country skier Charlotte Kalla would love Sweden to host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2026 – and hopes to play a role during the run-up: “I think it would be interesting and with the opportunities available now, it would also be very exciting.”
On Wednesday (Oct 31) the Swedish ski team assembled to talk about the season ahead. Also present was one of the leading figures in Swedish skiing: 31-year-old Charlotte Kalla, now gearing up for a World Cup event in Seefeld, Austria.
The three-time Olympian gave us her thoughts about Sweden’s bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympics: “When we arrived in Pyeongchang back in February, Peter Reinebo (Swedish Olympic Committee’s Chief Executive Officer) went through some of the plans”.
“A lot has happened since then. The Sweden Olympic Committee’s (SOC) thoughts on sustainability are spot-on. Stockholm already has the stadia, so we don’t need to build new arenas to host the Winter Olympics.”
She says it’s important to think long term about the legacy that comes from hosting a Winter Olympics: “When I heard we would be bidding to host the Games, what really excited me was the thought of people being able to participate even more in sports.”
In a previous interview with Aftonbladet, Kalla said she would like to be part of the Olympic Winter Games in 2026 in ‘one way or another’, if it was hosted in Sweden.
“Even though I wouldn’t be competing, I would really like to be involved and be part of the journey. I think that would be very exciting.”
She knows from participating in the 2015 Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun what it feels like to compete in front of a home crowd: “I had that chance in Falun and I managed to do quite well (she won gold in the Woman’s 10-kilometer freestyle event). Just traveling to Falun and joining the skiing party was something quite extraordinary.”
Just how big are the Olympic Winter Games?
“They are very big. And you really feel that during the Games the Swedish Olympic Committee has been supporting you for years before. The support you get is really something and is something I have not encountered anywhere else in my career.
“Travelling as a team, supporting each other and experiencing the culmination of an Olympic Games is special. It’s a community.”
Before moving on through the media scrum, there’s just time for one last question about what the Winter Olympics and Paralympics would mean to the youth in Sweden.
“I know how much it meant to me when I started in 1994. I would read newspapers and it meant a lot. Today, it’s not just newspapers you have access to, so you have other ways of inspiring people. Role models have been important in my career.”
Who were your role models?
“Lina Andersson, Per Elofsson and Marit Björgen.”
What’s it like not competing against Marit?
“It will be different and she will leave a big gap afterwards,” Kalla closes.