Interview with Tobias Arwidson, Swedish Biathlon Athlete by Birgitta Lauren

Tobias Arwidson

By Birgitta Lauren

Qualified for the Swedish Olympic Biathlon team, Tobias Arwidson, is an extremely ambitious champion, yet a very grounded and down-to-earth young man, with Olympics in his blood.

Born in Lima, Dalarna, 25 years ago, Tobias now studies Sport pedagogy, aiming for his Masters, but is putting 100% into his chosen sport Biathlon. The Biathlon’s history started in Norway in the 18th century, as a military sport for soldiers, with the first recorded competition in 1767. After several decades as an “alternative sport” it did not become an official Olympic sport until 1960, as an international consensus of ground rules was difficult to come by. Basically, the Biathlon combines cross country skiing with shooting in different types of duels.

What did you love most about growing up in Sweden?

The freedom of being both close to nature and cities. The best is probably that you have the liberty of going your own way, and the choice of pursuing your own things, everything from studying to pursuing a sport.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I get up shortly after 7 am and eat breakfast. Then there is a workout of either running or skiing for 2-3 hours. After this I will have lunch and study. I will drive up to the Biathlon stadium at about 2 pm to practice shooting with my rifle, after which I go back home to change for another 2 hour workout. Then dinner and more studies before its time for bed.

When you are not training, what do enjoy doing?

I love being out in nature, where I am free to do so much, like fishing or walking.

What can you not live without when you travel to competitions like this Olympics in Sochi?

I must say, the internet, haha! Kidding aside, I can probably manage without internet, but I use it for so much.

What is your favorite place for you and your family in Sweden?

The nature around my home in Lima, and our vacation home. It’s close to nature with lots to do.

What is your most favorite Swedish food?

I love fish and salmon. Fast-food is not my thing; it must be “real food”, cooked from scratch with fresh, organic ingredients. Home cooked meals are so much better, healthier than fast-food restaurants, where everything tastes the same.

If you have the time, what other sport will you watch at the Olympics?

It would be fun to check out the hockey. But otherwise the cross country skiing will be next to our stadium, so I am sure I can watch some of it.

When did you start with Biathlon?

When I was about 10.

What made you get into this sport?

My parents competed in winter sports. My father has 2 Olympic bronze medals in Biathlon from years ago. So it was natural for me to start with Biathlon.

What do you like most about it?

The fight and suspense in all the duels, both on the slopes and on the shooting range. It takes both strength and fitness as the world’s best endurance athlete, plus you must be a good shot with your heart racing and fatigued. It’s a challenging and fascinating sport.

What does it feel like when you are racing?

Every race is different, but it hurts to compete. It’s tremendously inspiring to race well, and the feeling when one's goal is achieved is indescribable. I strive for my dreams; I think everyone should do that. It is far from impossible to succeed, it’s all about the will and desire.

Do you have any good advice for young and upcoming Biathlon athletes?

Train lots in what you love, whether running or skiing etc.. But mix it up so your body can improve faster. You do have to shoot a lot as well.

What is your inspiration?

To reach my dreams and achieve my goals. You only live once, so I want to achieve my dreams and I am putting 100% of my efforts into it.

Who do you think might be your biggest competition?

There are so many athletes who could win in Biathlon, so it’s hard to say. But Norway is always in good condition and Russia on their home turf can be sharp, if they can take the pressure.

How will you celebrate a win?

First I will celebrate in Sochi with the Swedish team. Then my friends and I will come up with something fun when I get back home. A nice dinner out and celebrating together.

Tatty Maclay
Tatty is a half-Swedish, half-English journalist, translator and mother of four. She grew up in London, but spent summers in the Stockholm archipelago. After five years in her husband’s homeland of Scotland, she recently moved her family to Sweden and she writes about their new life for Swedish Press.