Ski Orienteering Athlete of the Year: Tove Alexandersson

The Swedish athlete Tove Alexandersson is not only the current queen of FootO, but also of Ski Orienteering. She started FootO and also began practising SkiO at the age of ten. Now she is twenty-six, and she has been World Champion in SkiO eight times. In 2018 she has brought three gold medals home from the European Championships and has won the World Cup. So she has been chosen once again as the SkiO Athlete of the Year.

Three gold medals from Bulgaria
As everyone was expecting, 2018 was in no way a disappointing season. Although this year was not a season with a world championships, Tove produced a fantastic performance at the European SkiO Championships (ESOC) which were held in Bulgaria in February. She started by winning the Sprint race with a margin of thirty-four seconds, and continued with a victory in the Sprint Relay with her team-mate Erik Rost.

Finally she won another gold medal in the Middle Distance, being one minute faster than the silver medallist, the Russian Mariya Kechkina. However her last race in ESOC was not a good end to the championships for the Swede as she finished in seventh position, the only race where she did not win a medal. Nevertheless, she brought home three gold medals from ESOC, as she had done in 2017. Moreover, she finished the season as the leader of the World Cup, her second victory since 2016.

How to succeed in combining two disciplines
The biggest mystery about Tove Alexandersson is how she manages to be the best athlete in two different disciplines, even though she has had some doubts: “I didn’t think I could do both sports for such a long time, but it has worked fine.” Talking about her training routine, she explains that she obviously dedicates the summer to running as well as competing in FootO, since the World Orienteering Championships usually take place during these months. When the winter comes she focuses again on SkiO, combining it with running.

But mental preparation is an issue to take into account too, and as she explains an important event enables her to be more concentrated on the race. “It’s easier for me to be sufficiently focused and have a good performance if the competition is important, so I just enjoy all important competitions because I like it when there’s a bit more pressure.” Training for both disciplines can be regarded as the hardest point, but Alexandersson regards it as a beneficial point: “The good thing is that I can train more and harder because I’m doing two sports.” Moreover, although she attends so many competitions, Tove admits that she loves travelling and competing, so organising the season is not a big issue for her.

A longer version will be published in Orienteering World.

Text by Laura Garrido and Sara Ricoy