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Staffan Strand
  • January 28th, 2004

Staffan Strand

A world class high jumper hailing from Sweden. Staffan Strand nowadays is recovering from a niggling injury and preparing hard for this year’s Olympic in Athens. His long list of accomplishment includes the winner for European Indoor Championships 2002, bronze medalist at the 2002 Europeans Championship, European Under-23 champion in 1997, successfully ranked Top 10 at IAAF rankings for the past few years, plus multiple top finishes in World and European track circuit

Height: 1.88m

Weight: 74kg

Born: 18 April 1976

Events: High Jump

Personal Website: http://www.staffanstrand.com

  1. You are now in Australia for training. Why Australia and the purpose of training there

    Staffan: I am actually not in Australia right now, since I was only there for two weeks. I really don’t train any better while on training camp, but sometimes I need a little change in scenery to avoid it to get too monotonous. I like Australia and South Africa in the winter, since they offer nice weather and lots of daylight compared to the Northern Hemisphere.

  2. It seems you are injured now with knee/ankle problems. How bad is it and how did you got the injury in the first place? Tell us of your recovery progress now

    Staffan: The injury has been developing over time, and got gradually worse. I had surgery in September, and I am slowly recovering from that now. My strength is very good, but I am still behind in terms of jumping and sprinting

  3. You’ve a mixed result this year in 2003. In summary tell us the races you had, the bad, the good, the problems and the condition you faced this year

    Staffan: Basically all was looking great until Mid-January. I suffered a big blow when I tore up my ankle in the first indoor meet, but I was still able to have some reasonable competitions indoor based on my good fitness level. In April, I also started having problems with the knee because of the ankle, meaning that I did not train well at all during the spring. The summer was just one long misery that ended in surgery

  4. Your season best was 2.32m if i’m not wrong at National Championship Sätra, quite close to your personal best. Do you think without your ankle/knee problem, could you have done better. Guide us through that 2.32m jump that day

    Staffan: The 2.32m jump was very typical for the indoor season. Due to the ankle problems, I did not have very good stability in my technique. However, since I other than that was extremely fit, I could pull off some great jumps when everything fell in place, and that is what happened during that jump. Both me and Stefan Holm had good attempts at 2.38m following 2.32m

  5. Sweden has been churning good high jumpers like Patrik Sjoberg, Kajsa Bergqvist, Thomas Bipella, Linus Thörnblad and Stefan Holm. What’s the secret? Do you have a sports school or ways to find & nurture local talents?

    Staffan: Part of the secret is that Swedes often have a good build for jumping, since many people are tall and rather skinny. Also, we have very good coaches in Sweden that can help the athletes get good coordination and technical skills very early in their career. However, there is no sports school or anything like that since none of the people you mention above have the same coach (Well, I guess that Kajsa and Thomas Bipella has the same now since Kajsa just switched.)

  6. Tell us how did you get started in athletics? Did you started out in High Jump itself? How was you spotted and nurtured from young?

    Staffan: I did just about every sport there is when I was young. I did some jumping in my backyard, and then when I was 8 I went with a friend and started training with the local club. Until I was 15 I kept up with the other sports, and I was actually competing in other athletics events like the triple jump until I was 18

  7. So in training what aspects of the jumps or the training program are you focusing more now?

    Staffan: Right now I am mostly focusing on getting the ankle back in shape, slowly building up the strength and getting back into jumping

  8. This year is the Olympics Athens 2004, what are you expectation. Who are you main opponents/rivals? Who should we look out for

    Staffan: I am hoping to fight for the gold. The most difficult competition I think will be Freitag, Holm, Boswell, and Rybakov

  9. Have you ever been to Singapore or Asia? What do you think of Asian athletes and have you jump alongside any of them before?. Where do you think we Asian lack and should improve on?

    Staffan: Yeah, I have been to Japan five times (Maebashi, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama), as well as to Singapore and Beijing. I am not really in a position to judge where the strengths and weaknesses lie, since I haven’t seen any of the athletes train. However, I was very impressed with the Korean Jin-Taek Lee, who beat me a few times in the late 1990s

  10. You’ve been all around the world pretty much. Tell us which was your favourite stay/country/location

    Staffan: I am a big fan of The Big Island Of Hawaii, that place has everything! I train there every spring and must have been there six or seven times already. For beaches, I also like the Maldives a lot as well as Australia. My favorite city is Sydney closely followed by New York. On the other hand, I tend to like it wherever I am, but still always appreciate coming home!

  11. I believe you’re still studying at University of Minnesota. Well can you tell of the time you’re there and how it has shaped you as you are now. How do you juggle between jumps & studies

    Staffan: Wow, I have been here for almost 8 years now. First I did an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering, and now I am working on a PhD in Electrical Engineering. I have very much liked having something to do on the side of sports. Sometimes it gets very stressful, but most of the time is very nice to have something else to put my focus on

  12. Tell us abit of your school research in layman terms if possible ;-)

    Staffan: I am researching traffic characteristics in iSCSI and Fibre Channel Storage Area Networks, in particular narrowing in on self-similar behavior

  13. Tell us abit about your life. Your daily routines, the daily fixes and the normal things you do around the house

    Staffan: I think I live quite a normal life. I see my friends, I cook, I clean, and do all of that stuff. Needless to say, a lot of time goes towards training and research as well, so I next to never get to sit down and do nothing (a.k.a. watching TV.)

  14. How has your sponsors helped you to get where you are today? Tell us about the support given by your federation. Is it fully funded grant or partial. Overall is your country sports infrastruture & support, bringing out the best of Swedish athletes?

    Staffan: The funding from the federation is not much to write home about in Sweden, I have never received any support from there. Over the last few years, the Swedish Olympic Committee has supported a lot of my training camps and partially funded my coach, something that I am very appreciative of. My sponsors have helped me secure the approach that I have to sport, by ensuring that I can focus 100% without working on the side (Other than the research then.)

  15. Stefan Holm is the currently world #1 ranked & listed jumper this year. Tell abit about him on & off the track. Also tell us the healthy competition between you two

    Staffan: I have known Stefan since I was 12 years old, and he is a great guy. We are very different off the track with quite different interests, but on the track we share the same interest, namely jumping as high as possible and winning. Competing against each other has always been there, but while it before used to be very much man-against-man, he is now more one of the competitors rather than the competitor

  16. Do you think 2.45m jump set by the great Javier Sotomayor (1993 Salamanca) ‘breakable’? Where were you, what were you doing when Sotomayor made his record breaking jump. Have you ever manage to chat-up with Javier Sotomayor before, how was it?

    Staffan: I have competed with Soto many times, and I have also beaten him a few times. I certainly think that the record is breakable, I don’t remember exactly where I was when he broke it, but I have seen the jump many times. Soto is a good guy and we have always been going along just fine, although I do not have very much respect for the fact that he has drug tested positive twice. It brings a very dark shadow over all of his earlier results, and if you ask me I think that his earlier marks including the world record should be erased

  17. I’m you’ve heard of the TGH drug fiasco. What are your views or stand on this new drug. Tell us what do you know of it

    Staffan: I find it horrible that some athletes go as far as designing their own drugs to succeed in sports. However, I am very happy that they got caught, since it should be underlined that cheating never works in the long run. For myself, I could never imagine to do anything like that, and I just focus on training as hard as I can do see how far it is possible to get without taking any drugs. Clearly it is possible to jump at least 235, and indeed also 236 since that is what Stefan has done, and he has exactly the same attitude as me

  18. When your athletics career is over, would you still be around in this sport maybe to coach or become an advisor. How crazy are you over high jump?

    Staffan: I really love the sport of high jump. I haven’t thought so much about what I am going to do after I retire in terms of attachment to the sport. I will probably stay in contact in one way or another, even though I doubt I will coach at the elite level other than as an advisor

  19. Any advise for young athletes who are venturing into athletics?

    Staffan: Train hard, be persistent, and success will come in the end!

  20. So when or if you are you coming back to Singapore? You could if you wish do a short private jumping clinic to our Singapore national athletes as our top jumpers could only manage 2.03m so far this year. I think they need all the help they can get

    Staffan: Yeah, that would be fun. I have no immediate plans of stopping by Singapore, but when I make it there again I will certainly help with a clinic!

Staffan Strand has been an absolute top bloke and from his interview as we’ve all read is very insightful. Thank you Staffan, hope you’ll make us proud at Athens Olympics, I wish you all the best dude .. Photos courtesy of Staffan Strand website at http://www.staffanstrand.com

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Posted by Uncle Sha.
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