The perfect outsider
When Sweden’s Marcus Hellner turned up at the start gate of the 15km event at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, he had not yet racked up any impressive titles. His only victory – in the World Cup – had been in the 2008 season, when he won the 15km event held on his home turf in Gällivare. Out of the eight medals he had won, four were with the Swedish relay team. His fourth place in the “Tour de Ski” a few weeks before the Games made Marcus Hellner the perfect outsider for Vancouver.
He takes the lead in the final descent
He immediately took on this role with a fourth place finish in the first event, finishing only 1.5 seconds behind a medal position. In the 30km pursuit (15km classic style, then 15km freestyle with a change of skis between the two), the snow was heavy and wet, but the race took place in beautiful sunshine. Eleventh when he arrived at the stands to change skis, Marcus was only four seconds behind the leader, and emerged in fourth place. His partner Johan Olsson then decided to accelerate to break up the race. The freestyle suited Hellner much better, and he gradually caught up with the race leaders. With three other competitors, he broke away to catch up with his compatriot. In the last mogul, he made it, but the last descent was crucial. Marcus Hellner negotiated his very tight bend and took the lead. In the finish area, nobody could catch him. After an hour and-a-quarter of effort, Marcus Hellner raised his arms to the heavens - he had won his first Olympic title. His team mate Olsson finished third.
An untouchable relay
Eliminated in the semi-final of the sprint event, the Swedish skier was able to focus on the relay. His team mates were Johan Olsson, Daniel Richardsson and Anders Soedergren. This time, the sky was overcast and there was some snow falling on the slopes of Whistler. The Swedes took the lead from the second relay leg. Marcus was in first position, several seconds ahead of his pursuers. He was never caught. In the home straight, he even had time to take a Swedish flag to celebrate this success with all the supporters. In just a few days, Marcus Hellner had enjoyed his greatest victories: two Olympic titles.