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Sofie Lundin did not mind that her teammates on Sweden’s women’s ice hockey team were piling on top of her en masse as she lay flat on the ice at Kristins Hall. Seconds after the Swedes beat the Czech Republic 3-1 for the gold medal, Lundin found herself at the bottom of a pile of yellow and blue jerseys as her fellow players threw themselves onto the growing mass of champions at the Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games.
“I could hardly breathe, but it was worth it. All I was thinking about was ‘we won, we won’,’’ said Lundin, who was an offensive spark throughout for the Swedes and scored the first two goals for her team.
Photo: Sofie Lundin scores for Sweden in the women's ice hockey final. Photo: YIS / IOC Al Tielemans
Lundin, who turned 16 last Monday (15 February), is a rising star in the ranks of Sweden’s women’s hockey. She has been on the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation’s radar for a couple of years and is a member of the country’s under-18 national team.
“She is a good skater and it seems she just flows effortlessly on the ice,’’ said coach Ylva Lindberg. “She also works very hard. It’s not all talent and skill, she is a team player. She is good at faceoff, and blocks shots and checks hard. It is those things that you need in the international game.”
The Swedes were the better team by some distance, and outside of a miscue late in the first period when they turned the puck over in their own zone and the Czechs scored, the Scandinavian team were in total control.
Czech forward Veronika Lorencova said she and her teammates knew they were in for a tough game: “We knew they were the better team. They are stronger and they are faster, but we are so happy with this medal,” she said. “We can say we are second at the Youth Olympic Games.
“I think the next generation of [Czech] girls can win this tournament. We have to work on a few things, but we can win this maybe next time.”
The gold medallists are now the second Swedish team to win an Olympic title in this picture postcard town. Sweden’s men’s team won gold at the Lillehammer 1994 Olympic Winter Games. “I guess we like this place,’’ said coach Lindberg. “Gold in Lillehammer is a good colour.”
Written by YIS / IOC Alan Adams
Alan Adams is a reporter for the Lillehammer Youth Information Service ‘YIS’. Based in Toronto, Canada, he has covered sports since the mid-1980s including covering five Winter Olympic Games.