These are the words Anders Olsson, a Swedish Paralympics and World champion, lives by. Anders has always been an athlete—beginning as a promising ice hockey player and swimmer in his youth, but a series of medical accidents between 1996 and 1997 left him paralyzed from the waist down and bedridden. It was only after an old friend challenged him to swim in a 3-kilometer open water race in 2002 that Anders found the will to get out of bed. The race was the turning point that would change his life.
Now a decade later, Anders—known in Sweden as “Järnmannen” (“The Iron Man”)—is a household name. He has earned Paralympics, European and World Championship swimming titles. He has set 59 world records. He was voted Best Athlete with a Physical Disability in Sweden three times. “Det finns ingen gräns—there is no limit,” is Anders’ motto.
Besides his notable accomplishments in sports, Anders is also an inspirational speaker. He travels and speaks at 30-40 engagements a year, telling his story to students, sports organizations and businesses, hoping to motivate others with his positive philosophy.
He continues to seek out adventures to test his limits, traveling the world to embark on new challenges. His next adventure takes him to San Francisco, California, where he will compete in the “Swimming with the Centurions” race. More than two hundred participants will swim from Alcatraz, a former prison located on an island 1.5 miles off the California coast, to San Francisco. “I have never been to the States, but I look forward to a rewarding experience. Of course, the highlight of the trip is the race,” said Anders with a smile.
Olsson’s list of several accomplishments include the following:
Paralympics Games – 2004, 2008
World Championships with a physical disability – 2006, 2009, 2010
European Championships with a physical disability – 2009, 2011
Wasaloppet (Ski competition)– 2005, 2009.
Vansbrosimning (3 km open water swim race) – 2002-2010
Ironman (Kalmar) – 2009
Awards and honors
Best Athlete with a Physical Disability in Sweden – 2008, 2010 and 2011.
Follow Anders and his trip on facebook.
Contact: Antoinette McIntyre-Andersson