Swedish swimmer Sarah Sjostrom was named her country’s 2018 Female Athlete of the Year at the Svenska idrottsgalan (Swedish Sport Awards). The event was hosted on Monday at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm.
This marks a record-tying 4th-straight Female Athlete of the Year honor for Sjostrom. No other female athlete has won more than 2 awards (let alone consecutively) since the prize was first given in 2000; and she n ow matches soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the most honors for either a man or a woman (he won in 2008, 2010, 2013, and 2015, and is now retired).
In her receiving comments, Sjostrom pointed out that it had been 10 years since she was named Newcomer of the Year in 2009 – an honor earned by wining the World Championship in the 100 fly and twice breaking the World Record when she was just 15 years old.
This is her 6th overall award from the gala – she also won Performance of the Year in 2010.
The 25-year old won 4 gold medals at the 2018 European Championships (50 free, 100 free, 50 fly, 100 fly). She won the award over 3 skiers, in a Winter Olympics year. She beat out cross-country skier Charlotte Kalla, cross-country skier Stina Nilsson, and alpine skier Frida Hansdotter. All three won Olympic gold medals; Nilsson and Kalla each won 4 Olympic medals in total in 2018.
Sjostrom did not originally plan to attend the ceremony, but she flew back early from a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa to surprise her partner and make the event. While the night was mostly about celebration of intense athletic accomplishments, Sjostrom had a more lighthearted moment as well: she wound up having to change her dress midway through the event, telling media that her impressive back muscles (a key contributor to her athletic success) actually caused a tear in the seems of her dress when she sat down (pictorial evidence below).
Sjostrom’s 4th award now makes 5 Female Athlete of the Year awards for swimmers. Therese Alshammar won in 2001 and 2012. That’s more than any other sport – athletics has won the award 4 times, from 4 different athletes. Lars Frolander won the first two men’s versions of the award, but no male has won since.
In other awards news, she did not win the Jerringpris award at the event. She’s been nominated for 7-straight years, winning in 2014 and 2015, but this year’s prize went to Hanna Oberg. The Jerringpris is voted on by listeners of a popular sports radio station in the country.