In what must be the envy of the rest of the horse racing world, three Swedish trotting identities rated among the top 20 most publicized sportsmen in their country.
And US bound Ake Svanstedt came in at number eight in the list of sports stars who were mentioned in Swedish newspapers during the past year, illustrating the massive profile that the sport of harness racing has in the Scandinavian Kingdom.
Soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimović topped the list of Sweden’s most written about sports stars being mentioned 38,956 times in Swedish newspapers.
But Svanstedt, and leading drivers Orjan Kihlström and Bjorn Goop were in the top 20.
The official website for the Swedish Trotting Association – travsport.se reports that Swedish Media Analysis Company Retriever recently made its annual analysis of how often Swedish sports stars mentioned in Swedish newspapers.
While Swedish soccer international Ibrahimović a former Barcelona player who now plays for top French club Paris St Germaine, tops the list with 38956 mentions, Trotting’s profile is such that its stars are ranked at 8, 17 and 19 and it appears the sport is actually growing in popularity, since it had no one in the list last year.
“It is important for a sport to have strong profiles and therefore it is great to Ake, Orjan and Bjorn are in the top 20. I think we in the racetrack should be proud of the great interest in our active”, says Mark Myron, of the Swedish Trotting Association.
Unfortunately for Swedish trotting, their biggest star Svanstedt is in the process of moving to the United States and it will be interesting to see how this will impact on the profile on the sport in both Sweden and the United States.
The full list (last year's position in brackets):
1) Zlatan Ibrahimović, soccer, 38956 ( 1)
2) Erik Hamrén, soccer, 17874 (2)
3) Pia Sundhage, soccer, 13625 (66)
4) Lotta Schelin, soccer, 11,790 (new)
5) Pär Mårts, hockey, 10,610 (15)
6) Charlotte Kalla, skis, 10 361 (3)
7) Steven Smith, soccer, 8350 (7)
8) Svanstedt, trot, 8044 (21)
9) Marcus Hellner, ski, 7705 (12)
10) Henrik Lundqvist, hockey, 7474 (6)
11) Kosovare Asllani, soccer, 7303 (new)
12) Alexander Kacaniklic, soccer, 6996 (new)
13) Kim Kallstrom, soccer, 6990 (11)
14) Henrik Stenson , Golf, 6815 (68)
15) Johan Elmander, soccer, 6468 (10)
16) Tobias Hysen, soccer, 6400 (new)
17) Orjan Kihlström, trot, 6317 (35)
18) Abeba Aregawi, athletics , 5811 (new)
19) Björn Goop, trotting, 5793 (26)
20) Rasmus Elm, soccer, 5734 (20)