Sarah Sjostrom Planning For Sixth Olympic Games At LA 2028: “I Think I Am Going To Continue For Much Longer”

Foto Alfreedo Falcone - LaPresse 16-08-2022 Roma sport nuoto European Acquatics Roma 2022 nella foto.Sara Sjostrom 2022-08-16 Rome Sport swimming European Acquatics Rome 2022 in the photo:Sara Sjostrom
Sarah Sjostrom: Photo Courtesy: Alfreedo Falcone/LaPresse

A sixth Olympic Games in Los Angeles beckons for Sarah Sjostrom who is enjoying a much-needed break after an historic 13 months that included trips to the Olympic, world and European podiums.

So far only four swimmers have competed at six Olympics: Sjostrom’s fellow Swedes Therese Alshammar and Lars Frolander, Tunisian Oussama Mellouli and Derya Buyukuncu of Turkey.

With Paris 2024 less than two years away, Sjostrom is currently planning to join the quartet in 2028 – all being well in terms of qualification – 20 years after making her Games debut aged 14 at Beijing 2008.

The 29-year-old, who won silver in the 50 free in Tokyo to add to her three-strong medal haul from Rio 2016, is currently on a break with the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, in July 2023 set to be her next major competition.

That follows an intense schedule which culminated with her becoming the most decorated swimmer in European Championship history in Rome in August.

Her mind, though, is never far from the water with the LA Games in 2028 firmly on the agenda and Sjostrom told Swimming World:

“Definitely. (It’s) very unlikely I am not doing it.

“Paris will be the first one and I try to always take one year at a time – that is the main thing.

“We’ll see – maybe I’ll find out in two years (and) I’m like ‘ah, no, I’m done’ but I don’t think so.

“I think I am going to continue for much longer.”

History Never The Goal For Sjostrom

Foto Alfreedo Falcone - LaPresse 16-08-2022 Roma sport nuoto European Acquatics Roma 2022 nella foto.Sara Sjostrom 2022-08-16 Rome Sport swimming European Acquatics Rome 2022 in the photo:Sara Sjostrom

Sarah Sjostrom: Photo Courtesy: Alfreedo Falcone/LaPresse

Sjostrom’s silver in Tokyo came months after an elbow fracture threatened her participation, which she described as “one of the biggest achievements in my career”.

That was followed by an overall haul of 13 medals at the European and world short-course meets with the Swedish women’s 4x50m medley relay quartet matching the USA’s world record of 1:42.38 at the latter.

as well as a winning ISL campaign with Energy Standard with Sjostrom the MVP in the final.

On into 2022 and the worlds in Budapest where two golds – in the 50 free and fly – and 100 free silver saw her become the most successful female swimmer in terms of individual medal counts in World Championship history with 19 solo medals among a total of 20.

Only Michael Phelps – with 20 – has more solo medals, a total Sjostrom will surely surpass in the coming years.

Then to Rome and with five trips to the podium – three to the top step – making it 28 overall since her debut in 2008, Sjostrom moved to the helm of European medal counts with two more than previous incumbent Alex Popov.

Not that rewriting the record books is an objective for the 29-year-old whose greatest source of pride over the last year comes from claiming the 50 free/fly double at all but one of the major championships since Tokyo when she took 50 fly silver at short-course worlds.

She said:

“It’s never a goal to be the most successful ever or to keep a certain record when it comes to the amount of medals or anything like that.

“Maybe I sound boring but I never look into the statistics or say ‘I want to win this amount of medals’ or anything like that – it’s just happening I guess.

“I just take one competition at a time and then after I finish a race, someone tells me you’re the most decorated swimmer or whatever. It’s never been a mission or anything like that.

“I’m very proud of course of my achievements and everything – I feel very lucky that I am able to do what I do and I’m very proud that I am successful in this sport. I’m working very hard so I don’t think it’s for the medals every time actually.

“My main focus is to swim as good as I can; I am working very hard to improve all the time.

“I am very focused on my own racing; I want to win and when I am on the blocks I get into the zone.

“My mission every time I go to a race is to work on everything I can do, I can only focus on myself and then I end up winning a few medals so I am super-happy about that.”

Running For Body And Mind

Foto Alfreedo Falcone - LaPresse 13-08-2022 Roma sport nuoto European Acquatics Roma 2022 nella foto:Sara Sjostrom 2022-08-13 Rome Sport swimming European Acquatics Rome 2022 in the photo:Sara Sjostrom

Sarah Sjostrom: Photo Courtesy: Alfreedo Falcone/LaPresse

The packed schedule saw Sjostrom compete at five major meets as well as the ISL. It was, she says, tough but something she also welcomed.

“It was an intense season but I really enjoyed it. I like challenges so it was a challenge for me to do it.”

She also moved in with fiancée Johan de Jong Skierus close to Stockholm, retaining her training base in the Swedish capital with coach Johan Wallberg.

Now on a well-earned break before returning to training in January, Sjostrom isn’t still for very long.

She competed in a SwimRun with Beijing 2008 breaststroker Hanna Storckenfeldt (nee Westrin) with the pair winning the women’s team race.

Next up is a 15km event in Lidingö this coming weekend where the objective is enjoyment of the event and the outdoors rather than competition.

She said:

“I don’t really see it as a race, it’s more enjoying the environment.

“I am going to walk a little bit; it’s a very tough race, it’s a lot of uphill and I am not strong enough to do the uphill running so whenever there is a little bit of a hill I always walk it.

“If you want to go for a run you go outside your door, you run around in nature and enjoy the forest.

“I really enjoy it at the moment when I am having a break. I haven’t done much running since 2020 – I did a lot when the Olympics was postponed that summer.

“I am still not back to that kind of level like I was in 2020 but I am enjoying it so I don’t really mind if people pass me in a race, I am just enjoying it.”

It does though keep her fresh in body and mind before she returns to training in January with Fukuoka her immediate objective and then to Paris and beyond.

“That’s the two next big goals,” she said.

“I need to be fresh mentally and physically so I can work hard for that – that is why I need to have a little break from having a strict training programme.

“I just train when I feel good in my mind and my body so that’s important. I feel fit and strong anyway so I think that is good.

“But I might show up in a national competition somewhere and then I’ll be in shape again in January to be fit enough to do some hard work in the pool and to do some hard training.”

Subscribe
Notify of
avatar
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x