Tobias Arwidson: The Interview!

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Tobias Arwidson is a Swedish biathlete. He was born in Mora on the 7th of June 1988 but grew up in Lima in Dalarna County in the west of Sweden. He has a medal from the European Open Championships in 2013 where he won silver in the Individual. His best result so far on the World Cup is 17th from the Ruhpolding Individual in 2014. He is the son of double Olympic bronze medal winner Lars-Göran Arwidson.

Follow Tobias on Twitter: @TArwidson
Like his Facebook Page: Tobias Arwidson (Sportsperson)
Look at his website: tobiasarwidson.com

Did your father encourage you to become a biathlete or is it something you decided to do yourself?

I have always liked sports, from soccer, handball, hockey and skiing/biathlon. When I was younger, I did many sports and dreamed about succeeding in my sports. For example I played handball well, but my hometown Lima was a bit too far to the big sports teams therefore I think the natural path was skiing/biathlon. My father helped me a lot, and my small hometown has a skiing spirit with many old world stars, several medallists in the World Championships and Olympic Games. For example the biggest star Sixten Jernberg and also my father have 2 Olympic medals.

I did choose the sport by myself, but sure I had a lot of knowledge from the start when I was a child! From the art of shooting to the skiing. The most help was my parents time, I’m sure many athletes recognize this. If you have support in what you do, for example getting a lift to training when you are young, or taking part in the competitions or equipment problems, then you have a good standard to try and reach your dreams. Sure anyone can succeed alone, but the support and knowledge in my family made the decision to do biathlon an easy one.

Can you explain your situation at the moment as you are no longer in the national team. What is going on?

I wasn’t picked for the national team, so now my focus is on the Swedish Military team. We have some good cross-country skiers and biathletes who are aiming for the World Military Games in Sochi 2017.
Sure, I hope to take podium places in the World Cup too, but I need to take a step forward in the skiing part. Hopefully I am more healthy this season than the last two, I had some real problems and struggled to get healthy. Now, mostly I train in my hometown or in Östersund with different people. I have also discussed with private teams and other national teams, so I have possibilities to train with them in the future, but for now in the short term I don’t have any news. But I am open to being in a team and working more together. Many people ask about my technique and thinking in the shooting, so I’m glad to share with other teams for developing together.

You took part in the Single Mixed Relay last season. Do you like the new event?

1) I like the thinking about new interesting competitions that can take focus in bigger places. Single mixed relays are closer to, for example, the arena race in Schalke. If I think one more step, what if this kind of competition took place in London? Paris? New York? Short races, fast and with shooting. Two sports combined that I think many ”new” people want to watch live. Biathlon has the spirit and action to grow in these non-winter cities.

2) I don’t like the ”middle” of everything. For example, single mixed has the same distance as a relay, 7.5 km. If you want to do a sprint, then make it a sprint.. Fast, explosive, action. Like in cross-country skiing.
Look at the times and relate it to Athletics. In Athletics 800m isn’t a sprint, it’s a middle distance race, 2 minutes of work. Cross-country and biathlon have much more time in the competitions, it’s actually funny that it’s called a sprint or super sprint. If we wants sprints, then make it”100m” like Usain Bolt. Not something between just because the old rules are making the standard ”What we did before”. Think outside the box, then I think biathlon can take place in the big worldwide arenas.

You are consistently one of the best shots on the World Cup. Have you ever considered competing in the Summer Olympics in the shooting events?

Actually I have. I competed when I was young in shooting competitions, but this is normal in our small village. When I grew up, the thing to do was sports. So we did everything possible, many of my friends also competed in shooting. In the standard ”30-30” biathlon test, I have done around 550 sometimes but my record is 555p. In prone, 30 shots, my record is 298p, every shot in the 10 points, in the middle except two.
If I count: This was of course with my biathlon rifle (5 shots/rounds), and biathlon suit/t-shirt. For example, real shooting clothes give much more accuracy. Also a normal competition rifle gives more stability.
Therefore, I think I could have the chance to get good results. Sure I want to try, and not only because it’s fun to try, it’s because I believe I can achieve good results.
Last season I did less training in shooting, much less than normal, almost no shooting until autumn. That made me struggle a bit in the biathlon races to reach 100%. But still I shoot quite well without training, just follow my intuition.
If I just start to shoot more (last season was more focussed on skiing, but unfortunately I was sick a lot), I know I will take one step more.
The only thing is that I need help with the real shooting gear. I have some contacts in Sweden that I speak with, but still, you need a rifle.
If I get a rifle and ”starting” help in the shooting sports, then I will try and reach a good performance. Sure with a goal like the next Summer Olympics. I know what a lot of training is about. I’m not a thinker, I’m a doer and will try 100% if I get the chance. But of course the first step is good results in Sweden, it’s a long road even to a Swedish Championships, but I think I have something in this and I am willing to try.

What are your plans for summer training?

Now I am training a bit with some cross-country skiers, no fixed place for now. Just now I’m in Lima and training, also in Torsby. In the middle of June I also finished my degree, a Masters in Science in Education. It’s good to have good university results, but now in the future I hope that I can focus more on biathlon.

What are your goals for this season?

I want to say medals and podium places, but for the first time I will say it’s to be healthy. If you aren’t healthy you cant get good results.

What kind of food do you eat when you are training? Is there anything you can’t eat? Do you have a nutritionist?

I had one before the Sochi Olympics, but now I have no support from the Swedish team. I am going it alone with some other friends, its tough but you need to be creative and think outside the box.
For now I eat a lot of ecological food with no artificial ingredients. These days its scary how many things you can eat if you buy some meat in the store. Many products are some % meat but 70-80% are sugar and other strange things. That’s a shame. I like local and new companies that think healthy and with basic, normal, natural ingredients.
If you eat bread, then it should be bread, not a lot of artificial ingredients and a lot of sugar because the company wants to earn more money.

What is your best/favourite race in your career so far? Why?

The first big feeling in a race was my first international race, Sweden vs Norway vs Finland, in Norway. I think I was 14 years old and was third in the big biathlon race. The best young athletes from Finland, Sweden and Norway, around 200 competitors were there and I managed to get third place, 2 seconds from second place and not far from the victory.
For the first time I felt that I had the possibility to reach my dreams. That was a fantastic feeling.

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Which is it and why?

I need to say the track in my hometown. You feel the old spirits from the old biathlon and cross-country stars when you go there, and every session as youngster you dreamed about reaching the national team. Perhaps even the Olympic Games. Then, when you do that, the feeling and your memory of the old times grows stronger then ever.
I think you need to be proud of the old times and the memories, it gives you a sign and mark what you want to do in the future.

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

At the same time when I succeeded in the big competition as a 14 year old boy, my friends and I had some favourites. The athlete who made the strongest impression was Michi Greiss that had really fast shooting, that pushed me and my friends to shoot fast at a young age, sometimes faster than ”on the television”, but still with good accuracy.


Does your rifle have a name?

No name. But yes, when I was younger, I used to speak with it, haha. But sure, we have one power greater than everything, it’s our brain. I think my connection with the rifle gave me good results when I was young.

Describe yourself in three words.

Determined. Flexible. Calm. Nature 😉

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Canada
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): My own, a classic bass (fish) spike inspired contour (I like to fish)
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Swedish from the time of Sixten Jernberg (Google it!)
Favourite shooting range: Nove Mesto, amazing crowd.
Lucky bib number: Doesn’t matter 😉 (…ahem, yes it does!)
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: We are all so similar but all so different.
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Everyone is nice!
Best thing about being a biathlete: You get a lot of friends and contacts around the world.

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