On Wednesday, the annual scholarships awarded by Mange Olsson's Memorial Fund were presented at a ceremony at Nya Djurgårdsvarvet in Stockholm.
This year's scholarship winners - Klara Wester, Rebecca Netzler and Rasmus Rosengren - are three young enthusiastic sailors who have made inroads into their international sailing careers, while the recipient of the Mange Olsson Award was the Argentinian sailor, Santiago Lange.
Klara Wester and Rebecca Netzler, 22 and 21, respectively, have been sailing together for two years in 49erFX. Their enthusiasm and passion are infectious and they have a determination and ambition to achieve impressive results. In their short time together as crew, they have won numerous events in Sweden in the 49erFX and the Trissjolle. They have also achieved international success in the 49erFX finishing second in the 2016 Junior Worlds, fourth in the 2017 Trofeo Princesa Sofia and eighth at the 2017 World Cup in Hyères.
“We were incredibly happy when we received this scholarship. It is a great honour. Mange was a legend. We remember him as a sailor who always had a smile on his face and loved what he was doing. Rebecca had the chance to sail with Mange in Sandhamn, it was incredible to be onboard Ericsson 4 with him and listen to him talking about sailing and life”, say Rebecca and Klara
At 23 years old, Rasmus Rosengren had his greatest racing adventure recently, when he was helmsman on the Swedish entry Artemis in the recent Youth Americas Cup in Bermuda. Before then Rasmus had sailed in a wide range of dinghy classes. He is a distinguished competitor who lives for his sport and is now beginning his foiling Nacra 17 campaign for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with Cecilia Jonsson as his crew.
"Of course I was very happy when I learnt about the scholarship. I was very surprised as I don’t know who nominated me - but I'm glad someone did!" Rasmus said, continuing:
"This summer I will sail the World Match Racing Tour in M32 in Marstrand. And this summer we hope to get our new foil Nacra 17, so after the M32 World Championships we will start our Olympic preparations.”
At the same time as the scholarships were awarded, the Argentine sailor and Olympic gold medalist Santiago ‘Santi’ Lange received the 2017 Mange Olsson Prize. The 55-year-old sailor won the gold medal in Nacra 17 in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, only eleven months after major surgery to have a cancerous lung removed.
He demonstrated how, with determination and courage, one can turn adversity into success. With his sharp mind and an endearing personality, he is a great inspiration and role model for sailors of all ages. Just like Mange, Santiago is a great team player and has the ability to develop a team so that everyone is performing at their peak when most needed.
“It was a great day and everything was absolutely amazing and well-organized around friendship, family and tradition," says Santiago, and continued:
“To be able to help Rebecca, Klara and Rasmus is a great honor for me, and this fits well with Mange's wish to support young sailors. I met Magnus a few times, especially during Volvo Ocean Race 2008–2009 when he was skipper on Ericsson 3 and I sailed on Telefonica Black. It was fantastic what he did with Ericsson and his team of young inexperienced sailors.”
As part of the scholarship, Rebecca, Klara and Rasmus will have the opportunity for Santiago Lange to be their mentor and yesterday they were already planning a joint training session Lake Garda in the near future. The four prize winners also managed to sail together onboard an F18 catamaran, a popular dinghy in the Stockholm archipelago.
"It feels absolutely magical to get this opportunity, and believe that we will be able to take some great steps forward just by being able to share his experiences. It is already apparent that Santi has taken the responsibilities with his award very seriously and really wants to help us”, say Klara and Rebecca.
“Santi is a great person and it feels like I've got both a new friend and a new training partner today”, says Rasmus.
During his visit to Stockholm, Santiago also made a presentation to a group of Swedish sailors with disabilities, as well as prospective young Swedish Nacra 17 sailors.
The Mange Olsson Memorial Fund also hosted a “Talk, Talk, Talk Youth Workshop" with 26 of Sweden's most promising young sailors with Santiago Lange, Josefin Olsson and Martin Strömberg as speakers.
The Mange Olsson award is awarded in memory of one of the world’s biggest and most colorful sailing personalities. The annual Award honors a major international sailor and also aims to promote sailing in Sweden. Past winners have included Torben Grael (BRA), Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Stan Honey (USA).