Nordic Nation: The Finding Your Voice Episode with Sweden’s Sebastian Samuelsson

Jason AlbertFebruary 11, 2019

Putting yourself in another’s shoes – or ski-boots —  is an age-old tenant. But it would be truly hard to imagine being twenty-one years old and thrust into the biathlon world spotlight. At least year’s Olympics in PyeongChang, Swedish biathlete Sabastian Samuelsson literally arrived on the scene in his canary yellow race suit — he won a silver in the pursuit and gold as a member of Sweden’s men’s relay team.

During his post-race press conferences, his condor was appreciated as was his down to earth vibe. The medals, the massive media attention, the desire for his limited time were all new pathways for a young person to navigate. In this Nordic Nation podcast, we spoke with Samuelsson on February 8 to learn about his life since PyeongChang.

Sebastian Samuelsson of Sweden celebrating silver in the men’s 12.5 k pursuit at his first Olympics on Monday in PyeongChang, South Korea. It was also his first non-relay podium at the World Cup/World Championships level. (Photo: IBU/Biathlonworld)

Beyond being one of the most recognizable faces in Sweden, Samuelsson has become an outspoken critic of WADA’s Compliance Review Committee (CRC) and its Executive Committee (EX CO). This past January, after RUSADA missed the Dec. 31 deadline for handing over the Moscow Lab’s LIMS data and any underlying data, Samuelsson penned an open letter to the CRC’s head, Jonathan Taylor.

(Despite missing the deadline, the CRC recommended to the EX CO to maintain RUSADA’s compliant status. The EX CO voted not to penalize RUSADA for missing the deadline.)

You can read Samuelsson’s initial letter here.   

Taylor and Samuelsson then began an open letter dialogue to argue and counter-argue the main issue of re-declaring RUSADA as non-compliant. (Here’s Taylor’s initial response.Here’s Samuelsson’s reply. Here’s Taylor’s second response.)

As the anti-doping movement matures in this post-Sochi era, one thing is clear: Samuelsson has found his voice.

You can follow Samuelsson on Twitter to hear his political voice, and on Instagram to catch the Samuelsson day in a life.

(To subscribe to the Nordic Nation podcast channel, download the iTunes app. If you have iTunes, subscribe to Nordic Nation here.)


Jason Albert

Jason lives in Bend, Ore., and can often be seen chasing his two boys around town. He’s a self-proclaimed audio geek. That all started back in the early 1990s when he convinced a naive public radio editor he should report a story from Alaska’s, Ruth Gorge. Now, Jason’s common companion is his field-recording gear.

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