Sven Tumba – Swedish Legend Posted by on Oct 4, 2011 in Culture, Sport

While this blog focuses on language a lot, we try to introduce everyone to a bit of Swedish culture as well.  Sometimes that culture is humorous, like Swedish Stereotypes. Again, other times it looks at pop culture. Sometimes though, that culture can be tinged with a bit of sadness for many Swedes. This is one of those times.  Over the weekend, one of the most famous athletes in Swedish history, Sven Tumba, died in Stockholm. He was 80 years old.

Tumba was known throughout Sweden for his athletic prowess. He excelled as a hockey player in the 1950s and ‘60s for Djurgården, one of the professional teams in Stockholm and was a star for the Swedish national hockey team winning several world championship medals.  He was eventually inducted into the International Hockey Hall of Fame and Swedes voted him as the best ever Swedish hockey player. But it was not just his hockey skills that made Tumba such a popular athlete in Sweden.

In the 1950s, Tumba was also a renowned soccer player and made an appearance for the Swedish national team in soccer as well as winning a championship with Djurgården.  After leaving both hockey and soccer behind, Tumba continued his athletic career. This time in golf.  Eventually Tumba became one of the most influential figures in the game of golf in Sweden and is often credited with making the game such a popular activity in Sweden.

Elitserien, the highest level of Swedish professional hockey, held a minute of silence before the start of every game on the day of his death.

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About the Author: Marcus Cederström

Marcus Cederström has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2009. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies and Folklore from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has taught Swedish for several years and still spells things wrong. So, if you see something, say something.


  1. David:

    Thanks for the clip! It briefly showed the final goal of Sweden’s 5-3 victory against Canada in the 1962 ice hockey WC final. That in itself is one of the most memorable moments in Swedish sports, not least thanks to legendary commentator Lennart Hyland’s line “Den glider in i mål…” See where you can also see Tumba describing the feeling of winning the gold.

    (Completely off topic, the scenes of the Swedish team coming home are appositely set to the tune of “Very Welcome Home, Mr. Swanson”, a fairly well-known song (in Swedish, despite the title) about a Gothenburg boy who returns after having made it in America. That song is here: