Sarah Sjostrom Before Becoming an Olympic Champion | Before They Were Superstars

when I’m swimming especially when
I’m doing the butterfly because that’s
my favourite stroke. I go fast and it’s a
unique feeling. When I’m in the water,
everything just flows. I feel so graceful. Sarah was born and raised in
the Swedish capital, Stockholm. As a youngster, she
played football and handball and took up
swimming at the age of nine. She made rapid
progress in the pool. By the time she was 14, Sarah
won gold in the 100 metres Butterfly
at the European Championships. Success has
happened quickly for me. As soon as I joined
the national team, I started winning
World Cup medals. When I won gold at the
European Championships, I realised I could
compete at that level. A year later, I won gold
at the World Championships. I’ve managed to
continue my form and it’s great to have had so
much success already. Despite her incredible
achievements at such a young age,
Sarah hadn’t always been a natural in the water. When I first started,
I didn’t like swimming. I hated getting
water in my goggles. I didn’t like being cold, so
I used to hide in the showers! At this stage of her career,
Sarah was primarily a Butterfly swimmer,
but she was working hard to improve her versatility. Her time in the gym
would pay off, as she would go on
to become a dominant force in the Freestyle world too. Sarah’s development
was being overseen by her coach, Carl Jenner. She’s probably one of the most
naturally talented swimmers that Sweden has ever had,
and that has taken her to where she is at the moment. The talent to be able to
swim technically is there and also the physical size. In long course swimming today
you have to be quite tall, quite a big girl or a boy
to be able to compete at the top level
and she’s got that and she’s also got a mentality
as well at the moment where she is able to produce
her best when it matters. When Sarah was at home,
she would spend much of her free
time either on her iPad, or interacting
with her friends and growing army
of fans on Twitter. I’m new to Twitter. I like the fact that I can
find out new stuff instantly and can keep an
eye on my competitors. I can see how
their training is going. I follow a range of people from
Lady Gaga to Michael Phelps. It’s great getting
all the updates. Sarah was
enrolled at a local college. She was studying a
variety of subjects, but her favourite
class was photography. This is where I spend
most of my time at college. Making sure all my pictures
are as pretty as possible. This is me and
Elinor, my little sister. Living in Stockholm
meant that Sarah could practise
her photography in one of Europe’s
most scenic cities. Stockholm is beautiful. I’m lucky to be living
here even when it’s this windy. Seeing Stockholm from a
boat makes you appreciate what a stunning place it is. When I’m on a boat like
this I never forget my camera. There are lots
of things to photograph. At this time of year,
the light is good. You don’t want to miss
a moment in case something comes along that
will make a great picture. Sarah was often joined
on her photography trips by her father, Göran. She’s away from home
for most of the year, so to be able to spend
quality time with Sarah on days like this is great. She’s a lot of fun to
be around and I’m proud of her. At just 17, Sarah
already had a medal collection that most veteran
athletes would be proud of. And in the years ahead,
she would go on to achieve even more success
in the swimming pool. My biggest dream is
to win an Olympic gold medal. I can only imagine
how it would feel to become an Olympic champion.

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