Just recently, defending the title at the European Nations Cup was a special highlight for the athletes from Scandinavia. The elite TIMBERSPORTS® sportsmen Ferry Svan and Emil Hansson, who will also be competing for their country at the 2023 World Championships in Stuttgart, were involved in both victories for Sweden at the European competition. In addition to their heritage, the two young, already very successful athletes have one more thing in common: Both come from sporting families and have had sport in their blood since early childhood. Ferry Svan is the son of former cross-country skier Gunde Svan, Emil Hansson's father Hans-Ove Hansson was also active as a TIMBERSPORTS® athlete. In conversation, the four talk about their passion for the sport and the special relationship between fathers and sons.
22-year-old Emil Hansson grew up around logger sports - his father Hans-Ove was an active TIMBERSPORTS® athlete from 2008 to 2019 and won the Swedish championship three times during that time. In addition, the 51-year-old taught a logger sport course at Sweden's Älvdalen Forest School for some time. " Back then, we Swedish athletes attended a training camp run by the coach Bart Jansen in the Netherlands and put together a Swedish team that competed in the European Championships," Hans-Ove recalls of the early days of his logger sports career.
In the footsteps of the father
The 51-year-old passed on his passion for axe and saw to his son Emil. "I started training when I was seven," recalls Emil, who wanted to follow in his father's footsteps at an early age. As he grew older, he says, his interest in STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® grew: "Then, at 16, I wanted to officially compete." There was never any family pressure, father and son agree. "I never tried to motivate him to take up the sport himself," says Hans-Ove: "It's important to me not to push Emil - he has to want to do it himself. If he wants it, I support him wholeheartedly." In addition to his interest in sport, Emil's relationship with his father has also changed over time, Emil describes his development. "In the beginning I looked up to my father, he's a very competitive person," says the Swedish young athlete: "But as you get better and better yourself, you look around more and take your cues from the best athletes in the world at the moment."
Today, his focus is on constantly developing and fighting his way to the top of the sport: "My long-term goal is to become the best and win the World Championship. In the short term, I would like to be on the podium at the World Trophy or the World Championships." With his performances in recent years, Emil has already impressed both nationally and internationally with the triumph at the European Trophy 2022, first place in the Pro competition of the European Nations Cup 2023 and two Swedish championships in a row.
From cross-country skiing to TIMBERSPORTS®
Another great hope in the Swedish team is 26-year-old Ferry Svan, who already won the Rookie World Championship in 2017 and has since regularly competed with the best pro athletes in the world. Active in the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® world for almost ten years, his sporting talent is not surprising - after all, Ferry comes from a famous family of athletes. His father Gunde is a former cross-country skier and Olympic champion, mother Karin Marie was also active as a cross-country skier, and Ferry's sister Julia Svan is also into winter sports. "Sport is very important in my family in that we all do a lot of sport ourselves and do it successfully," says Ferry, describing his family's passion: "From football to hockey and motorcross to skiing." In his youth, he himself trained in cross-country skiing and motorcross and only then started with STIHL TIMBERSPORTS®. "Ferry would definitely have made a good cross-country skier," knows father Gunde: "He was accepted at the ski college, but turned it down and opted instead for the forestry school in Älvdalen, where he came into contact with STIHL TIMBERSPORTS®." A decision that has paid off for Ferry - the 26-year-old is now one of the best and most established athletes in the world.
In a direct comparison, he definitely sees parallels between skiing and STIHL TIMBERSPORTS®, says Ferry: "You have to train hard and give 100% if you want to be successful - that's the case in all kinds of exceptional sports. Good preparation and the right training conditions are important." For this reason, the Swede trains not only on the wood, but also when skiing or roller skiing, together with his father.
Gunde Svan is only too happy to pass on his own experiences as a former professional athlete to his son Ferry: "To be successful in sport, you need assertiveness and a great willingness to work hard to achieve the goal." Despite his successes, he says there were also always moments when he wanted to protect his children from a life as a competitive athlete - "especially when you experience a lot of pressure from your environment as a prominent athlete and sport is your top priority." In addition to training, the former Olympic athlete also supports his son at competitions as an assistant in wood preparation. However, he has never tried his hand at an axe and saw himself, Gunde admits with amusement when asked - Ferry is too worried that he could injure himself. That's why he prefers to leave this sport to his son: "After all, Ferry is the expert in handling axes and saws.