Nils van der Poel was one of the main characters during the Swedish sports gala on Monday evening. The 25-years old two-time World Champion and world record holder received the Achievement of the Year award and came second in the voting for the Jerring prize.
Sleeping during the gala
Van der Poel himself couldn’t attend the gala because he is training for the Olympics in Inzell, Germany. Two of his friends accepted the award for him, while he was fast asleep. He has prioritized switching to Chinese time since he is about to attend the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing in February.
“I was asleep till 1 am, then I woke up and saw that I was getting a lot of messages on my phone. I thought I must have won something, but then I fell asleep again. I woke up around 3 am again, saw what was going on, and I fell asleep again,” he says at a digital press conference the day after the gala.
“My transfer to China is more important than the gala”
The second place in the Jerring Prize seems to outweigh the award he actually won. The Jerring price is more valuable to van der Poel because the Swedish people voted on it. “The fact that the Swedish people voted on me is very flattering and I also think that it is awesome.”
“Somehow, I think that means I've managed to take on the part of the responsibility that it means to be a top athlete, which includes entertainment. It's also very affirming for my persona that it's appreciated because I think it has a lot to do with what it's about,” says Nils van der Poel. The second place in the voting is still proof that he has become popular.
The Jerring Prize or Radiosporten's Jerring Prize is a prize instituted by the sports editorial staff of Swedish Radio. The prize is named after the Swedish radio pioneer Sven Jerring, famous among other things for his sports broadcasts, and is awarded to a successful Swedish athlete for the best Swedish sports performance of the year. The award is also known as the "people's prize", as it is radio listeners who vote for the athlete or sports team that has made the "best sports performance" of the year.
At the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, Nils van der Poel is the big favorite in the 10,000 meters and 5,000 meters.