Well, that is a difficult question. But we might agree that a hero is a person who ”is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities”. Superman is for sure a hero, but there is the small drawback that he is fictitious.
So, we in Jokkmokk can’t compete with a person who matches Superman in all his qualities, BUT we had and have some impressive real life heros!
All started with the famous Nordenskiöldrace in 1884, which proved the fantastic capability of the Sami people to cover long-distances by skiing (see more here). The winner, Pavva-Lasse Nilsson Tuorda, crossed the finish line after 21 hours and 22 minutes. A really outstanding achievement !
The pictures show you the participants of the race, where the race was held, the polar explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld and the winner of the race, Pavva-Lasse Nilsson Tuorda.
But that was only the beginning of organised skiing competitions. Other long-distance competions were organised – but never again until 2016 a 220 km race. However, long distances meant LONG distances. In 1896, Jakob Nordlund and Nils Mattson Rimpi from Jokkmokk became third and fourth in a 95 km skiing competition in Luleå. Jakob Nordlund became fourth man again in 1897 in another 95 km race, this time from Falun to Gävle. He lost the final sprint and was only 4/10 seconds after the winner Anders Mickelsson Kuoljok.
Maybe the best known hero of the early years of skiing competitions from Jokkmokk is Janne Nordlund. His first big victory was the 60 km competion in 1905 in Sundsvall. In the next years, Janne Nordlund seemed to just collected victories in his favourite distances, 30 km and 60 km: 1906 he was the winner in Luleå on 60 km. He was the winner of the 1907, 1909 and 1910 national competitions on 30 km. And in 1909 he became third in the Nordic Games. In 1910, the first Swedish Championship has been organised, and guess what? Janne Nordlund won the 60 km competition.
So, congrats to Janne Nordlund for impressive achievements!