Stina – Elite Orienteer Eager to Show the Way

Stina is small and delicate, and exudes a stregth that a mere some are blessed with. Many folks envy elite athletes for being different from the rest of humanity, for their grit and ability to persistently train. When talking to Stina we found there’s more to that grit, it’s ablaze from a sheer joy and love for what she does. Her enthusiasm is what enables her to perform at an amazing level.

Stina Abramsson has been a rural resident since she could walk. Born in Bjurholm – Sweden’s smallest municipality, containing circa 1,500 persons. She was 9 years old in Bjurholm when she was invited to an orientation session with neighbors and quickly realized it was the sport for her. She promptly went on to apply to a skiorientation college in Mora. It was the active orientation in Bjurholm that gave her the support she needed early in her career. “They would take me out, training, racing, encouraging me, I thought it was so much fun” Tina explains.

Stina has an impressive list of merits with a golden World Cup won in 2002. After two European gold championships and bronze in the World Championships of 2004 & 2005, she had also changed her last name to Grenholm and decided to study to become a teacher, in Umeå. After that, she moved to Östersund, where she met her husband and had two children.

Why move to Vilhelmina?

-My husband Mikael is from Vilhelmina, so we’d been here many times before shipping our posessions this way. We thought about it long and hard, for years in fact. Finally after some years we decided to do it. During the time I was on maternity leave there was an advertisement about a free teaching service in Saxnäs, where we have a cabin. I applied to the position but didn’t get in. So I went on to do an internship at Volgsjö school, and afterwards I sought as a substitute teacher in Swedish as a second language at Malgomaj school, where I work now. Mikael has his job in Östersund, and he’s on paternity leave right now.

-When I made my career as an elite athlete I remember how important I thought good leaders were. That’s how I wound up a teacher.

Even if Stina’s husband is not employed in Vilhelmina and her own position is a substitute job, the two did not hesitate to buy their own house in the town.

-I believe in this, and we are going to live here, some way somehow. Stina says with complete assurance.

Why is Vilhelmina so great?

-Every morning when I walk to work I’m met by a fantastic view of the lake Volgsjön. I can see it from work, too. Even if you don’t know anyone in the area very well, you are likely to know everyone. Which creates a certain sense of safety. You feel at home and it’s rather nice.

Stina also mentions that staying active is important, and in Vilhelmina everything is walking distance. Which means: More walking. Everyone should use the opportunity to walk anytime they can.

-Child care is borderline luxurious here! Compared to many other places, where there are many grownups per child in a group. I think it’s a big benefit, each morning I wake up living here, Stina proclaims.

What Does Your Freetime look like?

-Vilhelmina is a town that offers lots of athletic opportunities, but until now orientation has never been in the association register.

Together with a few friends, Stina started an orientation club in the area. In the spring they start a children’s, youth’s and adult group on respective nights of the week.

-Because I work with immigrants I’d like to get them to join in too. Even if I know it will be a challenge. Most of them are from big, densely populated cities, and are unused to being in the wilderness. I’d like to give it a shot however. Orientation deserves to try orientation, it’s so cool! Stina laughs.

Stina is a more or less normal person enjoying life, taking charge and setting a good example for life in rural parts. She makes living in the moment and making the best of it feel absoluteyl natural.