During his career Thomas Wassberg notched up four gold medals each at Olympic Games and World Cups. With his Olympic victory at Lake Placid in 1980 the Swede earned a place in history: over 15 kilometres he finished a hundredth of a second ahead of the Finn Juha Mieto – the narrowest margin in the history of the Olympic Games. All Wassberg’s wins were on Fischer. “Actually I always skied on Fischer!”, as the legendary cross-country skier puts it.

When did you start cross-country, and when competitive skiing?

As a child. I was about five years old. At the age of ten I tried out racing, and then I got more and more into it.

From when to when were you involved in the World Cup on Fischer skis? What were the highlights for you?

In the spring of 1974 I got my first Fischer racing skis from Gerhard Thaller in Kiruna, in Sweden. In the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck I was on Fischer skis over 15 kilometres and also in the relay race. Other highlights: the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, 1984 in Sarajevo and 1988 in Calgary, the 50-kilometre World Cup race in Holmenkollen in 1982, and the 1987 World Championship in Oberstdorf.


„My strong points were that I was mentally on top of the ball and stable, and that I was pretty fit.”

What were your strong points and weaknesses as a competitive skier? My strong points were that I was mentally on top of the ball and stable, and that I was pretty fit. My Achilles’ heel was the ability to sprint.

What new features did skis have in those days?

The shift from wooden skis to plastic, in Lake Placid the gas ski and the development of real skating skis for the 1985 World Championship in Seefeld.

How did you get connected with Fischer?

I had my first Fischer ski in 1974, at the Junior European Championship in Val Thorens. Then I got a contract as a contestant in the spring of 1974 in Kiruna, and my first racing skis from Ried, from the World Cup service team.

Who were your idols?

Sixten Jernberg and the Norwegians, for instance Oddvar Brå.

Who are the cross-country stars today, in your view?

Dario Cologna from Switzerland impresses me the most. He’s done a very good job in recent years.

Did you have a special link to Fischer?

Actually I always skied on Fischer! I had a very close relationship with the service people, Gerhard Thaller and Toni Schutti. They often helped me considerably. I’m still in close touch with Gerhard today.

What key ideas occur to you when you think of Fischer?

The gas ski! In 1981 a lot of our skis broke; in 1982 all our skis were really good again.

When did you stop racing, and why?

After 1988 I stopped training professionally. Enough is enough.

How has competitive skiing changed since your day?

Sprinting was added as an additional discipline. Waxing and preparing the skis is becoming more and more demanding. In my day the contestants did it all themselves, actually. These days there is too much double poling and not enough diagonal striding. Sprinting is certainly very interesting, but I personally dislike races with a mass start – I feel there’s too much emphasis on tactics, it should be restricted to cross- country for the general public. In those days we started working on the structure of the ski. That was very interesting and broke new ground.

The Vasa race is still the definitive annual cross-country event in Sweden.

I took part only three times, but I was unsuccessful every time. It’s a very unusual race. Once I even managed to break my own pole. That was nine kilometers from the finish – then there was no chance of a good result, of course.

What did you do after your athletic career?

I worked on professional trail preparation in cross-country. By the way, I shall help out at the 2015 World Championship in Falun. I was involved in building the skiing centre and the tourist centre in Asarna. In private life I’ve worked in my wood a great deal.

What were the highlights in your professional and private life?

In private life the birth of my son Björn, and when I became a grandfather. In professional life, buying a wood of my own.

Have you still got skis you won races on at home?

Yes, I hung on to two: one is in the skiing centre and the other at my home.

Are you still in touch with Fischer?

Yes, a bit with Lasse Jonsson, who does Fischer’s racing service in Sweden, and of course with Gerhard Thaller.