Ten years ago in Karlstad, Sweden, a 12-year-old Daniel Magnusson sat watching the European Curling Championships.
The annual continental competition came to his hometown, and since he had recently started playing the sport, the boy came to see the best in action.
Skip was the representative of the hosts on the ice Niklas Edin. A young deputy sat on the bench Oscar Eriksson.
“It was the first time I really tried to imagine myself on a big stage,” Magnusson told Olympics.com on ANOC Awards in October.
Ten years later, the 22-year-old is an Olympic gold medalist after being a substitute for Team Sweden in Beijing 2022 where Edin and Eriksson led the team to glory.
“Being there with them, winning an Olympic gold medal, is obviously amazing,” Magnusson beamed. “I always followed them as a young junior; inspired me. And now to be on the same team with these guys, it’s amazing.”
Finally Olympic gold for Team Edin
Edin arrived in Beijing as a five-time world champion – he won his sixth last April in Las Vegas – and desperate to lose the title of the best curler never to win Olympic gold.
On Vancouver 2010Edin jumped Sweden to fourth place before winning the bronze medal four years later in Sochi.
On Pyeongchang 2018they got desperately close to gold but had to make do with silver thanks to American skips John Shuster stress-free double takeout in the eight end.
Beijing 2022 was the moment of final release as Edin, Eriksson, Rasmus Wrana and Christoffer sungren defeated Great Britain to win the men’s curling world title.
“The craziest thing about winning that gold medal was probably realizing what it actually means to all of us,” Magnusson said. at the moment of victory.
“We’ve all fought so hard, both individually and as a team, for so many years, so just realizing we finally made it came as a shock to all of us.
“I’ve been watching this band since I was ten years old and they’ve always been my big heroes,” he continued. “I feel like I’ve been on this journey for much longer than just four years.
“Finally realizing that we actually won was certainly the craziest and funniest thing you can experience.”
Curling: the ultimate team sport
to be alternative in curling, it effectively means being a substitute. This includes all the training and preparation, recognizing your rivals, pushing your teammates, but knowing that you may never get out on the ice.
In Beijing, Magnusson ultimately did not compete. Instead, he watched Sweden’s golden campaign from the sidelines.
While he may not have been part of the action, it’s clear that when he talks about the unique nature of his sport, the Swede understands that curling is good for the team must always come first:
“Curling is quite a special sport because it is a team sport; it’s a great team sport.
“There are only four to five of us competing on the tour, so we really need to get to know each other very well to get the best out of each other and perform when it really matters.
“There are a lot of individualities in this sport, but ultimately it’s about helping each other. So we really support each other on different levels both on and off the ice.
“I would say that the communication and relationships you create within the team are unheard of in any other sport,” continued Magnusson. “Your team becomes like your family; there are so few of you and you really need to help each other to get the most out of it.
“It’s a team sport and it’s a small team sport, but the team is always trying to help you. And that’s so special.”
“I think in any situation, even if it’s difficult, the team will be there to guide you. And even if you play well or badly, the team will be there” – Daniel Magnusson
For those in Team Edinstrengthening team bonds is very important and often involves playing other sports off the ice.
Magnusson and his skip occasionally play badminton together, while pool, golf and chess – all games that require decision-making and accuracy – are favorites in the group.
The young Swede explained that not only does he scratch his tears from the competition, but also that such activities allow the team to challenge each other, which encourages them to continue to improve. And Magnusson wants to learn from his idols whenever he can:
“We always help each other. They’ve always been my big heroes and they’re all very talented in their own individual ways. Oscar [Eriksson] is a great strategy. He knows everything, just looking at how everything will work out.
“Each of them has different talents that always help the team to achieve good results.
“As a young junior trying to keep up with the older guys, I always try to learn from what they say and do because they all have so much experience, so much knowledge in training, strategy and basically everything that keeps us going. So I’m trying to keep up and learn.”
Niklas Edin (R) from Sweden hugs Oskar Eriksson, watched by Christoffer Sundgren (L) and Rasmus Wranaa, after defeating Team GB in the Beijing 2022 final
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Call-ups for the 2022 European Curling Championships
Not without significance is the fact that during the European Championships 2012, Magnusson decided to start a career in curling.
And at the same event 10 years later in Ostersund, Sweden, the deputy becomes a full member of the line-up.
FROM Edin is recovering from knee surgeryEriksson takes the reins and Wranaa takes third place, Magnusson is second and Sundgren remaining in the lead.
When Olympics.com spoke to the curler, he did not yet know that he would take on such responsibility. He even joked at the time that there would still be some work to do before he ever led the senior men’s team: “When Niklas turns 65, I’ll probably step in and do that,” he said with a smile.
But having been with the team every step of the way over the years, the young revolver will feel more than ready.