It was almost fifty years ago - Sweden was in a postwar boom and waking up to US culture. Ingemar, the builder’s son from Gothenburg, travelled to New York in the summer of 1959 to face Floyd Patterson for the world heavyweight title.
His victory made him a hero for millions of Swedes and an international star. He has since been declared by the Swedish Sports Academy to be the country’s third most important sports personality.
To handle a public eager to pay its respects, Friday’s ceremony was held in one of the town’s biggest churches, Vasakyrkan. But Ingo was laid to rest in his family’s burial plot at Västra kyrkogården.
A few hours before the ceremony, mourners had already began gathering at the church to say their farewells to their hero. By the time the ceremony started, the church was filled to the brim.
The dean Bengt Inghammar, himself a fan, thanked Ingo’s family for allowing so many people to share their mourning ceremony and spoke about why the boxing legend had meant so much to so many people. The ceremony ended with a seemingly endless amount of people paying their respects to Ingo by placing a flower on his coffin and saying their goodbyes.
The Swedish Olympic Committee had sent flowers, as had other sports personalities and boxing promotors. Raymond Patterson, Floyd Patterson’s brother, has honoured Ingo by sending a donation to his foundation.