Ambassador Gerald Thomson with the trophy he won at the 2016 reindeer race in Jokkmokk. Photo: Ulla Engberg/SR
Ambassador Gerald Thomson with the trophy he won at the 2016 reindeer race in Jokkmokk. Photo: Ulla Engberg/SR

Underdog Aussie ambassador wins annual reindeer race

"It was very, very fast"
5:29 min

During 2016 Jokkmokk market in northern Sweden over the weekend, the annual reindeer race crowned a surprise winner: Gerald Thomson, Australia's ambassador to Sweden.

A few days before going to the Jokkmokk winter market, ambassador Gerald Thomson got a text message from the head of Jokkmokk municipality, asking him if he wanted to take part in a reindeer race.

"I had no idea what it was about, but I thought it sounded like fun, so I said yes," Thomson told Radio Sweden.

The ambassador went through a quarter-final, a semi-final and a final and practically wiped the floor with all the other contestants. So what was it like?

"Very, very fast. The main school that was required was that you could actually hold on and stay on the sled and yell, basically. Schriek at the reindeer and make sure that they went as fast as possible," he said.

"The very first race I did, I actually came off the sled and I was being dragged on the ice, but then I managed to get on the sled again. The main thing was that it was very quick, so I didn't really have time to think about it. As I said to one of my friends in Australia: 'All I had to do was to lie back and think of Australia'," he said.

For a picture of the actual race, have a look here.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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