Here is Björn Barrefors in the Utö Running Cap from YMR Track Club. After Björn modelled for our latest Spring Collection shoot, we took the opportunity to ask the former Swedish champion some questions about life during and after his career. We asked about his requirements for training clothes, and how he came to be called “the world’s sexiest athlete” by, among others, blogger Perez Hilton.
- Name: Björn Barrefors
- Age: 33 years
- Lives: Vaxholm outside Stockholm
- Works with: Product manager in data privacy for Spotify
Personal records in athletics:
- Tiokamp: 7897 p
- Sjukamp: 5894 p
- Pole vault 510 cm
- High jump: 206 cm
- Long jump: 757 cm
- For a complete list, see Wikipedia.
Numbers as an athlete:
- Gold SM sick fight 2008
- Gold SM tiokamp 2008
- EM and tiokamp 2012
- Junior WC tiokamp 2006
What is life like after your athletic career?
It has been a lot of ups and downs where I have tried to adapt to a “normal” life. I’m a thinker, so when athletics disappeared, it left a big void and many questions about what life is all about. But today I am happy with my life together with a wonderful partner and a job I enjoy.
How do you remember back in life as an athlete?
I will probably always have a split relationship with athletics, it was such a big part of my life and gave me lots of fun memories and experiences. Unfortunately, my last years as an athlete were dominated by physical and mental problems, and the years after I “retired” were a dark period in my life. Thanks to my fantastic partner who has swum at an elite level, I found my way back to the joy of moving and in life in general through Swimrun, the mixture of being out in nature and the lack of hundreds makes it a perfect sport for me.
What was the highlight of your athletic career?
Junior WC in Beijing 2006. I had just managed to qualify and was ranked last (27th), but everything was right there and I placed 11th. It was also the starting shot for my career where I went from slender average to Swedish elite.
What was your favorite sport in the decathlon?
Long jump, I had a feeling for it and my first Swedish Championship medal was a gold as a seventeen-year-old in long jump.
Foto: Deca Text & Bild
What was life like as an athlete in Nebraska USA?
It was cool because the sport was so big over there and I got really good conditions for my studies, but in hindsight I have realized that I really thrive in Sweden.
How important was it as an athlete and today as an elite exerciser what clothes do you wear when you train? What features of the clothes are important to you?
First of all, thank you for the name elite exerciser. When it comes to clothes and shoes, I have always been picky about how it sits and feels. Really good clothes are like a paradox; they should sit so well that you do not think they are there, but they should also sit and look so good that you feel good and have self-confidence. That was when I warmed up for the European Championships after spending 2 nights sick to the stomach in a bathtub, and that’s still the case when I put on my jogging pants to stand out in the woods in Bogesundslandet. It just gets so much more fun to train and compete when you do not have to worry about whether the clothes will work or be in the way, and at the same time can take a look in the mirror before you stand out and feel satisfied with what you see.
Are there any similarities between being a decathlon player and your role on Spotify that you have today?
For me personally, I have realized why it was just a decathlon, I find it quite easy to see connections and draw lessons from one thing to another.It was something I benefited greatly from when I needed to know ten different branches and it helps me today to adapt and learn lessons quickly. On the other hand, I miss the feeling of being able to take in with pure raw strength and work hard to get better and then be able to measure it.
Reading a blog post or a document just does not give the same feeling and unlike my muscles, it does not just write an extra side of me doing a couple of heavy leg bends. But, in the last year, I have started to think a little. When I feel stressed or stuck with a problem, a walk or run does wonders, I think working from home can make people dare to spend more of their working time away from the computer and thus get more done.
What was it like to be photographed in the new clothes?
I’m split. I am so inspired by your work and way of thinking about sustainability, but when I get to try all the fantastic clothes, I want them!
How did the new Utö Running Cap feel?
I like, as I said, if you do not think about your clothes when you train, then it’s with Utö Running Cap! I simply forgot that I was wearing it. And apart from the fact that it was a slap in the face, I felt very cool every time I ran past a shop window.
Which other garments in our collection do you like best?
Åsundens Men’s Hoodie Black! Can it be winter again so I can use it more? For the training sessions, I’m a bit old school and run on Änggården Men’s Tights and a long-sleeved shirt. Both are my absolute favorites when it’s a little warmer outside.
Söder Mälarstrand T-shirt in burgundy that will appear later this summer is another favorite.
A few years ago you were named “the sexiest athlete in the world” and, among others, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton wrote about you – how was that experience?
It was a bit surreal and confusing, I was probably not quite sure how I would react. But I decided pretty quickly that it was super cool and a fantastic compliment. After a while, it became a bit boring to be “known” for my appearance and when I quit athletics, I deleted my Twitter. But it’s still a fun thing and a little now and then it happens that some new colleague has Googled my name and I need to explain my past.