WHEN we first met Louise Jannering she was in Mildura on holiday visiting ex-pat Swede and Christie Centre dynamo Krister Jonsson, a family friend.
Since then she has gone onto to greater things, her crowning achievement to date being medal wins in the cycling at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics!
Louise has been very busy of late, and we have not been able to catch up with her personally, but
Krister has been keeping the ‘Weekly in the loop.
Back in mid-June he sent me a text alerting me to Louise’s potential Olympic selection. It was almost exactly to the day six years after her story appeared in these pages back in 2015. The exciting wait was on.
By the first week in July we knew … Louise was off to the Olympics. Krister was as excited as all get out, and so was I.
Louise has that effect on people.
She was to be part of the Swedish national team, the country’s sixteenth consecutive appearance at the Summer Paralympics since 1960.
The Swedish team comprised 26 athletes competing in 11 sports.
Louise, along with her sighted cycling partner, was selected to compete in the time trial and road race events.
According to a Swedish newspaper report from 2020, Louise was interested in cycling from an early age when she often rode a tandem bicycle with her family as a child.
“Louise has always liked speed and the feeling of freedom she gets on the bike,” the article continued.
Therefore, it was not long before she was keen to test herself on a racing tandem bike.
When Louise was 18 she attended a try-out camp for parasport. She went to a few training events and shortly afterwards competed in a smaller competition and since that day she has been smitten with tandem competition.
“It is the competition itself that is her favourite part of cycling,” the article proclaimed.
“The goal,” she told the journalist, “Is to be as good as I can possibly be. I want to feel that I did everything I could to reach as far as possible. Another big goal is to take me to the Paralympics in
Tokyo next year and to get better and better places in the World Cup. ”
Well she did it!
Being born with poor sight and being completely blind by age six is a daily challenge that many of us will never know. Those of us with full sight rarely appreciate what a precious gift it is, or how we would cope if, suddenly, it was ripped away.
That’s why meeting 17-year-old Louise was at once a sobering and an inspiring privilege.
Now she has gone even further in her quest for true freedom from her disability.
‘Go hard or go home…no room for pity here!’ was our headline six years ago, and Louise has obviously lived up to that mantra. Her own by the way.
So when the next text from Krister arrived on Wednesday last week, I shouldn’t have been surprised.
“Hi Grant. Louise won bronze yesterday in the time trial … go hard and win a medal!”
Said it all really.
Then, again, at 4.48pm on Friday last week: “Bronze in the road race. Super impressive ride.”
The pride in the message from a fellow Swede and close friend was palpable.
And I must admit I experienced some proprietary pride too and was chuffed for her.
Having met her six years ago, it was obvious then she was destined for great things.
And she has delivered in spades.
It is going to be amazing to watch what Louise does next.
Not sure if she is into mountain climbing, but if she is Mt Everest is not safe!
By GRANT MAYNARD