When she has a day off and if the weather is good, athlete Alina Strömberg is just like any other teen who likes to spend time at her family’s summer house or hanging out with friends -- but the rest of the time, the 17-year-old is anything but ordinary.
In July 2016 at the European Athletics Youth Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia, 17-year-old Alina Strömberg vaulted her best jump yet at 4.15meters to become the 2016 European Youth Champion in pole vaulting.
In doing so, the Trelleborg-sponsored athlete set a new championship record; an incredible achievement but also the product of years of dedication and hard work.
“I live in a small town in Finland called Pietarsaari and my coach lives in Vaasa, about a 100 kilometers away. For the first three years, my parents drove me to training but it made more sense for me to go to a school in Vaasa itself, so that I could train more and better,” says Alina. “These days, I go home only for the weekends and during summer.”
The rest of the time, Alina dedicates herself to a daunting training schedule of three to four 2-hour sessions a week during summer and six to seven sessions a week in winter. It’s no mean feat for a 17-year-old but Alina’s passion for pole vaulting motivates her.
“Pole vaulting is a hard event,” says Alina, “and you have to be good at so many things to be a good pole vaulter. You have to be fast and strong, as well as have technical skills, body control and mental strength.
“But it’s also fun. And it's an amazing feeling to ‘fly’ over the bar.”
Yet, pole vaulting wasn’t always her only love. “I’ve always liked sports,” says Alina, “and when I was younger, I played football and ice hockey. I was also a good sprinter and I sometimes still compete in the 100 meters when I have the time.”
But for now, her focus is on pole vaulting and doing her best in it. She achieved a personal best at the European Athletics Youth Championships in Tbilisi but she has plans to jump even higher.
“I want to jump 4.25 meters and win a medal in the upcoming indoor nationals for 19-year-old girls,” says Alina. And her long-term goal is to keep reaching for greater heights: “Just because I jump high in the pole vault as a 17-year old doesn't mean that I will jump high when I'm older,” says Alina. “I need to work harder and try to remain injury-free.”
Helping her reach this goal is Trelleborg. Its pipe seals operation has been sponsoring Alina for two years now. In Alina, some of Trelleborg’s brand values are reflected; total performance, innovation and responsibility.