Mormon Olympian Niklas Arrhenius
Making the Olympic team in Sweden is much harder than making it in the United States, but Niklas Arrhenius was up to the challenge. Although born in the United States-his mother’s country-he holds duel citizenship in Sweden, his father’s country. He also served a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sweden. And so, he participated in the 2008 Olympics for the Swedish team.
To make the team in Sweden, you must not only meet the Olympic A standard (a preset qualifying score in previous competitions), but you must also do very well in other European competitions over the previous season. Sweden sends few athletes to the Olympics, and those athletes must have a good chance to win. Niklas, the number-one ranked discus thrower in Sweden, met all the qualifications. His brother Leif is the number two ranked discus thrower, but will not be participating in the Olympics in 2008. Their father, Anders Arrhenius, was a four time champion in the sport in Sweden, and Niklas’ sister and younger brother are also competitors.
Niklas began competing in Sweden when he was about 14 years old. In high school, he was the top ranked boy his junior and senior years in his sport, and even set a national record. He also became an Eagle Scout during his teen years.
In 2004, he began attending Brigham Young University, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, competing for them, but continuing to compete for Sweden as well. His junior year, he took first in the Swedish championships, in a competition his wife also competed in. His senior year, he won the NCAA National Championships.
He is married to javelin thrower Tiffiney Arrhenius. Niklas told Brigham Young University Athletic Communications, “I try to be on the sidelines to watch Tiffany throw and be as supportive as possible.
“It’s someone else to think about during the meet, which is mostly a good thing,” he said. “When she does well, I’m really happy for her. It’s more of an intimate sympathy, for good or bad. It’s also incentive to not overwork myself, because track isn’t the most important thing in my life.”