Friday, August 14, 2020

Andreas Gustafsson, Olympic Dreams on Hold

Andreas Representing the USA

Swedish born, California residing, Andreas Gustafsson was looking forward to an incredible 2020. After years of training, the 38 year old was about to become the oldest Track and Field athlete to make an Olympic debut in history. Now, for the first time, the Olympics have been cancelled for a reason that is not due to a world war and Andreas’ dreams are put on hold.

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Andreas has been living in Coronado for about eight years with his wife Molly and their two sons. He raves about Coronado, “I love the people here. It’s a great community and different from anywhere else.” One of his favorite places is Coronado Fitness Club. Andreas shares, “The instructors are amazing! It really feels like home. They have some of the best instructors I have ever seen”. While he enjoys the beach and surfing, living by the bay is his favorite part, “it really is the best view in the world.”

Andreas with a friend training by the bay.

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Andreas began his Track and Field journey at the age of seven with his dad as his coach. “My dad has always been my coach, he was an Olympic Silver Medalist in 1984”. (Bo Gustafsson earned a Silver Medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics for the Men’s 50 kilometres walk competing for Sweden). Of their training, Andreas shares, “Most kids can’t handle having a parent as their coach. You hear all these stories, but our communication is really good and we have a lot of trust in each other and trust in the process.”

Andreas explains that he has tried different approaches but training with his dad has always been the best fit. He focuses on a huge amount of mileage and nutrition, which inspired his company B Natrl (pronounced Be Natural). B Natrl is a line of endurance supplements that are made naturally. They donate 10% of the profits to charity. Currently, they are supporting a humanitarian project in Honduras.

With two young sons, his own business, and training, Andreas admits that it can be a lot, but credits his wife Molly for her help and support. A typical day consists of waking up before his family to train and putting in a couple of hours of work before lunch. After he spends another few hours on a second workout, he enjoys time with his family in the evening, and then settles in to another couple hours of work. He explains, “Having my own business gives me the freedom to train and adjust to doing things with my family.”

Andreas, his wife Molly, and their sons at the Olympic Trials

While Andreas has competed for Sweden at the 2009 and 2011 World Outdoor Championships, he never made it to the Olympics. “I qualified for the Olympics twice before but got robbed in Sweden. The top 50 usually go and I was ranked 21 in 2012.”

Last year, Andreas was able to transfer his alliance to the USA following his marriage to Molly. He could not be happier to be representing the United States. Of winning the Olympic Trials, Andreas says, “It was a good feeling. I had a lot of friends and family there. It was amazing and had so many special moments. It’s such a big event in the United States!”. To Andreas, it is not only competing for the U.S., but also for the community, for Coronado, and for his sons. “If my kids can watch me at the Olympics, it gives them the fuel and motivation in life to do anything.”

Andreas says he knew the Olympics would be cancelled as soon as Canada pulled out but his outlook is inspiring, “You can’t get worked up over things you can’t control. I didn’t say ‘my life is over;’ this is a bigger issue. Let the world heal and then we can move on with sports.” Andreas still plans to compete at the Olympics in the Race Walk category when it is held next.

 

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Alyssa K. Burns
Alyssa is a graduate of Coronado High School and was in the founding broadcast journalism class at CHS. She earned her BA in Communication from CSU East Bay and completed her MBA from CSU San Marcos. Her passion for writing and interest in the behind the scenes of business, leads her to write frequently about Coronado businesses. You can find Alyssa walking around the ferry landing with her husband and shih-tzu terrier or enjoying a cup of coffee at one of Coronado's favorite cafes.Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: manager@coronadotimes.com
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