What did Marcus Hellner do in the Olympic Village?
I once read an article about the shenanigans that take place in Olympic Village. It was a bawdy tale that made me think--and not for the first time--that being an Olympian has to be a pretty fantastic existence (you know, outside of that whole "lifetime of training" thing).
So, when PokerStars SportStar Marcus Hellner won gold in Sochi a few days ago, I knew what I had to ask him. I wanted to hear about the crazy parties, the wild nights, and everything that I'd be afraid to print here. I was looking for something, ahem, controversial.
So, what did Marcus Hellner do in Olympic Village?
"No big parties,"he demurred. "When we were in our houses it was mostly time for PlayStation and some poker."
I shouldn't have been surprised. After all, when left to his own devices, Hellner typically turns to competition for fun. If you haven't seen this video of him battling on jet skis and at the poker table, it's worth a couple minutes of your time.
It's funny, because as much fun as Hellner seems to have messing around, he's the definition of work ethic. He has three Olympic gold medals (and a silver) to prove it. Born in 1985, Hellner has been a competitive skier since 2003. Just this month, he anchored the Swedish cross country team to earn his latest gold medal.
"It's a very great feeling, perhaps better this time because I'm a little bit more aware about how hard it is and how much work lies behind it," Hellner said this week.
In a world where people do acrobatics on skis or fly through the air like a missile, Hellner's cross country may not seem like the best spectator sport. You might be surprised. Hellner's rail for the Olympics was bigger than he'd ever expected. His Swedish supporters overwhelmed him.
"People are very happy and cheerful," he said. "They come up to all of us on the team to congratulate us. It feels cool that so many have watched the races."
Hellner may have his gold medal now, but he won't be able to rest on those particular laurels for long. The cross country world championships are next year, and they are headed to Sweden, Hellner's home turf.
"It will be a very big thing for us to compete in our home country," he said.
But surely--surely!--he gets some time to rest, right? I mean, the man is due a party or something. Somebody needs to get this guy of his skis for a bit, right? What does he want to do. Well...of course.
"I'm always up for poker," he said. "I will try to get some time to go to some of the EPTs soon."
We hope you do, Marcus. And if you do, let us buy you a congratulatory drink. You've earned it.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging