Beach Volleyball

Åhman and Hellvig are Sweden’s Team of the Year 2023


Article Tue, Jan 23 2024
Author: Federico Ferraro

Beach Volleyball superstars David Åhman and Jonatan Hellvig were crowned Sweden’s Team of the Year 2023 at the annual Idrottsgalan (Sports Gala) organised at the Friends Arena in Stockholm and watched by some 1.3 million TV viewers. They edged for such a prestigious award a very competitive field, including the women’s soccer team that had finished third at the FIFA World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, the newly crowned European champions in men’s table tennis as well as world sailing champions Vilma Bobeck/Rebecca Netzler. 

Åhman and Hellvig on stage after receiving the prize for the Team of the Year 2023

“It is a great honour to receive this award. We had an incredible season and are extremely grateful for all the support we have received from both family and friends, the Swedish Olympic Committee, and the Swedish Volleyball Association - and not least everyone back home who cheered us on. We wish to thank our fantastic coaches Rasmus Jonsson and Anders Kristiansson as well; without them this would never have been possible."

David Åhman

“It feels great to stand here and receive the award. It is also great fun that Volleyball and Beach Volleyball have grown so much in recent years, and we hope to inspire more people to start playing, and to show that we in Sweden can also succeed on sand and not just in snow sports,” partner Hellvig added. 

In a truly memorable year, the Swedes retained their EuroBeachVolley crown, claimed a historic silver from the World Championships in Mexico, and emerged as winners of the World Tour Finals as well as of the World Championship in the innovative King of the Court format. At the age of 22 only, that is a truly remarkable series of achievements. 

Under the leadership of their coaching duo Rasmus Jonsson and Anders Kristiansson, the Swedes have fundamentally changed their sport with a revolutionary game concept, which includes their so-called ‘jump sets’. Their success story and pioneering style of play has echoed throughout the vast world of Volleyball and has also become a documentary film on Swedish TV. 

The Swedish Beach Volleyball stars celebrate a historic achievement together with their coaches and entourage

“It feels so incredibly fun that David, Jonatan, Rasmus, and Anders receive such fantastic recognition in Swedish sports. They are a perfect mix of competence, experience, discipline, talent, and willingness to develop and challenge themselves. Moreover, on the way to success, they have revolutionised Beach Volleyball globally. You could say they are the rebels of Beach Volleyball and they have undoubtedly earned this award. Within Swedish Volleyball, we are proud and impressed by their successes."

Simon Dahl
Secretary General of the Swedish Volleyball Association

The annual Idrottsgalan was a historic event for Swedish Volleyball even before it started since Volleyball and Beach Volleyball nominees featured in as many as five categories. Isabelle Haak was also among the four nominees who were up for the Women’s Athlete of the Year Award, but this eventually went to swimming sensation Sarah Sjöström – who claimed the prize for an incredible sixth time. Åhman/Hellvig’s coaches, Rasmus Jonsson and Anders Kristiansson, were among the four nominees for the Coach of the Year Award. The prize eventually went to Johannes Lukas from biathlon. 

Moreover, Åhman/Hellvig ended up in fourth place after people from across Sweden cast their votes for their favourites to win the so-called ’Jerringpriset’ award, the single biggest honour in Swedish sports. Isabelle Haak finished in tenth place out of 12 nominees in that same category.