Volvo Ocean Race: Magnus Olsson, Six times race veteran dies at 64

Ericsson 3, skippered by Magnus Olsson (SWE) finish fourth on leg 10 in St Petersburg, crossing the line at 01:04:48 GMT


The world of sailing was in mourning on Saturday following the death of Sweden's Magnus Olsson at the age of 64.


Olsson competed in the Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race in six editions from 1985-86 to 2008-09, tasting victory with EF Language in 1997-98. He was named a Volvo Ocean Race Legends Ambassador in recognition of his enormous contribution to the event in 2011.

Ericsson 3 skipper Magnus Olsson arrives to the dock after winning the Stockholm Sprint Race. Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo credit: Oskar Kihlborg/ Ericsson Racing Team 2009 The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 will be the 10th running of this ocean marathon. Starting from Alicante in Spain, on 4 October 2008, it will, for the first time, take in Cochin, India, Singapore and Qingdao, China before finishing in St Petersburg, Russia for the first time in the history of the race
One of the most popular and recognisable sailors in the world, he maintained links with the round-the-world race to the end, and was working as a coach with the all-female Team SCA in Lanzarote when he suffered a stroke. He was surrounded by his family as he died on Saturday.

A statement from Team SCA read: 'Magnus Olsson, one of the greatest sportsmen in the world of sailing, has passed away at a hospital in Spain. His family and friends were by his side. Magnus suffered a stroke during the week and despite initial positive signs, deteriorated over the next days.'

Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad, who sailed around the world with Olsson with Intrum Justitia in 1993-94, led the tributes.

'It's with great sadness I received the news about Magnus passing away today. He was my mentor when I sailed around the world with him 20 years ago.

'He was the inspiration for me and for so many more and more than anything he was the smile of the race.

'A true friend has left on his final leg and the sailing world will never be the same without Magnus and his smile. Never. My thoughts are with his two sons and his close family today.'

Olsson was born on January 4 in 1949 and grew up in Bromma, a outside Stockholm. He starting sailing on Lake Mälaren aged eight and learned his trade in OK Dinghy, Trapez and then 505s. He won three Swedish National Sailing Championships in 505s.

Known amongst friends and colleagues as 'Mange', he participated in the America's Cup on Sverige in 1976 before gaining his first taste of the Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race in 1985 with Drum. It was the start of a long and historic collaboration.

'Mange has been vital in building Volvo Ocean Race during more than a decade,' said Sven Österberg, a spokesman for Volvo Group. 'He inspired us all with his joyful style, his clever words and huge experience from the seven seas. We will miss him enormously at Volvo, and so will our customers who loved his great presentations.'



Karin Bäcklund, who also worked closely with him for Volvo Cars, added: 'I will always remember him caring, energetic, smiling, joking, laughing! And always being too humble about his off-shore sailing experience and wisdom.

'Mange has meant so much for Volvo Ocean Race, and we will remember him with much warmth in our hearts.'

Richard Brisius, Managing Director of Team SCA, said: 'Mange was the greatest person I have ever met, one of my very best friends, and one of the greatest sailors ever. He was a unique man who brought energy, humour and love to everyone around him. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.

'He meant a lot to so many people and currently he was a fundamental part of Team SCA. The team will continue the great work that he started, training and working in the way that he would have expected. He will be sorely missed by us all. It is a true privilege to have been a friend of Mange, and I will proudly carry his legacy with me forever.'

Jan Johansson, President and CEO of SCA, added: 'Magnus was a great sportsman who, throughout his impressive offshore racing career, brought his passionate spirit and enthusiasm to the sport. He has inspired our female crew, many other sailors, both young and old, and all of us who had the opportunity of meeting and knowing him. Magnus will be deeply missed around the world. Our thoughts now go to his family and all who were touched by his energy and passionate spirit.'