The opening speakers of EuroPride 2018 are no less than Pia Sundhage and Anja Pärson, two of Sweden’s, but also the world’s greatest athletes. On 1 August, they will both deliver speeches during the opening ceremony of EuroPride 2018, in EuroPride Park Stockholm. The speeches is based on their experiences from the world of sports, as well as their experiences outside of sports. Both say there is a great acceptance for plurality within their respective sports, but have also experienced the opposite off training and championships.

– We are very happy to welcome Pia Sundhage and Anja Pärson as opening speakers of EuroPride 2018. As open lgbt people in sports, where many lgbt people are struggling with norms regarding gender and sexual identity, they are strong role models says Britta Davidsohn president Stockholm Pride and Tasso Stafilidis, President West Pride.

Pia Sundhage is a famous football player, but perhaps best known for her leadership in sports. She managed the US national womens team in football, before returning to Sweden in 2012. Between 2012 and 2017, she managed the Swedish national womens team in football, and led them to a silver medal in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

– To me, Pride means that there is a statement that needs to be repeated – that it is ok to be different, and that differences enrich – a statement one would hope will become redundant in the future, Sundhage says.

Anja Pärson has expereiences from the world of alpine skiing, with gold medals from both the Olympics and World Cups. Now she works as an expert commentator for most major winter championships, and as a lecturer. In Sweden, she has, with her wife Filippa, become a strong rolemodel as an lgbtq-person.

– Pride is a forum where people can find community, a place where you can feel that you’re allowed to be whoever you want to be, and that you are allowed to express it during a glittering party, Pärson muses.

The EuroPride 2018 Opening Ceremony will take place in EuroPride Park Stockholm, on 1 August, at 7pm. The ceremony is hosted by Saga Becker.

Anja Pärson: (c) FERNVALL LOTTE / Aftonbladet / IBL Bildbyrå
Pia Sundhage: (c) Patrik C Österberg / IBL