Sven Tumba

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The Independent Online

Sven Tumba, who died on 1 October at the age of 80, was perhaps the greatest ice hockey player Sweden has produced. He was also a golfer and footballer who represented his country in all three sports.

Tumba was born Sven Johansson, one of the most common family names in Sweden. In 1965 he changed his family name to Tumba, after the small town south of Stockholm where he was born. In the early 1950s he played for the national football side and won the Swedish championship with Djurgarden in 1959.

Tumba (left, AP), also played ice hockey for Djurgarden and won eight Swedish championships. He played for Sweden at 14 World Championships and four Winter Olympics, was named best forward at the 1957 and 1962 Worlds, and was leading goalscorer at the 1964 Winter Olympics, when Sweden's amateurs finished second behind the "shamateurs" of the Soviet Union.

In 1997 he was inducted into the International Hockey Hall of Fame and in 1999 he was named Sweden's best ever player, beating prominent players such as Peter Forsberg and Mats Sundin. During the Swedish Golf Federation's centenary celebrations in 2004 he also received an award as the most influential individual in Swedish golf, ahead of the leading women's player Annika Sorenstam, among others.

After retiring from ice hockey, Tumba turned to golf, both playing and course-designing. "Golf is not a sport, it's a disease," he once said. He designed several courses in Sweden and the first in the Soviet Union, a 10-minute drive from Red Square in Moscow.

During his final years, Tumba devoted much of his time to the Sven Tumba Education Fund, a global project using sport to help children develop in interest in reading and writing, teamwork, sharing and self-respect.