Commentary on Osvald Dahlgren

By Sten Sundberg

Mr Osvald Dahlgren

"His contribution to Swedish sports for Deaf people is immeasurable. That is how great Osse was as a leader and active athlete. Mr Osvald "Osse" Dahlgren is no longer with us. He passed away in peace Thursday afternoon at 3.30 p.m. and he was 92 years old.

Osvald, or Osse as we preferred to call him, won during his career two Olympic gold medals, and the same number of silver medals. As an active and leader, he took part in eight Summer Games and in six Winter Games. He ended his own career as active at age 72 (!) in orientation.

He was born November 2, 1911 in Stockholm, and went to The Manilla School during the years 1919 to 1927. He got a job as typographer, after finishing school, at Bonniers, where he stayed until he retired 1976.

Osvald was in the beginning active in athletics, which he liked the best. Beside a winner of a number of Championships, he was also a holder of time records in 400 meters with the time of 54.1. Later, became the call as a leader stronger, and in 1938 was he elected for the first time to the board of SDI. The following year was The 8th World Games (Deaflympics) held in Stockholm, were Osvald was the secretary of the organization. He played an important role in the organisation of the games. The games was also a success for Sweden, both as an organizer and in sports, and Sweden was a power nation in sports among deaf. In soccer, Sweden lost in the finals 2 -1 vs. Belgium, and got a silver medal. In athletics the Swedish team won 12 out of 18 possible victories, twelve gold medals. Though, best nation at the World Games 1939 was Germany, who collected loads of points in swimming. They got 286 points compared to Sweden who got 266 points. Then the years of unrest came 1939 -1945, and the international work was more or less at a hold.

At the 9th Congress of CISS June 13, 1946 Mr Dahlgren was elected for first time to the Executive Committee. Together with Mr Oscar Ryden, who at the same occasion was elected Vice President, they were a strong force for the Swedish work on the international arena promoting sports for deaf people.

He held this position for 21 years before he at the 19th Congress of CISS in Berchtesgaden was elected Secretary General. He held this post for six years till 1973, which meant 27 years of service in CISS.

Osvald was awarded 1957 The Bronze Medal, and when he resigned 1973 he was awarded the Gold Medal. Among other awards that he has received during the years, are the most prestigious acknowledgments 1973 from RF (The Swedish Sports Confederation) and SDI. He was also, as the Secretary General of CISS, involved in organizing the World Games in Malmo, which means that he was involved in the arrangement of all three games that has been held in Sweden, beside the already mentioned Summer Games and Winter Games in Are in 1963. Since 1973 Osse was Honorary President of SDI, after all in all 34 years in The Executive Board i.e. 13 years as Secretary and 20 years as President.

After he had resigned from The Executive Board 1973, Osvald continued his service by involvement in various committees such as in orienteering, health and also in the Bylaw Committee who has just finished their revision. During the years Osvald has made his name known and respected within Deaf Sports, and hence after a life long leadership he is one of the greatest leaders of SDI. 

I had the honour to meet the legend at his home on Serafimergrand just before he turned 90. It was a meeting that I as the editor of the magazine Dovsport appreciate much. Osse sat and watched tennis when I came. His interest in sports never faded a way. Despite his enormous success as an international leader and active athlete, he preferred not to talk so much about himself. He didnt want to take the risk that people think he was bragging.  
- There is not so much to talk about, he laughed.
At the World Games in Stockholm he was chosen to read the Olympic Oath.
-" That was a special day, he said. The absolute greatest moment in my life."
You got a long life, Mr Osvald Dahlgren, and there are many people who remember you for all the good things you have done, and your extraordinary contribution for SDI and the world.

Submitted by Sten Sundberg