Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon

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Lala Valborg Sjöqvist



Lala Sjöqvist was a leading Swedish diver for a period towards the end of the 1920s during which she also achieved international success.

Lala Sjöqvist was born in Madesjö, Småland in 1903. She was probably inspired to begin diving by her elder sister Vivi, albeit the latter was primarily a gymnast. Lala Sjöqvist joined Kalmar Simsällskap (swimming association) at an early stage. She went on to become a dominant figure within diving, and was also prominent within the breast-stroke. She won the straight dive event at the Swedish championships three years in row, from 1927–1929. Svenska Simförbundet (the Swedish swimming federation) selected Lala Sjöqvist to compete in the straight dive at the 1927 European championship, which was held in Bologna. She achieved fourth place, immediately preceded by fellow Swede Eva Olliwier. According to Sim Simson’s article in Idrottsbladet it was the ‘sheer politicking’ of a couple of judges which led to a French woman being ranked ahead of both of the Swedes. Two years later, namely in 1929, Lala Sjöqvist was selected to represent Sweden at the Nordic championship which was decided at Eriksdalsbadet in Stockholm. She won the gold medal at this competition, in which her younger sister Ingeborg Sjöqvist also competed and came fourth.

Lala Sjöqvist’s greatest success came at the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928. Sweden had sent three women to compete in the high dive event. Lala Sjöqvist was in the second qualifying group, which she won. “The girl from Kalmar performed with great confidence and rightfully won her heat”, Nils Backlund wrote in IX Olympiaden in 1928. However, B. Pinkston from the USA won the final, ahead of G. Coleman, also from the USA. Lala Sjöqvist had to settle for the bronze medal. “The American women and the Swedish woman performed brilliant dives and were incredibly evenly matched. The result was fair, even though it would not have been a surprise had Sjöqvist achieved second place”, was how it was recorded in the aforementioned book.

Lala Sjöqvist married Fridolf Larsson in 1930. A year later the couple had their first child. This put a definitive end to Lala Sjöqvist’s active sporting career. She then went on to work as a public school teacher.

Lala Sjöqvist died in Ryssby in 1964. She is buried at the Södra cemetery in Kalmar.

Lennart K Persson
(Translated by Alexia Grosjean)

Published 2018-03-08

You are welcome to cite this article but always provide the author’s name as follows:

Lala Valborg Sjöqvist,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Lennart K Persson), retrieved 2024-05-20.

Other Names

    Married: Larsson

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Married
  • Mother: Ellen Constance Sjöqvist, född Dahlgren
  • Father: Oskar Leonard Sjöqvist
  • Sister: Vivi Dagmar Sjöqvist, gift Sjöstrand
more ...


  • Lärarseminarium, Kalmar: Folkskollärarexamen, Rostads folkskollärarseminarium


  • Non-profit work: Idrottare, simhopp
  • Profession: Folkskollärare


  • Friend: Eva Olliwier


  • Kalmar Simsällskap (KSS)


  • Birthplace: Madesjö
  • Madesjö
  • Kalmar
more ...



  • Allhems sportlexikon. 3, Ledarpris-Övrevoll : supplement A-Ö, Allhem, Malmö, 1951

  • Nordisk familjeboks sportlexikon: uppslagsverk för sport, gymnastik och friluftsliv. Bd 6, S-Övrevoll, Nordisk familjeboks förlags aktiebolag, Stockholm, 1946

  • Lala Sjöqvist. Wikipedia (Hämtad 2017-11-16)

  • Alm, Bo, Historiska simtag: svensk simidrott under hundra år, Svenska simförb., Solna, 2004

  • Bergvall, Erik (red.), Berättelse över Olympiska spelen i Amsterdam 1928, Almqvist & Wiksell i distr., Uppsala & Sthlm, 1928

  • Persson Lennart K, ’Lala Sjöqvist, olympisk medaljör med rötter i Madesjö’, Hembygdskrönika, 2020

Unpublished source
  • Artikelförfattarens intervju med dottern Barbro Olausson

  • Artikelförfattarens intervju med dottern Karin Bernhardsson