Svea Norén was a member of the figure-skating elite during the ten-year period from 1913–1923.
Svea Norén was born in Stockholm in 1895. Her mother’s name is not known and she was adopted by the Norén family. It is unclear how and when Svea Norén became interested in figure-skating. She joined the figure-skating section of the Stockholms Allmänna skridskoklubb (SASK) (public skating club) in 1912. That same year she skated in her first competition, the Skolungdomens mästerskap (school-children’s championship) and gained third place within her competitive class.
Svea Norén first competed in the Swedish national figure-skating championship – the ladies’ event had been inaugurated in 1908 – in 1910 where she finished in second place. Her next time in the competition was 1912, and she achieved third place. She won the Swedish figure-skating championship on four occasions, during the ensuing years of 1913, 1915, 1917, and 1919, besting Magda Julin who came in second place. When she competed in the Swedish championship couples’ event in 1915 with her clubmate Harald Rooth they won the silver medal.
Svea Norén’s achievements include several high-ranking positions in international competitions. Her first such appearance was in 1911 in Berlin, where she came in third. She won the first ever so-called Swedish-Finnish-Norwegian ‘pokal’ (cup) in 1913, repeating this victory within her group in 1915. She was victorious in international competitions held in Stockholm in 1919, in Helsinki in 1921, and in Font-Romeu in 1923. Svea Norén came second in the 1917 Nordic games, where she was bested by Magda Julin (although she had just beaten her in the national championships a week earlier). She also came in second at what became known as the Finnish winter games in 1919.
Svea Norén competed on three occasions in the World championships, winning a medal each time. In 1913 the Nordic games was considered a World championship. Due to a heavy thaw the competition had to be held at two different rinks. The Hungarian Opika von Meray-Horwath won this competition at which Svea Norén came in third place. No World championships were held during the pre-First World War period but they were reinstated in 1922 as an integral element of the Nordic games. Svea Norén had to settle for the silver medal that year as she was beaten by the 19-year old Austrian Hanna Szabo-Planck. The latter won gold wearing a pair of Swedish-made Stille skates.
Svea Norén competed once in the Olympic Games, at Antwerp in 1920. The six competitors also included her countrywoman Magda Julin, who defeated Svea Norén in a very level competition. Erik Bergvall noted in the official 1920 Olympiaboken that it was the Swedish women’s mastery of compulsory figures which determined their winning placements.
The history of SASK written in 1923 to commemorate its 30-year existence contains this description of the skater: “Svea Norén is perhaps the most talented of all our female skaters. Sadly, she suffers from relatively poor health which makes her sensitive to physical stress and she also suffers from uncontrollable nerves during competitions. […] Her compulsory figures are first-class, clean, well-executed and elegantly performed. […] If Svea Norén always performed her compulsory figures as well at competition as she does when training she would certainly have gained additional victories on top of those she has already achieved.”
Svea Norén married Per Källström in 1929. The couple had a son named Åke the following year. Svea Norén died in Lidingö in 1985.