Geir (left) and Stein (right), affectionately referred to as the wrestling brothers by Molde locals. Photo: Matthew Lunn

Local sports hero receives national honor

The Norwegian wrestling association, Norges Bryteforbund, recently awarded the medal of merit to Stein Bᴂkkelund.


The Molde local began wrestling when he was just seven years old, and wrestling runs in his blood; his father Kjell, brother Geir, and Stein himself have all been Norwegian national champions.

However, the award does not just celebrate his wrestling achievements. Stein has worked at basically every position in Molde Atletklubb, the local wrestling club that has existed for 102 years. Now, as chairman of the organization, his efforts are dedicated toward promoting the sport and furthering the organization. He does everything from giving lessons at local primary schools to working with Molde’s top football and handball teams, providing both recognition and funding for his club.

Photo: Matthew Lunn
Trainer Andrejs Afanasjevs and wrestler Even Jensen practicing under the supervision of Stein Bᴂkkelund. Photo: Matthew Lunn

“He is really the center piece of a wheel,” brother Geir Bᴂkkelund claimed.

Stein has kept faith when most have lost it. Through thick and thin, through times where Molde Atletklubb did not have a single wrestler, he kept on. Now the club is back to having over 25 members and weekly core training with athletes from various sports. Plans for the future include finding the right candidate to pass the torch to while still assisting in any way possible, as well as wrestling at a veterans tournament in Crete next year.