Bengt and Ola Hassis
The Vasalopp brothers
The brothers Bengt and Ola Hassis were the first siblings to win Vasaloppet. As it should, big brother Ola began by taking home the nine-mile race in 1979. It tagged of course little brother Bengt who won the race twice in a row in 1985 and 1986.
The brothers were born in Bollnäs but his father Hans had roots in Orsa and they moved back here in the early 70's. It was dad Hans who put his boys on skis.
The two brothers built up their physics in different ways. Ola was a forest worker and took the job as a training session. In the evenings, he took another pass.
Bengt trained in a more modern way and it took him into the Swedish Ski Team. There, however, he only came close to the major races in the World Championships and Olympics, but was not selected for the championships.
It was the long races that was the brothers' thing. Both parked in the National long-distance squad.
Ola participated in Vasaloppet 14 times. 11 times he was better than ten. Twice he came in third. In the 1979 win, he won by two seconds ahead of Paulo Siitonen in a sprint battle with six riders involved. Ola wasn't really a sprinter, but he had the most clout left, which was crucial.
Bengt won his two victories in battle with another pair of brothers. In 1985 he sprinted down Örjan Blomkvist. The year after the second brother, Anders. That year the Vasaloppsrekord was broken by 3.48.55, a record that lasted for 12 years.
Bengt took part in ten Vasaloppet and was only worse than ten once. It happened to be 1979, the year his big brother won.