In Memoriam: Anders Larsson

Ron (2015-08-11 05:40:58 +0000)
Our dear friend Anders Larsson died in a tragic accident, falling from height in South Korea on August 6, 2015. He was only 51 years old. Anders participated in his first competition at the World Championship 2003 in Toronto. He was there with his good old friend Rune Wesström, who had introduced him into the world of cubing in the 80s. When I met Anders for the first time, it became immediately clear to me that Anders was a special person. He was friendly to everyone and made lots of jokes. His second competition was the European Championship 2004 in Amsterdam. During that competition he and his countryman Kåre Krig introduced us to the skills of feet solving. It looked a bit like a circus act, but the pictures and videos of their feet gave our hobby a lot of media attention. Anders also showed us that he was a very reliable and trustworthy person, therefore WCA Board awarded him the status of WCA delegate. With this status Anders started organising and delegating competitions in Sweden, making Sweden the sixth country with WCA competitions. After his attendance at World Championship 2005 in Florida, Anders started bringing the WCA to new countries and areas: first Finland (2007), then Norway (2008), Denmark (2008), Singapore (2009), Vietnam (2010), Western part of Australia (2011), and South Africa (2014). This was very important for WCA. But more importantly, he inspired and enabled people in those areas to be part of our community and take their own initiatives to develop WCA further. Anders had a specific approach where he paid a lot of attention to good preparation. Then during the competition he let the local teams run the competition, in order to learn how to do it themselves after he left. He was always available to give advice before, during and after the competitions. In 2005 Anders took his first steps as an advisor of WCA Board in some organisational matters. In 2008 Anders got involved as an advisor on the WCA Regulations. After some serious incidents during WCA competitions, WCA Board asked Anders in 2010 to start the Independent Advisory Committee (IAC). We chose Anders because he was a wise and independent thinker. Anders replied with his typical funny words: “Thank you for the trust to hold probably the most unrewarding position within the WCA”. In his position Anders solved many difficult cases for WCA, always making sure that he could work without being influenced by WCA Board or any other part of WCA. He recovered the facts, talked to many people, came with a draft conclusion, asked for feedback from persons involved, then came with a final report. Anders also helped solve several personal matters of WCA members and functioned as an ombudsman in case of complaints. In total Anders competed in 84 WCA competitions in 39 countries. He delegated 39 competitions in 9 countries. These numbers alone already show the importance of Anders for the development of WCA. But we will all remember Anders as a very kind and helpful person, a great advisor, with a huge amount of humour. A few weeks ago I met Anders in Lima, Peru. It was the first time I saw him with his partner Mei Ling. He was so proud of her and he looked happier than ever. We had a good time together, ending with a nice dinner with a group of older cubers and parents. When we said goodbye after the dinner, we did not realise this would be the last time we would meet. Anders will be missed by many of us. All the great moments we had with Anders will never be forgotten. Here are some things fellow delegates wrote after they heard the news. I think these quotes show the qualities of Anders in a personal way. [i:1v8mwfpi]“Besides everything he brought to the cubing world, which is overwhelming, he was really a special person for me. He helped me become more confident and trustful in everything I did. I could always have an interesting talk with him. He was like a wise parent who always had great advices.” “He was a fun and interesting man to talk to, and I regret not having had more time to interact with him.” “He was so friendly and taught me not how to be a speedcuber but a good cuber. I wish someday I will love being delegate as he always loved.” “He was one of those kind cubers who approached me to say thanks for cubecomps. It was a short talk, but Anders managed to transmit his serenity of spirit.“ “Anders did a lot for the community.” “I really enjoyed his positive energy and enthusiasm for meeting other people.” “I am really impressed with the work he did for cubing in Singapore and in Asia.” “Anders had such a big heart, and was very dedicated to the WCA and the cubing community.” “Anders was a very nice person who really loved our sport. His contribution to the Swedish community cannot be underestimated. He organized and delegated many competitions and was the one who started the rise in interest of cubing in Sweden. We have had lots of fun together at many competitions in many countries the last eleven years.” “He had a lot of stories to share, always with a big smile on his face. He was always helpful with advices, always ready to put his years of experience to use in order to solve other people's problems.” “He was very appreciated in cubing community, always trying to improve the way we rule our passion so to have better competitions and better spirit all together.” “He was a very human spirit guy, with a lot of rare qualities and a permanent smile.” “He was a great delegate for our community, a true, international ambassador.” “He was always helpful and joyful at the same time, always there to assist the competition and also there to have fun with friends.” “He always had some kind words and a smile to share with everyone.” “He didn't care about his times, he enjoyed the competitions for the fun, but he still competed in every event he was capable of solving, which is a great example for young competitors.” “He was interested in of course cubing, and Japanese culture, Igo and Syogi too. So I remember Japanese competitor enjoyed talking about them.” “Anders helped bring the first WCA competition to Perth in 2011. He brought a huge amount of enthusiasm, patience and happiness.” “Anders was such a nice guy. Hugely instrumental in expanding our community in Asia. “ “Anders has helped start so many communities around the world, and always giving his tools to work from, and standards to strive for!” "If he was not in Singapore, many cubers here (including me) would probably already quit cubing a few years ago.” “Anders helped me resolve the most influential incident in Chinese cubing community.” “Always a friendly guy who cared for the community - even random British noobs!” “I was able to witness all that has already been said by others, the serenity of being, passion for the sport and a big smile meeting new people.” “He also really didn't care much for his competition times, it was more just participating and having fun doing the best, which is really the WCA spirit. That's why it was so amusing when he told me he had just beaten his 3x3 average competition personal best, after several years. We shared a few laughs as I joked around that it was clearly the location, food and the company that made that possible. “ “Anders was my mentor.” “Anders brought Speedcubing to Norway by being the delegate at our first competition in 2008. That one competition inspired us to continue, and make Speedcubing what it is in Norway today. “ “He helped us, Vietnam cubing community, a lot, especially not hesitated to go to Vietnam to guide us through the competition.“ “Anders was a genius in his line of work, and whatever he set himself to. I remember the calm, brilliant way in which he handled IAC cases, and wish I could be like him. We were all blessed to have him in the WCA.”[/i:1v8mwfpi] Daniel Sheppard took over the role of Anders in the new WCA Disciplinary Committee. In June this year Anders transferred all of his logs and documents to his successor. Daniel wrote [i:1v8mwfpi]“I am honoured to be in possession of this large part of his legacy, that laid the foundations for a fair and just WCA.“[/i:1v8mwfpi]. Thank you, Anders, for everything you did for WCA and for us personally. Thank you for the great moments we had together. Our thoughts and sympathy go out to Mei Ling, and the family and friends of Anders. Ron van Bruchem WCA Board
Stefan Hellqvist (2015-08-11 14:29:52 +0000)
Well written Ron.