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Logo for Forth Island Games - Aland Islands 1991

Forth Island Games - Aland Islands 1991

23rd - 29th June 1991

We are born and grew up in islands with the sea constantly around us. That has moulded us islanders so that we have a lot in common. But we also come from various parts of the world, and that gives us cultural differences. I am an old sportsman myself, which makes me particularly pleased to be able to welcome so many visitors to Aland during the Aland Island Games ‘91. I hope you will take the opportunity to see something of Aland’s varied landscape. Get to know Alanders and other islanders, compare similarities and differences between the island communities. On behalf of all Alanders I wish you good luck in the contests and warmly welcome you to our archipelago of more than 6,500 islands.

Sune Eriksson

This summer we shall have an intensive week together you, the other participants, the inhabitants of Mariehamn and Aland, and all the other tourists visiting Aland at that time. Mariehamn is a tourist town with inhabitants who are accustomed to visitors from far and near. But never have so many other island communities been represented here at the same time. I am so pleased that Mariehamn is receiving you and your fellow competitors. You will leave joy and perhaps a few tears behind you, but I hope that Mariehamn will remain in your heart as a bright, happy memory, no matter how the contests turn out.

The Aland Island Games ‘91 will also have an effect on us for the future. With so many young people from the whole world gathering together and showing that they can compete with one another and then become friends for life, we shall all find a lot to learn.

Welcome to the shipping town of Mariehamn!

Ritva Sarin-Grufberg

I am sitting and thinking of you and the other participants in the Aland Island Games ‘91. At the time of writing this there are five months left to the opening ceremonies. Just now when you read this perhaps the Games have already started. We in Aland have been working for two years to make the week of 23-29 June 1991 something special for you, for the other participating islanders and for Aland The Aland Island Games ‘91 should give you new friends, as well as struggles in the contests. They should provide fine, enjoyable memories for all of us who are taking part in them.

In arrangements of this magnitude a lot of things will follow the plans, but there will also be some unforeseen happenings. I can only assure you that we have done our best and will go on doing our best to see that you have a wonderful time in Aland.

Perhaps you took part in the Games in the Faroe Islands, perhaps not. Now anyway you are one of the Island Games family. Take the opportunity to get to know lots of different islanders. Make the most of the A land Island Games ‘91 to do your best in the contests.

Have fun.
Welcome and good luck!

Dick Ekström
Organisationskommittén/Organising Committee

One of Aland’s most beautiful symbols is the Midsummer Pole; we have the most richly decorated poles in all Scandinavia. On Midsummer Eve, 70 different poles are raised in villages all over Aland.

They vary in appearance, but up t the top of most of them sits the ‘Jumping Jack’, a rotating wooden figure with flat arms swinging in the wind. He may be shaped like a farmer with a cap, a fine gentleman with a top hat, a dancer with crossed legs or a sailor with a pipe in his mouth. Some of these figures are small works of art, others are rough-hewn. The ‘Jumping Jack’ was described for the first time in 1871.

Poetical Midsummer speech-makers have interpreted this whirling toy figure in various ways. He has been regarded as symbolising the industrious Alander, toiling for a good harvest or threshing with flails in his hands. Everybody agrees that the ‘Jumping Jack’ is a skilful gymnast, balancing highest up at the top of the Midsummer Pole.

The organising committee held its first meeting at 1200 hours on the 26th of January 1989, and...

  • held 55 meetings totaling 170 hours;
  • mailed 16,000 letters;
  • to promote the Games, gave no less than 80 presentations at schools, exhibitions, etc.;
  • hired 900 mattresses from the Kaustby folk music festival;
  • made 5,000 phone calls;
  • drank 2,800 cups of coffee and 500 cups of tea;

The problem of accommodating so many competitors and officials was eased by using schools in Mariehamn inside or close to the Games village which helped considerably to centralise the organisation and create a friendly Games atmosphere. A large number of sleeping mattresses were acquired for use in the schools. The facilities in the schools were good and each school had its own manager for the duration of the Games. Alternative accommodation was provided in hotels and guest houses. Meals were served in the large school dining halls at Overnas school and the Aland’s Lyceum.

Everyone was issued with ID cards which had to be carried at all times, and gave access to the dining halls, free transportation on the city buses traveling to and from sports venues, and free admission to the Aland and Maritime Museums.

During the Games the Overnas School and Idrottsgarden were at the centre of the Games Village, with the Games Office and press centre in the heart of the village. The Games Office and staff as always worked long hours dealing with results, providing information for participants and Team Managers, selling souvenirs and generally dealing with a multitude of problems that can arise during each day. These members of the “backroom” staff deserve much praise and thanks for coping with a difficult job.

Contributions came from the Government of Aland and the Town of Mariehamn.

Main Sponsors: Viking Line, Tidningen Aland, Mathias Eriksson ab, Post & Tele and Mariehamn’s Motorcompany, with many more minor sponsors.

Lottery: over 2000 tickets were sold, FIM 200.000 (GBP about 25.000).

Total profit was FIM 630.000, of which FIM500.000 was placed into a Foundation called ‘Foundation Alands Island Games ‘91’. Chairman: Dick Ekstrom, Vice Chairman: Torsten Wikstrand, Secretary: Dan-Erik Woivalin, Treasurer: Herbert Karlsson. Members: Anders Ingves, Sven-Erik Mattsson, Hakan Linde’n, Fredrika Sundberg and Jorgen Pettersson (Chairman of the local I.G.A. of Aland).

The Island Games Executive Committee visited Aland on the 29th June 4th July 1990, one year before the 1991 Games in order to meet the organising committee, view the facilities and meet the sports co ordinators. During this visit members of the public were invited to a meeting to mark the official launch of the 1991 Games, when Prime Minister Mr. Sune Eriksson unveiled the Games symbol the Faktargubben.

The Games Committee introduced many new ideas for the Games in Aland, such as, each island would have at its disposal a car for team officials and a hostess! There would be daily reports for everyone giving topical news, views and up to date games results : a printed personal engagement diary for officials : a special set of stamps designed for the Games ‘Your Island Friends’, a book giving the name, address and phone number of every competitor and official : a cultural seminar to which other islands were invited to send delegates : a song composed specially for the Games entitled ‘Friendly Competition’ : and a water ceremony to be included in the Opening Ceremony, and to create a Games Village in Mariehamn.

Mr. Carl-Gunner Sjoberg designed the the Island Games logo for 1991.

This was the marching order at the Opening Ceremony on 23rd June: Frøya, Faroes, Gibraltar, Gotland, Greenland, Guernsey, Iceland, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Jersey, Orkney, Prince Edward Island*, Sark, Shetland, Saaremaa*, Ynys Mon and the host island Aland (17 islands).

*Participated for the first time.

The Falkland Islands were represented by an observer, Mr. Burnerd Peck.

Six core sports: Athletics, badminton, cycling, shooting, swimming and volleyball, plus archery, golf *, gymnastics, football, judo, table tennis and tennis*. (13)

*First time included in the Island Games.

At 1600 hours all the teams assembled at Torget, and at 1645 hours the march began though the tree lined streets of Mariehamn. This is really what Alanders had really been waiting for and the teams were cheered by large crowds along the route to the Idrottspark, this fine stadium chosen for the opening ceremony.

The stadium was packed with over 2,500 spectators and as the teams arrived they received a tremendous reception, with the Faroe Islands, hosts of the previous Games in the lead, then the teams followed in alphabetical order, and the last to enter the host team of Aland, with cheering and clapping for every team. Truly a magnificent colourful sight as the 17 teams marched around the stadium and then wheeling round to form up in front of the grandstand.

The first speech was delivered by Dick Ekstrom, Chairman of the Games Organising Committee and member of the I.G.A. Executive Committee who did so much to bring the Games to Aland. After giving a warm welcome to everyone present, he explained that each island had been invited to bring along a bottle of water from their own islands to pour into a communal fountain, specially erected in the stadium for this occasion. Mr EkstrOm said “Water is the element which enables all of us to call ourselves islanders. It’s surrounding us and separating us, but it also unites us all”.
Mr. John Kjaer, Chairman of the I.G.A., treated everyone to a fine speech in several languages, the main theme being a warm welcome to all competitors and officials and sincere thanks to the organising committee, local sports associations and the people of Aland for hosting what was to be a very successful Games. He then invited Mr. Sune Eriksson, Prime Minister of Aland (a former discus record holder of Aland) to declare the 1991 Games open.

The I.G.A. flag which had been carried into the stadium by six of Aland’s athletes was then raised. Mikael Norblom and Malin Lundberg pronounced the oath on behalf of all the competitors. Mikael Nor blom has been a regular competitor in the Island Games, and was winner of the first half-marathon in the Isle of Man (1985).

The standard bearers then came forward to pour water into the fountain, an idea which was very popular with everyone present.

The entertainment commenced with the singing of ‘Friendly Competition’ specially written for the Games.

The gymnasts gave a superb display in the centre of the arena, followed by the Aland anthem and the highlight of the opening ceremony t The Skydivers. The Daily Report on June 24th had the following headlines: 18 JUMPED 2 DISAPPEARED!

The divers with their colourful chutes soared silently through the sky gradually descending, each with an island flag attached to the diver to make an impressive and accurate landing in the centre of the stadium, that is with the exception of two. One landed in a garden behind the stadium and the other landed in a busy street, but fortunately no one was injured. This exciting demonstration received rapturous applause from all the spectators.

The finale was probably one of the largest ‘Maypole’ dances ever seen with some 2,000 athletes joining hands in this mega circle, which was a very appropriate conclusion to an excellent opening ceremony. At the Team Managers meeting after the ceremony, Svein-Erik Mattson, who planned and organised the ceremony, was given a standing ovation.

As they left the stadium the main topic of conversation by all the participants was the shortest way to the ‘Get together party’ in the outdoor park called ‘Badhusparken’.

Soon, as the Games are about to start
We should keep this in our hearts:
We’re not in this race alone
Wheels within wheels are turning ‘round
With a purpose more profound.
We will show
That we know
What our goal in Games should be
(Friendly competition)
We’ll compete
But I’ll meet
You as friend, not enemy.
Some come from islands of the breeze
Others felt the arctic freeze
In the days without a sun
Still, when the Earth is dark and cold
The sky shows trace of gold.
Now the white nights lie ahead
Here where yellow, blue and red
Gently welcomes you ashore
We will make brotherhood our prize
A trophy in disguise.

Music by RaIf Reymers and Jan-Peter Jansson Words by Andreas Fliflet

Thursday 27th june 1991
Aland Parliament Building, Mariehamn
There was a full agenda as usual with two representatives from each island being present. The opportunity to enjoy lunch together between the morning and afternoon sessions, was a welcome break for what can be a long business meeting.

The following officers and Executive Committee members were elected:

  • Chairman Dick Ekstrom Aland
  • Vice-Chairman Alan Cross Jersey
  • Hon. General Secretary & Treasurer Geoffrey Corlett Isle of Man
  • Executive Members: Bo Frykenstam Gotland
  • Thorsten Palmquist Gotland
  • Vernon Shimmin isle of Wight

Co-opted member Maurice Lickens Isle of Wight Life membership was bestowed on John Kjaer (Faroe Islands), who had served on the I.G.A. Executive since its inception in 1985 and as Chairman 1989-91. The meeting warmly congratulated John on receiving this honour.

The General Meeting awarded the 1995 Games to Gibraltar.


Each sport arranged their own parties during the week:
The organising committee arranged a bus and boat outing for each sport when they were not scheduled for training or competition:

The I.G.A. Executive Committee, Team Managers and officials had a most enjoyable evening cruising around the islands aboard the ‘Legend’, while being served with a superb dinner and wine, all by courtesy of the owner and judo co-ordinator, Tore Johansson. After the meal Team Managers took the opportunity to exchange gifts, which is now very much a traditional feature of the Games. A memorable evening.

At 1900 hours all competitors and officials assembled in the Idrottspark (athletic stadium) and were able to watch the finish of the half-marathon. Again another large crowd had gathered for the Closing Ceremony and were able to see the medal presentations for both the half marathon and the finalists of the football competition which had just been completed before the ceremony.

When the final results for the Games were announced there was a great roar around the stadium when it was realised that Aland had won the Year of Sport Trophy for the best overall performance by an island, winning 23 gold medals, 24 silver and 12 bronze, the perfect result for the host island.

Further excitement followed when the draw for the lottery was made. The winner’s prize was a one week cruising holiday in the four-masted barque ‘Sea Cloud’ in the Mediterranean.

Mr. John Kjaer (Faroe Islands), Chairman of the I.G.A. Executive Committee, congratulated and thanked the Aland organising committee and sports associations for the excellent organisation throughout the Games and the superb hospitality to all visiting competitors, officials and supporters.

Mr Dick Ekstrom responded by expressing the hope that everyone had enjoyed these ‘Friendly Games’ in Aland, and that the true spirit of friendship would be carried over to the next Games in 1993. The Games flag was ceremoniously lowered, folded and Dick Ekstrom handed it over to Mr Maurice Lickens, Chairman of the Isle of Wight organising committee, for safe keeping, to be raised again at the Opening Ceremony at the Fifth Island Games there in 1993. Mr Lickens then spoke about looking forward to meeting everyone in the Isle of Wight, for what he hoped would be another memorable chapter in the history of the Island Games.

The 1991 Games were then declared closed by Dick Ekstrom.

This was the moment for spontaneous singing and dancing in a carnival-like atmosphere, as the competitors left the stadium for the Farewell Party in the Sportshall within the Games Village for a wonderful climax to a wonderful week in the Aland Islands.

At the conclusion of the Games, the I.G.A. Executive Committee wanted to mark the occasion by presenting the people of Aland with a tree. It was decided that it would be planted on the perimeter of the athletic stadium in Mariehamn (Idrottspark) and attending the ceremony was Prime Minister Sune Eriksson, and the I.G.A. Executive Committee.

The inscription on the plaque read as follows:- To the people of Aland, from the Island Games Association, in appreciation of their kindness and hospitality, at the Island Games June 23-29, 1991.

Swedish wording:- Till A lands folk, fran Island Games Association, som uppskattning for deras vanlighet och gastfrihet under Aland Island Games 23-29juni 1991.

Courtesy of Geoff Corlett

Sports Held

Below is a list of sports held at these games. Once results are available they will be linked below.