Goodby, Bengt Bruno Myrberg, a true athlete and a great friend (30.08.1951 – 31.10.2017)

Our high-jumping friend and master athlete Bengt Bruno (66) passed away on the last day of October in his home in Stockholm surrounded by his love ones. Diagnosed with cancer this summer his condition quickly deteriorated. He fought the battle of his life, but as a trained medical doctor himself he was very realistic to his prognosis.

We already miss him terribly. All that had the pleasure of meeting Bruno loved his humor. His way of first looking you deep in the eyes, listening… then coming back with friendly and helpful advice… regardless if it a pure personal matter, or it had to do with how to improve your run up towards the bar. He was a truly caring person.

I have not known Bruno for more than one year, but today it seems we have known each other for ever. Our friendship started in October 2016.

I had made up my mind to participate at the World Masters Championships in Perth, but as the European outdoor season was coming to an end, I was in desperate need of meeting some fellow high jumpers around my own age, for some friendly practicing before traveling half way around the world to compete.

Since Norway and Sweden are neighbors, I tried to find the best Swedish high-jumper in my age group (M65). Soon Bengt Bruno’s name popped up. A found his phone number and hours later I was on my way to Stockholm to meet him.

We immediately clicked. Our connection was truly amazing. We met in Setrahallen, and after some “small talk” with the attendant there we were given permission to use these superb facilities. However on one condition; we had to bring some medals back from Australia?.

Our meet gave us both a boost. Finally having another person sharing your passion for high-jump, to practice with, share experience with and discuss how to fine-tune your techniques with. Bruno was a flopper, I am a straddle. But who cares, there are so many similarities between the two techniques anyway, so much we can investigate, so much we can improve.

For the coming weeks we were on the phone almost every day.

After a long, but very nice flight, we arrived as planned in Perth for the World Masters Championships. And we enjoyed some fantastic days down there, on and off the track. We were both looking forward to competition day, we were both eager to perform / “do well”. Bruno was in the best shape of his (masters) career, clearing 1,56 with “plenty of air”, and he was in the lead until I finally took 1,59. For both of us it was not about who won and who came second, as long as WE did it. We proudly brought medals back to Scandinavia!

Back in Scandinavia again we soon started planning for the next event, World Masters Indoor in Korea. We traveled and lived together also during this fascinating competition. The event was almost a copy of Perth, we secured a win and second for Norway and Sweden, and enjoyed the companionship of old friends and (mostly) fellow high-jumpers from all over the world. Great days and great memories.

As spring 2017 was approaching in Scandinavia both Bruno and I were looking forward to a new season, with European Masters Championships in Arhus (July/August) as the highlight. Bruno had his first jumps in a competition for the season in May/June, doing fine, clearing 1,50 +; and we had both great hopes of doing fine in Arhus.

Unfortunately, some weeks later, Bruno told me he was not feeling well, and started investigating what could be wrong. Sometime later he phoned me and informed they had found a tumor in his brain, that later proved to be cancer.

At that time I promised Bruno, as he could not be in Arhus, I would jump for both of us… We both wanted badly to beat Matti Nieminen, our Finnish friend and toughest competitor in M65… Matti and I both cleared 1,60 in the competition, Matti with less attempts than I and he therefore won… However after the official competition was over Matti and I had another go at 1,63, the height we both failed at in the competition. I concentrated hard, told myself, take this for Bruno… and I did…

Back in Sweden, the doctors did what they could to save Bruno, including surgery to remove the cancer. Sadly, although he fought the best he could to survive, his condition gradually worsened, until he took his last breath earlier this week.

I am sure he is happy where he is now. I am sure he is looking down on us, seeing us training like mad to improve our best results, to jump higher, run faster or whatever… All that is excellent, but even more important is the companionship among fellow athletes, the joy, ups and downs, we share on and outside the track…

We all miss you Bengt Bruno…a lot!

Ulf Tudem M65 High Jump

Photos byJan Kristian Olsen

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