Media & Press

“Hardest time of my life”. Mikaela Laurén a professional boxer, elite swimmer — and soon a mom

Hänt, Sweden | 17 March 2021 | Text: Ola Lagerström. Translation into English: Anna Svarinskaya

She's a professional boxer, elite swimmer — and soon a mom. We met with Mikaela Laurén who told us about the time of imprisonment, the love for Peder and in vitro fertilization.

- It is all very positive what is happening in my life right now, - says the star.

How are things, Mikaela?

- Great! The sun is shining, and I have slept well.

A baby bomb exploded: you are pregnant! When is the birth supposed to take place?

- On Midsummer's Eve.

Have you and Peder decided what the child's name will be?

- No, we do not even know what the gender will be. I'm old-fashioned in this matter, I do not want to know. It gets so much more fun to go and wonder. If you find out the gender now, it will be like opening a Christmas present too soon. My husband is incredibly curious. He wants to know, but I've persuaded him to wait.

Did you stop on coffee when you found out you were pregnant?

- Not really. We did IVF, in vitro fertilization.

- Has this been a difficult time for you?

- Yes, one of the hardest in my life. The first twelve weeks of pregnancy I was very worried, I went on needles until the biggest risk of miscarriage subsided. I was not allowed to exercise, and I was not allowed to stress. It was just a matter of waiting and hoping it would work out. We performed in vitro fertilization in Russia, at the OLGA Clinic. We have received incredible support from there throughout the journey. I was there three times in 2020.

How did it go when you and Peder found each other?

- I was coaching a friend of mine in boxing, she is an MMA fighter. She had won a match and told me: "We have to come out and celebrate!" I canceled a cinema visit and went out with her. Peder also was there. He came up with some pick-up lines and since then we have been inseparable. This was in 2014. 

What's best about Peder?

- He can make me laugh. He is funny and happy and very kind. 

Did he propose nicely?

- Yes, I must say! It was a bit forced, but it worked out incredibly nicely (laughs). 

Tell us!

- In my head, we would get engaged in Mexico. We were going there during Christmas and New Year 2017. I had no idea he had already planned the whole thing. I was quite eager and nagging that we should get engaged and choose rings before the trip. Because I am friend with Efva Attling, I had been in her shop and looked out for a ring that I liked. He had also been there, it turned out, and chosen exactly the same ring. We decided to go to Efva Attling together on Friday. The Wednesday before, it was a rainy day in November, I was out shopping. When I got home, everything was fixed and nice at home. He was standing there in a suit, then he went down on his knee and proposed to me. He wanted to do it in his own way and not as it was planned by me.

Nowadays you are a personal trainer and health lecturer. Previously, you were a world boxing champion and elite swimmer. How old were you when your parents realized you were a talent?

- Very young. I was very active and early with everything. I learned to walk at the age of seven months and I learned to swim at three. I was around six - seven years old when I won my first gold medal in swimming: "25 meters optional" (laughs). I still have that medal - framed.

As a 28-year-old, you had 16 Swedish Championship golds and three Swedish records behind your back. Then swimming had to be finished for you. Why?

- In 2004 I broke the Swedish record. I was the fastest in the country but still was not selected to represent Sweden in the Olympics. It crushed all my motivation and joy. I did not have the strength for another four years - until the next Olympics - and I did not earn any money from swimming. Then I felt it was time to try something else. 

You soon made your debut - as a boxer. Tell us!

- In the beginning I had no idea how empty it becomes when you quit. I watched old Rocky movies and got a really cool feeling. "Think of controlling your body that way." I started just with exercising, but since I have always loved to improve myself, I soon discovered that I had a talent for boxing and that I wanted to compete with the others.

You were celebrated as a professional boxer, but in the summer of 2018 you put the boxer gloves on the shelf. Why?

- I was still developing and thought it was fun, but my professional contract in Europe expired and I got married. I was 42 years old, and felt that "now I have to have children if there are to be any children at all". It was a difficult decision to quit, but at the same time an easy one. I really wanted to be a mother.

If we go far back in time - to when you were 29 years old – at that time the newspaper headlines about you were pitch black. You were sentenced to 14 months in prison for keeping a lot of anabolic steroids at home ...

- Yes it is true. When I stopped swimming, I lost my identity. I kind of had no goal in life, no job and no money. I received an offer to store and distribute some doping substances. Stupidly enough, I grabbed it. You know, fast money. Then the police came. It hurt right into my soul. Anyone can be imprisoned, but not everyone can be judged by an entire nation. Shame.

Many took it for granted that I had been doped during my career, but the truth is that I struggled for every single achievement. I would never cheat myself into a success.

You ended up in Sweden's smallest women's prison, the institution Ljustadalen outside Sundsvall with room for 20 inmates. How was the prison time for you?

- Educational. I got to know myself, I processed my feelings. I studied hard. Exercise theory and sports nutrition. I wanted to make the best of the penalty. I studied math, I learned to knit, and I knitted 30 hats. I took a computer driver's license and studied at university. I trained really hard and trained the other inmates. I wrote a diary and I talked to a therapist. I was not lazy or sorry for myself, I was determined that "this time should not be a waste of time, life must go on!" So for me, the punishment was something positive - in the end.

What do you hope your life will look like when you turn 50?

- Then I am hopefully a happy mother and wife who can take care of her child. There has been one concern of mine: "Shit, am I too old?" But people are getting older and older nowadays and it's lucky I have a man who is eight years younger than me, (laughs).

Finally, Mikaela, what is the best moment of your day?

- The mornings when I am lying in bed with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and watching Morning news. I have to lie there for at least 30 minutes. But even better for an hour, and just cuddle, I really like it. 

 

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