EXPIRED: 10/24/11 – Kjell Johansson, 65, had an forehand swing that was so strong that ping pong enthusiasts used to call him The Hammer.

It made him a table tennis star in Sweden.

He started playing professionally in 1963, and quickly won the 1965 Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal. Subsequently, he captured 10 European Table Tennis Championships gold medals, including the singles and doubles titles in 1966. He followed that up with winning doubles titles at the World Championships in 1967, 1969 and 1973, and led the Swedish team to victory over China at the World Table Tennis Championships in 1973.

Above all, he helped raise the sport’s profile in Sweden, paving the way for such Swedish players as Jan-Ove Waldner and Jorgen Persson.

Johansson died in Eksjo, after a long illness.

RIP, Hammaren.



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