By Samantha McKosky / Sports Information Intern
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Nicklas Brink, from Stockholm, Sweden, recently joined the men’s track and field team after enrolling at Eastern last semester.
Last January, Brink was contacted by former Eastern assistant coach, Hulerie McGuffie, through his sports agent in Sweden. “The coaches told me I would be good for the program and also told me that if I come to Eastern, I’ll be able to transfer my grades, skip my freshmen year and get a scholarship. That’s one of the biggest things other schools didn’t offer me.”
Brink applied to many other schools in the US, among those in Chicago, Wisconsin, Florida and New Hampshire, but found Eastern’s campus nice through pictures online and YouTube videos.
Brink was born in Grenoble, France, spending only about a year of his life there. He then moved to England for two years and settled in Sweden with his parents, Nanette and Franck.
Brink originally came to the US as an exchange student in Archbold, Ohio, located 40 minutes west of Toledo. He attended Pettisville High School in 2014 and played in a variety of sports involving soccer, football, and basketball.
Sports have played an extremely important role in Brink’s life beginning at the age of five, as he competed in gymnastics for ten years. After quitting gymnastics, he continued his drive for sports in Ohio.
During his basketball season, the head track coach at Pettisville approached Brink after a game, impressed on how quick he was on the court. Brink originally wanted to try out for baseball, since it is not offered in Sweden. His host brother wanted him to play as well with him that spring, but that quickly changed after a few practices. “I did baseball for a week. At one practice, I was going to catch the ball and I got hit in the ear and I was like, ‘I am never going to do this again.’ So I went up to coach, told him I’m quitting baseball and that I’m trying out for track.”
Brink takes pleasure in the challenge he meets here with Eastern’s track program where as in Sweden, practice would be hard some days with just the coach and usually no other athletes to train with.
In his second meet at Springfield College Jan 27, he placed sixth among twenty-one other athletes in the 400-meter dash running with a time of 54.11, just seconds behind qualifying for the New England Division III Championships.
In Sweden, Brink helped set a school record at the Swedish District Championships in the 4x100 meter-relay and his gymnastic team was named national champion in 2013, his last year competing in the sport. In Ohio, Brink was also named team captain, assembling a remarkable first year in the US.
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, a part of the 14 islands sustained with the Stockholm archipelago in the Baltic Sea. In the winter months, only six hours of daylight exist, with average winter temperaturesBri ranging from 27 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The city has hosted many major sporting events, including the Nordic Games, a multi-sport event involving only winter sports. From 1901-1926, Stockholm hosted the Nordic Games every year except for one.
Nicklas Emil Brink, the 6-foot-1-inch teenager, has three siblings – Thomas, Fanny and Johanna. Brink, the multi-sport athlete, is ready for more competition here at Eastern’s track program and happy to make new friends. He is majoring in Business Administration and sees himself working in finances and investments after college.