Despite diagnosed with cancer and fighting for survival, Swedish heptathlon athlete Nadja Casadei has her aim set on Brazil and Rio de Janeiro 2016.


“It’s like Carolina Klüft says, consistency and avoiding injuries is the key to success. Coming in to this season I felt I had never been better.” Casadei says.

Through out her career Nadja Casadei hasn’t had any undisturbed pre-season training periods. Before the 2009 World Championships she achieved her personal best 5905 points with a twisted ankle. The cancer forces her to start over with a body that’s loosing muscles by the hour.

“I don’t miss the road back, but I miss competing and being in shape. Feeling super strong and bouncy.” Casadei says.


30-year-old Nadja Casadei was recovering from yet another injury and in the middle of a hard training period when she was struck by the devastating diagnosis, cancer in the lymphatic system. Instead of hiting the tracks she had to submit herself to the hospital and instantly start a cytotoxic treatment. After the shock had settled her competitive mind set took over. There was no doubt in her mind that she couldn’t, or wouldn’t beat the cancer.

“I never even considered giving up my career, I still have things to accomplish.”


The doctors have advised her to let the body dictate the terms but haven’t banned her from training. Casadei is trying to exercise whenever her energy levels are somewhat up. This is usually directly after the cytotoxic treatments that she gets roughly every tenth day.

“I can’t do any cardio but I train my upper body, the calves, my injured tendon and my gluteal muscle. I use the weight of my own body and add little or no extra weight.”

The cancer treatment will continue until the middle of January, then Nadja Casadei will know if she has to go through further medication, or if the cancer was just a speed bump in the tough road towards the Olympic Games.

“I want to get the absolute best out of my body and I won’t give up because of a setback.

I know I can do it."



Fighting for Rio 2016 – and her life