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Hjalmar "Hjallis" “Hjallis” Andersen (Hjalmar Andersen)

Hjalmar “Hjallis” Andersen

Olympic Men’s Speed Skating Gold Medal Winner. He is fondly remembered for winning the gold medal for the 1500 meter, 5000 meter, and the 10000 meter Men’s speed skating races at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway. The oldest and only son of six children, his father worked as a ship captain and while in his teens, he worked on the wharf in Trondheim as an errand boy and then as a truck driver. He became inspired to pursue speed skating after attending a skating championship in 1940. In 1948 he made his international debut at the Winter Olympic Games in Saint Moritz, Switzerland, winning the qualifying race for the 1500 meter but was not selected for the Norwegian team in this event. From 1950 to 1952 he was the best men’s skater in the world, achieving the World All-around Champion for each year, becoming only one of five male skaters to win this title in three consecutive years.  During this same time he also won the European and Norwegian All-around Championships.  He hung up his skates after the 1952 Winter Olympics but was convinced to try again and in 1954 he became the Norwegian Champion for the 4th time, winning both the 5000 meter and 10000 meter races at the European Championships in Davos, Switzerland, with a silver medal in the overall standings.  He qualified for the 1956 Winter Olympics, earning a 6th place on the 10000 meter race.  During his skating career he set four world records and his 10000 meter world record in 1949 (16:57.4) was the first official world record under 17 minutes on distance.  After his professional skating career concluded, he moved to Tonsberg, Norway where he became a skating coach, including Sweden’s during the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley, California and was also employed for 30 years in the Norwegian Merchant Navy.  In 1998 he received the gold King’s Medal of Merit and in January 2013 he was presented with Norway’s prestigious Honors Award at the annual “Sports Gala” in Hamar, Norway.  He fell at his home and never regained consciousness, and died two days later.  At the time of his death, he was the oldest Norwegian Olympic gold medalist.  He was honored with a state funeral at the Tonsberg Cathedral, attended by Norway’s King Harald V and Prime Minister Jens Stolenberg. (bio by: William Bjornstad)

Born

  • March, 12, 1923
  • Norway

Died

  • March, 03, 2013
  • Norway

Cemetery

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