Andersen, Hjallis

Andersen, Hjallis

▪ Norwegian speed skater
byname of  Hjalmar Johan Andersen  
born March 12, 1923, Rødøy, Norway

      Norwegian speed skater who won the most decisive victory in the men's 10,000-metre event in Olympic history. He also set a world record in the 10,000-metre event that he would retain for the next eight years.

      A three-time world, European, and Norwegian champion (1950–52), Andersen was the favourite to win the 5,000-metre and 10,000-metre races at the 1952 Olympic Games in Oslo, Norway. He won a surprise victory in the 1,500-metre event and won the 5,000-metre race by 11 seconds, the largest victory margin in the history of the event. He capped off his Olympic performance by winning the 10,000-metre competition in a time that was almost 25 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.

      Andersen, who was considered one of the most powerful speed skaters of all time, retired from competition after the 1952 Olympics but returned in 1954 to win his fourth Norwegian title in five years. The Norwegian government paid tribute to Andersen by erecting a statue of him in the Vikingskipet, the speed-skating venue for the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. At the '94 Games countryman Johann Olav Koss (Koss, Johann Olav) duplicated Andersen's 1952 feat by winning gold medals in the 10,000-, 5,000-, and 1,500-metre events.

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Universalium. 2010.

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