There were various candidates for a medal in the 1960 Olympic 10,000 m, but Kjell Bäckman was not considered one of them. Coached by world record holder Hjalmar Andersen, Bäckman sped to a new world record time on the fast Squaw Valley ice, going nearly 50 seconds below his pre-Olympic best, and improving Andersen's time by 18.4 seconds. His record did not survive the race, as Johannesen and Kosichkin both went below 16 minutes, but Bäckman was satisfied with the unexpected bronze medal. Apart from this succes, Bäckman's international results were fairly unremarkable. In international allround championships, he only twice qualified for the final distance - at the 1961 and 1963 European Championships - and never placed better than 11th in a single distance. He was able to show off his long distance capabilities better in Swedish championships, winning two distances titles each in the 5000 m (1959, 1961) and 10000 m (1959, 1960).
Personal Bests: 500 – 44.3 (1963); 1500 – 2:15.4 (1964); 5000 – 7:52.0 (1964); 10000 – 16:10.5 (1964).