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Clas Thunberg

Full name: Arnold Clas Robert Thunberg
Nickname(s): Jääkenttien Nurmi, Classe, Clasu
Gender: Male
Height: 5-5.5 (167 cm)
Weight: 148 lbs (67 kg)
Born: April 5, 1893 in Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
Died: April 28, 1973 in Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
Affiliations: Helsingin Luistelijat, Helsinki (FIN)
Country: FIN Finland
Sport: Speed Skating

Medals: 5 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze (7 Total)

Biography

Finland's Clas Thunberg was one of the first internationally dominant speed skaters. His record of five Olympic gold medals in speed skating for men was equaled by Eric Heiden in 1980, who did it in one Olympics, but it has never been bettered. In 1924 he won the 1,500, 5,000 and the combined event, placed second in the 10K and third in the 500. Four years later, he won the 500 and defended his 1,500 crown. Further Olympic honors seemed certain at the 1932 Games but, like several leading European skaters, he refused to compete at Lake Placid as a protest against the mass-start style of racing. An unusual character, he was fiercely proud of his competitive record and was always slightly upset at not being accorded the same honors in Finland as his countryman, the legendary runner Paavo Nurmi. Thunberg made his World All-around Championship début in 1922 at the age of 28 and his final appearance was in 1935, aged 42. During this period he missed three Championships (1926, 1930, 1935) but still won 14 distance titles and was the overall champion five times (1923, 1925, 1928-29, 1931), winning silver in 1927 and bronze in 1922. He also won four titles (1922, 1928, 1931-32) and four silvers (1923-24, 1927, 1929) in all-around and 16 distance titles at the European All-around Championships. He set four world records, all of them in Davos: one in 1929, two in 1930 and the last in 1931 at the age of 38. His 1,000 world record lasted exactly 25 years and one day, until it was bettered by the famous sprinter Yevgeny Grishin in 1955. He also won five Finnish all-around titles (1920, 1922, 1924, 1927-28). He later became a member of the Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta).

Personal Bests: 500 – 42.6 (1931); 1500 – 2:18.1 (1930); 5000 – 8:32.6 (1928); 10000 – 17:34.8 (1928).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1924 Winter 30 Chamonix Speed Skating Men's 500 metres Finland FIN 3T Bronze
1924 Winter 30 Chamonix Speed Skating Men's 1,500 metres Finland FIN 1 Gold OR
1924 Winter 30 Chamonix Speed Skating Men's 5,000 metres Finland FIN 1 Gold OR
1924 Winter 30 Chamonix Speed Skating Men's 10,000 metres Finland FIN 2 Silver
1924 Winter 30 Chamonix Speed Skating Men's Allround Finland FIN 1 Gold
1928 Winter 34 Sankt Moritz Speed Skating Men's 500 metres Finland FIN 1T Gold OR
1928 Winter 34 Sankt Moritz Speed Skating Men's 1,500 metres Finland FIN 1 Gold
1928 Winter 34 Sankt Moritz Speed Skating Men's 5,000 metres Finland FIN 12

Men's 500 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1924 Winter 30 Chamonix Speed Skating Finland Final Standings 3T 44.8
1928 Winter 34 Sankt Moritz Speed Skating Finland Final Standings 1T OR 43.4

Men's 1,500 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T 7c 1.1k
1924 Winter 30 Chamonix Speed Skating Finland Final Standings 1 OR 2:20.8 1:04 1:41
1928 Winter 34 Sankt Moritz Speed Skating Finland Final Standings 1 2:21.1

Men's 5,000 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T 2c 6c 1k 1.4k 1.8k 2.2k 2.6k 3k 3.4k 3.8k 4.2k 4.6k
1924 Winter 30 Chamonix Speed Skating Finland Final Standings 1 OR 8:39.0 22 1:03 1:43 2:25 3:06 3:48 4:29 5:10 5:52 6:33 7:15 7:56
1928 Winter 34 Sankt Moritz Speed Skating Finland Final Standings 12 9:11.8 1:05.5 1:46.5 2:29.0 3:12.0 3:55.0 4:38.0 5:24.0 6:09.0 6:54.0 7:40.0 8:23.0

Men's 10,000 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1924 Winter 30 Chamonix Speed Skating Finland Final Standings 2 18:07.8

Men's Allround

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank PTS TP T
1924 Winter 30 Chamonix Speed Skating Finland Final Standings 1 5.5 198.02
1924 Winter 30 Chamonix Speed Skating Finland 500 metres 1T 44.8
1924 Winter 30 Chamonix Speed Skating Finland 5,000 metres 1 8:39.0
1924 Winter 30 Chamonix Speed Skating Finland 1,500 metres 1 OR 2:20.8
1924 Winter 30 Chamonix Speed Skating Finland 10,000 metres 2 18:07.8
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