Host City: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Venue(s): Olympic Ski Stadium, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Date Started: February 12, 1936
Date Finished: February 12, 1936
Two days after the dramatic relay competition, a record field of 75 skiers lined up for the 18 km., of which 16 were entered both for the 18 km. and the Nordic Combined. In addition another 35 skiers competed only in the combined event, making a total field for the day of 110 skiers, starting at 30 second intervals. The conditions were excellent, temperatures varying from – 2 to – 5 C.° around the course, which had an elevation change of 275 meters. The highly favored Scandinavian teams had made minor changes from their relay quartets. Most surprising perhaps, Finland had put Pekka Niemi onto the team instead of Klaes Karppinen, World Champion in the event in 1935. The Norwegians had entered the 1930 world champion [Arne Rustadstuen] instead of Sverre Brodahl, who had to be content with starting “only” in the Nordic combined. Oddbjørn Hagen and Olaf Hoffsbakken were entered for both events.
Of the early starters, Lukáš·Mihalák from Czechoslovakia was the first skier to beat 1-20 at the finish, and he was in the lead until Norway’s double world champion in Nordic Combined from 1934 and 1935, Oddbjørn Hagen, reached the finishing line in a time almost 3 and a half minutes faster. Neither Finland’s World Champion, Sulo Nurmela, nor the Swede, Martin Matsbo, could match Hagen, Matsbo finishing 1:29 behind. But the Swede Erik Larsson, nicknamed “Kiruna-Lasse” (he was a miner from Kiruna in Swedish Lapland), made the race of his life. Starting half a minute behind Rustadstuen, he caught the Norwegian early and pushed ahead mercilessly, beating Hagen’s leading time by 55 seconds. Of the late starters, Niemi was able to beat Matsbo by a scant margin and secure a bronze medal for Finland. The hero from the relay race Kalle Jalkanen, starting next to last wearing start number 111, had a bad day and could only finish in a disappointing 12th place, beaten by the Swedish Olympic champion by almost five minutes.
Larsson, only aged 23 when we won his Olympic gold, was born in a poor family in the Finnish speaking village of Kurravarra, 12 km. north-east of the mining town Kiruna. Shortly after his Olympic gold, he ended his sport career, donating his prizes and Olympic medals to his local congregation, and became a leading Laestadian Christian preacher in Kiruna. His granddaughter Åsa Larsson became one of Sweden’s most well-known crime fiction authors. Bronze medalist Niemi, born in Finnish Lapland, had a great year in 1937 when he was 50 km. World Championship. In 1938 he also won the prestigious Holmenkollen over the same distance.
|20||Georg von Kaufmann||28||Germany||GER||1-22:39|
|34||Karl Magnus Satre||32||United States||USA||1-25:56|
|45||Berger Torrissen||34||United States||USA||1-29:08|
|46||Richard Parsons||25||United States||USA||1-30:09|
|48||Warren Chivers||21||United States||USA||1-30:25|
|64||Karl Johan Baadsvik||25||Canada||CAN||1-39:30|
|65||José Oriol Canals||21||Spain||ESP||1-40:14|
|71||Francis Walter||26||Great Britain||GBR||1-44:13|
|72||Mehmut Şevket Karman||23||Turkey||TUR||2-09:36|