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Cross Country Skiing at the 1952 Oslo Winter Games:

Men's 50 kilometres

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Host City: Oslo, Norway
Venue(s): Holmenkollen Cross Country Centre, Oslo
Date Started: February 20, 1952
Date Finished: February 20, 1952

Gold: FIN Veikko Hakulinen
Silver: FIN Eero Kolehmainen
Bronze: NOR Magnar Estenstad

Summary

The 50 km. event took place two days after the 18 km. The snow conditions were difficult, as temperature changes forced most of the skiers to re-wax their skies up to three times during the race. The Swedes hoped to avenge their disappointing results in the short distance event. Their favorites were Gunnar Eriksson, World Champion in 1950 and the defending Olympic champion, Nils Karlsson.

At 13 km. World Champion Eriksson, who started eighth, was a clear leader, almost a minute ahead of two other early starters, Norwegians Harald Maartmann and Olav Økern. But Eriksson got into trouble with his skis and ended in 12th place. Økern, a veteran at 40-years-old, had spent over two years as a prisoner in Germany during the war. By 30,5 km. things had changed. The Finn Veikko Hakulinen, aged 27 but still a newcomer on the international scene, had taken the lead, 20 seconds faster than the Norwegian Magnar Estenstad. At 42 km. Hakulinen had increased his lead to 2:10, with Estenstad still in second position. The 33-year-old Finn Eero Kolehmainen had moved up to third position, 50 seconds behind Estenstad.

The first skier to finish was the first starter, Kalevi Mononen of Finland, but a few minutes later Økern was able to beat his time and take over the lead. Then Hakulinen finished in superb style with the famous final time of 3:33.33, bettering Økern’s time by over five minutes. Estenstad was able to keep ahead of Økern, but then the final starter, Kolehmainen, had a strong finish, beating Estenstad by 17 seconds and securing a Finnish double. The Finnish coach, Veli Saarinen had a well organized crew around the track, about 300 ”Finnish tourists”, including about seven with a radio. His team would regularly report snow conditions around the track, allowing for the optimal choice for re-waxing the skis (which might one minute to do, but would gain several minutes in ski time). Also, Saarinen was able to report tactics and split times to the skiers.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal I1T I1R I2T I2R T I3T I3R
1 Veikko Hakulinen 27 Finland FIN Gold 50:50 8 2-03:20 1 3-33:33 2-59:50 1
2 Eero Kolehmainen 33 Finland FIN Silver 51:30 10 2-05:40 4 3-38:11 3-02:50 3
3 Magnar Estenstad 27 Norway NOR Bronze 50:30 =5 2-03:40 2 3-38:28 3-02:00 2
4 Olav Økern 40 Norway NOR 50:00 3 2-07:30 =6 3-38:45 3-04:20 5
5 Kalevi Mononen 31 Finland FIN 50:20 4 2-04:40 3 3-39:21 3-04:00 4
6 Nils Karlsson 34 Sweden SWE 51:40 11 2-07:30 =6 3-39:30 3-04:40 6
7 Edvin Landsem 26 Norway NOR 50:30 =5 2-09:30 =8 3-40:43 3-06:10 8
8 Harald Maartmann 26 Norway NOR 49:50 2 2-06:30 5 3-43:43 3-05:00 7
9 Pekka Kuvaja 30 Finland FIN 53:00 12 2-10:50 10 3-46:31 3-09:00 9
10 Anders Törnkvist 31 Sweden SWE 51:20 9 2-09:30 =8 3-49:22 3-11:15 10
11 Benoît Carrara 25 France FRA 53:10 13 2-12:10 12 3-55:16 3-15:40 11
12 Gunnar Eriksson 31 Sweden SWE 49:10 1 2-11:30 11 3-55:45 3-16:10 12
13 Arthur Herrdin 33 Sweden SWE 50:30 =5 2-13:30 13 3-57:46 3-18:10 13
14 Jaroslav Cardal 32 Czechoslovakia TCH 54:00 14 2-18:30 14 4-01:49 3-22:10 14
15 Otto Beyeler 25 Switzerland SUI 56:40 16 2-20:20 15 4-06:15 3-25:50 16
16 Alfred Roch 26 Switzerland SUI 56:30 15 2-23:20 18 4-09:39 3-27:20 17
17 Karl Hischier 27 Switzerland SUI 57:10 =19 2-22:30 17 4-13:46 3-31:10 18
18 Severino Compagnoni 38 Italy ITA 57:10 =19 2-25:40 19 4-16:13 3-35:25 19
19 Antenore Cuel 29 Italy ITA 58:40 24 2-28:40 22 4-16:26 3-35:40 20
20 Sepp Schnyder 29 Switzerland SUI 56:50 =17 2-21:00 16 4-18:45 3-23:00 15
21 František Balvín 36 Czechoslovakia TCH 57:30 =21 2-29:50 25 4-21:19 3-39:15 21
22 Gheorghe Olteanu 25 Romania ROU 1-00:20 30 2-28:50 23 4-23:08 3-40:10 22
23 Ion Sumedrea 26 Romania ROU 1-01:00 31 2-30:40 29 4-24:45 3-41:10 23
24 Dumitru Frăţilă 25 Romania ROU 59:00 =25 2-27:10 21 4-30:13 3-43:05 24
25 Khristo Donchev 23 Bulgaria BUL 1-00:00 29 2-27:00 20 4-30:35 3-43:50 25
26 Juku Pent 33 Germany GER 56:50 =17 2-29:30 24 4-30:56 3-45:45 26
27 Pál Sajgó 29 Hungary HUN 1-01:10 32 2-32:00 30 4-38:34 3-47:05 27
28 Gervais Gindre 24 France FRA 59:00 =25 2-30:20 28 4-39:31 3-48:00 29
29 Ivar Stefánsson 24 Iceland ISL 58:10 23 2-30:00 =26 4-39:50 3-48:30 30
30 Jón Kristjánsson 31 Iceland ISL 57:30 =21 2-30:00 =26 4-41:32 3-47:30 28
31 Ignác Berecz 39 Hungary HUN 1-02:10 33 2-39:10 34 4-46:23 3-58:35 32
32 Ion Hebedeanu 26 Romania ROU 1-02:30 34 2-37:30 33 4-47:58 4-00:30 33
33 Matthías Kristjánsson 27 Iceland ISL 59:50 28 2-35:40 32 4-48:47 3-55:50 31
AC Cedric Sloane 36 Australia AUS 1-07:50 36 2-58:40 36 DNF
AC Karl Schüßler 27 Germany GER 59:20 27 2-35:30 31 DNF
AC Bruce Haslingden Australia AUS 1-06:10 35 2-54:00 35 DNF