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Cross Country Skiing at the 1968 Grenoble Winter Games:

Men's 15 kilometres

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Host City: Grenoble, France
Venue(s): , Autrans
Date Started: February 10, 1968
Date Finished: February 10, 1968

Gold: NOR Harald Grønningen
Silver: FIN Eero Mäntyranta
Bronze: SWE Gunnar Larsson

Summary

Harald Grønningen had three Olympic silver medals from 1960 and 1964, placing second behind Eero Mäntyranta in the 1964 15 and 30 km race, and as a member of the 1960 Norwegian relay team, behind Finland, with Mäntyranta on the winning team. The popular Norwegian, nicknamed “Lang-Harald” due to his height of 191 cm, unusual among cross country skiers, could at last claim a gold medal as a member of Norway’s winning relay team at the 1966 World Championships. The 15 km race developed into a fierce duel between the Finnish defending champion and his Norwegian rival Grønningen, a strawberry farmer from Lensvik in Trøndelag. Now aged 33 and starting in his third and last Olympics, Grønningen was wearing start number 5 out of 75 competitors. He chose to start at top speed, and at 4 km he had already overtaken the four skiers starting ahead of him. At 5 km he was in the lead, nine seconds ahead of Mäntyranta with the silver medalist from the 30 km race, Odd Martinsen in third, only half a second behind the Finn. The Olympic Champion from the 30 km race three days earlier, Franco Nones, was totally out of contention in a distant 36th place. Mäntyranta was able to turn the tables at the 10 km checkpoint, taking the lead 10 seconds ahead of Grønningen. Kalevi Laurila had advanced from 5th to 3rd, only 5 seconds behind Grønningen. But the Norwegian veteran fought bravely in the final stages of the race. One and a half kilometers from the finish Mäntyranta was still 7 seconds ahead, but as in the 30 km race he had used most of his strength in the middle part of the race. He finished 1.9 seconds behind his Norwegian rival, and Grønningen could finally claim an individual gold medal. Behind the two rivals there was a close struggle for the bronze medal. The Swede Gunnar Larsson advanced from 8th place at 5 km to 6th place at 10 km, and a strong finish earned him the bronze medal, four seconds ahead of Laurila, who like Mäntyranta faded over the last 5 km. The Soviet skiers had a disappointing day, their best, Valery Tarakanov, finishing in 9th place, 1:10 behind the winner.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T I1T I1R I2T I2R
1 Harald Grønningen 33 Norway NOR Gold 47:54.2 16:57.1 1 35:06.5 2
2 Eero Mäntyranta 30 Finland FIN Silver 47:56.1 17:06.4 2 34:56.9 1
3 Gunnar Larsson 23 Sweden SWE Bronze 48:33.7 17:25.5 8 35:30.1 6
4 Kalevi Laurila 30 Finland FIN 48:37.6 17:12.3 5 35:11.8 3
5 Jan Halvarsson 25 Sweden SWE 48:39.1 17:26.0 9 35:46.9 8
6 Bjarne Andersson 27 Sweden SWE 48:41.1 17:20.3 6 35:29.0 5
7 Pål Tyldum 25 Norway NOR 48:42.0 17:12.1 4 35:17.6 4
8 Odd Martinsen 25 Norway NOR 48:59.3 17:07.0 3 35:31.6 7
9 Valery Tarakanov 26 Soviet Union URS 49:04.4 17:47.7 13 36:18.6 11
10 Kalevi Oikarainen 31 Finland FIN 49:11.1 17:26.5 10 35:55.6 9
11 Assar Rönnlund 32 Sweden SWE 49:25.3 17:42.5 11 36:27.1 12
12 Walter Demel 32 West Germany FRG 49:38.4 17:48.3 14 36:09.3 10
13 Franco Stella 29 Italy ITA 49:59.8 17:50.0 15 36:46.0 16
14 Karel Štefl 21 Czechoslovakia TCH 50:15.4 17:50.9 17 36:39.4 13
15 Giulio Deflorian 32 Italy ITA 50:19.4 18:09.4 22 36:53.7 19
16 Anatoly Akentyev 28 Soviet Union URS 50:19.9 17:46.8 12 36:51.6 17
17 Reidar Hjermstad 30 Norway NOR 50:25.7 17:23.4 7 36:40.2 14
18 Josef Haas 30 Switzerland SUI 50:34.8 18:29.8 31 37:12.9 21
19 Flury Koch 22 Switzerland SUI 50:37.2 18:01.3 18 37:04.2 20
20 Karl Buhl 28 West Germany FRG 50:38.1 18:22.8 27 37:16.0 22
21 Józef Rysula 28 Poland POL 50:38.5 18:10.3 23 36:53.4 18
22 Vladimir Voronkov 23 Soviet Union URS 50:40.7 17:50.3 16 36:45.1 15
23 Ján Fajstavr 23 Czechoslovakia TCH 50:46.5 18:06.8 21 37:26.7 24
24 Roger Pires 27 France FRA 50:52.6 18:38.3 39 37:50.0 28
25 Petar Pankov 22 Bulgaria BUL 50:54.1 18:28.6 30 37:54.3 30
26 Fyodor Simashov 22 Soviet Union URS 51:05.3 18:04.1 =19 37:56.5 31
27 Václav Peřina 22 Czechoslovakia TCH 51:06.6 18:35.0 35 37:24.1 23
28 Victor Arbez 33 France FRA 51:20.5 18:43.2 40 38:13.8 35
29 Gerhard Grimmer 24 East Germany GDR 51:22.1 18:04.1 =19 37:47.2 26
30 Albert Giger 21 Switzerland SUI 51:26.6 18:28.1 28 37:48.6 27
31 Andreas Janc 30 Austria AUT 51:29.8 18:31.1 32 37:58.0 32
32 Franco Manfroi 28 Italy ITA 51:47.7 18:31.4 33 37:59.3 33
33 Gert-Dietmar Klause 22 East Germany GDR 51:51.6 18:13.3 24 37:44.0 25
34 Mike Gallagher 26 United States USA 52:02.4 18:18.8 26 37:50.5 29
35 Konrad Hischier 32 Switzerland SUI 52:06.4 18:37.9 38 38:24.3 37
36 Franco Nones 27 Italy ITA 52:06.8 18:35.5 36 38:10.7 34
37 Peter Thiel 24 East Germany GDR 52:07.8 18:33.4 34 38:39.2 39
38 Helmut Gerlach 30 West Germany FRG 52:21.8 18:14.8 25 38:20.7 36
39 Klaus Ganter 22 West Germany FRG 52:30.0 18:35.9 37 38:59.0 43
40 Alojz Kerštajn 20 Yugoslavia YUG 52:31.7 19:00.1 47 38:48.7 41
41 Mike Elliott 25 United States USA 52:40.8 18:28.5 29 38:42.5 40
42 Heinrich Wallner 26 Austria AUT 52:53.6 18:53.4 43 38:59.6 44
43 Janez Mlinar 26 Yugoslavia YUG 52:54.4 18:49.1 42 38:49.5 42
44 Félix Mathieu 30 France FRA 52:58.8 18:48.6 41 38:31.4 38
45 Mirko Bavče 25 Yugoslavia YUG 53:10.7 19:03.6 48 39:07.9 45
46 Jean Jobez 24 France FRA 53:22.1 19:24.3 52 39:23.0 47
47 Ernst Pühringer 23 Austria AUT 53:23.0 18:58.5 46 39:25.3 48
48 Bob Gray 28 United States USA 53:24.8 18:56.5 44 39:38.4 51
49 Tibor Holéczy 24 Hungary HUN 53:35.9 19:18.5 50 39:33.1 50
50 Tokio Sato 25 Japan JPN 53:41.2 18:56.8 45 39:22.8 46
51 Walter Failer 21 Austria AUT 54:12.5 19:39.4 54 40:55.1 55
52 Gendgeegiin Batmönkh 23 Mongolia MGL 54:21.3 19:12.0 49 39:27.0 49
53 Akiyoshi Matsuoka 22 Japan JPN 54:46.2 19:43.4 56 41:10.3 56
54 Luvsan-Ayuushiin Dashdemberel 27 Mongolia MGL 54:46.4 19:40.7 55 40:17.9 53
55 Larry Damon 34 United States USA 55:07.2 19:24.0 51 40:14.2 52
56 Nils Skulbru 29 Canada CAN 55:53.4 19:34.9 53 40:49.5 54
57 Svend Carlsen 29 Denmark DEN 56:09.5 20:34.0 59 41:17.8 57
58 Tom Dakin 25 Great Britain GBR 56:49.9 20:01.4 57 41:42.2 58
59 Peter Tancock 27 Great Britain GBR 57:31.1 20:08.7 58 41:48.9 59
60 Ross Martin 24 Australia AUS 58:00.2 20:37.6 60 42:30.2 60
61 David Rees 24 Canada CAN 58:25.9 21:07.0 63 43:25.7 62
62 Yun Jong-Im 25 South Korea KOR 58:28.2 20:56.6 62 42:49.5 61
63 Rolf Pettersen 22 Canada CAN 58:31.8 21:25.7 65 43:57.8 65
64 Miklós Holló 24 Hungary HUN 58:37.2 20:51.8 61 43:43.1 64
65 Hiroshi Ogawa 23 Japan JPN 59:55.4 21:15.7 64 43:31.5 63
66 Kim Chun-Gi 21 South Korea KOR 1-00:04.8 22:14.3 68 44:27.5 66
67 Apollo Lynge 28 Denmark DEN 1-00:34.8 22:00.3 67 45:15.5 67
68 Dimitrios Andreadis 26 Greece GRE 1-00:52.1 21:58.1 66 45:23.0 68
69 Şeref Çınar 19 Turkey TUR 1-04:12.2 23:29.0 70 47:44.9 70
70 Rızvan Özbey Turkey TUR 1-05:02.3 22:49.1 69 47:33.0 69
71 Naci Öğün 23 Turkey TUR 1-05:56.4 23:43.7 71 48:33.0 71
72 Yaşar Ören Turkey TUR 1-09:03.8 24:17.2 72 50:34.5 72
AC Hannu Taipale 27 Finland FIN DNF
AC Kazuo Sato 30 Japan JPN DNF
AC Axel Lesser 21 East Germany GDR DNF