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Cross Country Skiing at the 1968 Grenoble Winter Games:

Men's 50 kilometres

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Host City: Grenoble, France
Venue(s): , Autrans
Date Started: February 17, 1968
Date Finished: February 17, 1968

Gold: NOR Ole Ellefsæter
Silver: URS Vyacheslav Vedenin
Bronze: SUI Josef Haas

Summary

Bitter cold the night before the 50 km race made the conditions in the track icy, and the race developed into the fastest 50 km race in the history of skiing to that time, and also the closest battle for the medals, as only 52 seconds separated 6th place from the gold medal. The two newly crowned champions from 30 km and 15 km, Franco Nones and Harald Grønningen, were not among the participants. At the first official intermediate time at 15 km, Reidar Hjermstad, who came into the Norwegian team as a substitute for Grønningen, was in a clear lead, 21 seconds ahead of his countryman Ole Ellefsæter, who had skied the anchor leg for the victorious Norwegian relay team three days earlier. At the halfway point Ellefsæter had taken the lead, 44 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Melcher Risberg, who had advanced from fifth place at 15 km. Hjermstad had dropped down to third, 50 seconds behind his countryman. At 40 km Ellefsæter was still in the lead, but two other skiers had come strongly from behind. His teammate Pål Tyldum had moved from 11th place at the halfway point to second, only 29 seconds behind, and Soviet Union’s Vyacheslav Vedenin had moved from tenth to third, one minute behind the leader. Over the last 10 km Ellefsæter was able to cling to the lead and won Norway’s first Olympic gold medal at the distance since Thorleif Haug won in the first Winter Olympics in 1924. Vedenin finished strongly for a silver medal 17 seconds behind, but the fastest finisher was the surprise man of the day, Switzerland’s Josef Haas. The 30-year old skier from Marbach in Sankt Gallen moved up from 6th to bronze position during the last 10 km, and finished only 29 seconds behind the winner. He skied the last 10 km 48 seconds faster than the Olympic Champion Ellefsæter. Haas was the first skier from Middle Europe winning a medal in the Olympic 50 km race. Tyldum was unable to defend his second place and finished fourth, another 12 seconds behind Haas and closely followed by the two Swedes Risberg and Gunnar Larsson, the bronze medalist from the 15 km race. Only 0.2 seconds separated the two Swedes. Ellefsæter’s winning time of 2-28:45.8 stood unbeaten in international skiing championships until 1980, when Olympic Champion Nikolay Zimyatov bettered Ellefsæter's winning time by 1:21, six years after the equipment revolution of fiberglass skis in 1974.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T I1T I1R I2T I2R I3T I3R
1 Ole Ellefsæter 28 Norway NOR Gold 2-28:45.8 47:53.8 2 1-11:39.5 1 2-03:11.3 1
2 Vyacheslav Vedenin 26 Soviet Union URS Silver 2-29:02.5 48:51.1 10 1-13:30.8 10 2-04:11.3 3
3 Josef Haas 30 Switzerland SUI Bronze 2-29:14.8 49:08.6 12 1-13:28.1 8 2-04:28.0 7
4 Pål Tyldum 25 Norway NOR 2-29:26.7 48:29.5 7 1-13:33.8 11 2-03:40.6 2
5 Melcher Risberg 37 Sweden SWE 2-29:37.0 48:17.8 5 1-12:23.4 2 2-04:21.2 6
6 Gunnar Larsson 23 Sweden SWE 2-29:37.2 48:30.2 8 1-12:50.2 6 2-04:14.3 4
7 Jan Halvarsson 25 Sweden SWE 2-30:05.9 48:05.5 4 1-12:36.7 4 2-04:28.5 8
8 Reidar Hjermstad 30 Norway NOR 2-31:01.8 47:36.5 1 1-12:29.8 3 2-04:17.8 5
9 Walter Demel 32 West Germany FRG 2-31:14.4 48:32.7 9 1-13:38.2 13 2-05:07.4 10
10 Assar Rönnlund 32 Sweden SWE 2-31:19.3 47:55.1 3 1-12:42.5 5 2-05:21.8 11
11 Kalevi Laurila 30 Finland FIN 2-31:24.9 48:22.9 6 1-13:25.6 7 2-05:05.3 9
12 Mario Bacher 26 Italy ITA 2-31:33.8 49:21.5 15 1-13:44.8 14 2-06:38.4 13
13 Andreas Janc 30 Austria AUT 2-32:32.2 49:31.0 18 1-14:01.3 15 2-06:50.2 15
14 Hannu Taipale 27 Finland FIN 2-32:37.7 49:27.6 16 1-14:35.6 17 2-06:46.1 14
15 Eero Mäntyranta 30 Finland FIN 2-32:53.8 48:51.7 11 1-14:37.8 18 2-06:30.5 12
16 Vladimir Voronkov 23 Soviet Union URS 2-33:07.3 50:17.1 23 1-15:48.1 24 2-07:44.7 19
17 Aldo Stella 25 Italy ITA 2-33:17.9 49:20.6 14 1-14:09.0 16 2-07:20.7 16
18 Odd Martinsen 25 Norway NOR 2-33:51.4 49:33.8 19 1-14:42.7 19 2-07:43.2 18
19 Pauli Siitonen 30 Finland FIN 2-34:31.2 49:18.4 13 1-13:30.6 9 2-07:23.0 17
20 Anatoly Akentyev 28 Soviet Union URS 2-34:54.5 49:52.6 22 1-13:35.8 12 2-08:10.7 20
21 Józef Rysula 28 Poland POL 2-35:30.9 50:23.8 24 1-15:45.8 23 2-08:27.7 21
22 Mike Gallagher 26 United States USA 2-36:26.1 50:46.3 27 1-16:22.8 28 2-09:46.2 24
23 Alois Kälin 28 Switzerland SUI 2-36:40.8 50:28.0 26 1-15:58.2 25 2-09:35.2 22
24 Roger Pires 27 France FRA 2-36:48.8 50:26.0 25 1-16:02.8 26 2-09:39.6 23
25 Gert-Dietmar Klause 22 East Germany GDR 2-36:52.5 50:54.9 28 1-16:18.3 27 2-10:26.4 26
26 Livio Stuffer 32 Italy ITA 2-37:46.6 49:47.8 21 1-14:55.1 20 2-10:01.7 25
27 Elviro Blanc 23 Italy ITA 2-38:12.4 49:30.6 17 1-15:21.8 22 2-10:37.8 27
28 Ján Fajstavr 23 Czechoslovakia TCH 2-39:25.3 51:00.7 30 1-16:34.5 29 2-11:38.6 28
29 Tokio Sato 25 Japan JPN 2-40:00.5 52:27.0 38 1-17:21.6 33 2-13:58.0 33
30 Mike Elliott 25 United States USA 2-40:38.5 51:01.5 31 1-16:58.9 32 2-12:08.4 30
31 Igor Voronchikhin 29 Soviet Union URS 2-40:48.2 49:43.7 20 1-14:59.4 21 2-11:46.7 29
32 Larry Damon 34 United States USA 2-41:25.2 52:18.3 37 1-18:38.1 38 2-13:38.0 31
33 Helmut Gerlach 30 West Germany FRG 2-41:55.8 50:57.3 29 1-16:50.1 30 2-13:50.5 32
34 Franz Vetter 34 Austria AUT 2-43:51.1 53:03.6 43 1-19:49.1 44 2-16:13.1 38
35 Alojz Kerštajn 20 Yugoslavia YUG 2-43:54.1 52:29.9 40 1-18:59.5 40 2-15:12.9 34
36 Charlie Kellogg 28 United States USA 2-44:00.4 53:19.7 44 1-19:49.0 43 2-15:58.5 37
37 Franz Kälin 28 Switzerland SUI 2-44:29.7 52:29.7 39 1-18:39.2 39 2-16:51.9 41
38 Sotoo Okushiba 22 Japan JPN 2-45:09.4 52:18.0 36 1-17:46.5 34 2-15:53.6 36
39 Vít Fousek, Jr. 27 Czechoslovakia TCH 2-45:09.8 51:42.4 33 1-18:01.3 35 2-16:44.6 39
40 Fernand Borrel 28 France FRA 2-45:10.6 52:02.0 34 1-18:29.8 37 2-15:39.5 35
41 Claude Legrand 26 France FRA 2-45:36.9 52:06.8 35 1-18:04.4 36 2-16:48.5 40
42 Tibor Holéczy 24 Hungary HUN 2-45:38.0 52:58.7 42 1-19:32.5 42 2-17:46.8 43
43 Siegfried Weiß 34 West Germany FRG 2-46:53.4 52:53.4 41 1-19:13.7 41 2-17:10.7 42
44 Luc Colin 32 France FRA 2-48:57.9 51:28.0 32 1-16:58.6 31 2-17:59.6 44
45 Miklós Holló 24 Hungary HUN 2-51:24.1 54:20.6 45 1-21:32.6 45 2-22:07.8 45
46 David Rees 24 Canada CAN 2-56:00.5 55:30.1 46 1-23:19.6 46 2-25:09.8 46
47 Yun Jong-Im 25 South Korea KOR 3-27:22.5 1-03:22.8 47 1-34:48.2 47 2-46:58.4 47
AC Václav Peřina 22 Czechoslovakia TCH DNF
AC Janez Mlinar 26 Yugoslavia YUG DNF
AC Denis Mast 26 Switzerland SUI DNF
AC Klaus Ganter 22 West Germany FRG DNF