Ernst Larsen

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 1
RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameErnst Willy•Larsen
Used nameErnst•Larsen
Born18 July 1926 in Ranheim, Trondheim (NOR)
Died2 December 2015 in Ranheim, Trondheim (NOR)
Measurements183 cm / 65 kg
AffiliationsRanheim IL, Ranheim, Trondheim (NOR)
NOC Norway


Ernst Larsen was one of Norway’s most prominent track and field athletes during the 1950s, winning 13 Norwegian titles in track and cross country running and breaking the Norwegian record in the 5,000 m and 3,000 m steeplechase 15 times. His national breakthrough came in 1951 when he bettered Martin Stokken’s national steeplechase record on two occasions. In 1954 he was second in steeplechase at the national championships, close behind the new national record holder Hallgeir Brenden. Larsen’s international breakthrough came later in 1954 when he finished third in the European Championship in his favorite event, the steeplechase, lowering the national record to 8:53.2. In September 1956 he lowered his national record to 8:42.4, his all-time best, and went to the Melbourne Olympics as one of the medal favorites. At the Olympics he was third, but received international acclaim for his sportsmanship when he declared that he was not obstructed by the eventual winner Chris Brasher, when the Englishman first was disqualified due to an incident with Larsen during the final.

Larsen ended his athletic career after the 1959 season, aged 33. Nicknamed “Kruska,” Larsen was a vegetarian, and his favorite meal was Kruska, a dish consisting of bran with oatmeal and raisins. He was also a decent cross-country skier, who tried to qualify for the 1952 Winter Olympic team. Larsen lived his entire life in Ranheim, an industrial site northeast of Trondheim, working as a mechanic at the local pulp mill. His grandson Martin Larsen became one of Norway’s best boxers, attempting to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

Personal Bests: 5000 – 14:03.8 (1957); 3000S – 8:42.4 (1956).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1956 Summer Olympics Athletics NOR Ernst Larsen
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) DNS
3,000 metres Steeplechase, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze