| Event type

50 kilometres, Men

Date17 February 1968
Participants51 from 18 countries
DetailsCourse Length: ?
Height Differential: 248 m
Intermediate 1: 15.0 km
Intermediate 2: 25.0 km
Intermediate 3: 40.0 km
Maximum Climb: 70 m
Total Climbing: 1,480 m

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.

123Ole EllefsæterNOR2-28:45.8Gold
241Vyacheslav VedeninURS2-29:02.5Silver
331Josef HaasSUI2-29:14.8Bronze
442Pål TyldumNOR2-29:26.7
55Melcher RisbergSWE2-29:37.0
652Gunnar LarssonSWE2-29:37.2
725Jan HalvarssonSWE2-30:05.9
851Reidar HjermstadNOR2-31:01.8
928Walter DemelFRG2-31:14.4
1045Assar RönnlundSWE2-31:19.3
1146Kalevi LaurilaFIN2-31:24.9
1236Mario BacherITA2-31:33.8
131Andreas JancAUT2-32:32.2
1460Hannu TaipaleFIN2-32:37.7
1524Eero MäntyrantaFIN2-32:53.8
169Vladimir VoronkovURS2-33:07.3
1713Aldo StellaITA2-33:17.9
182Odd MartinsenNOR2-33:51.4
193Pauli SiitonenFIN2-34:31.2
2019Anatoly AkentyevURS2-34:54.5
2122Józef RysulaPOL2-35:30.9
2216Mike GallagherUSA2-36:26.1
2347Alois KälinSUI2-36:40.8
2430Roger PiresFRA2-36:48.8
2521Gert-Dietmar KlauseGDR2-36:52.5
2627Livio StufferITA2-37:46.6
2753Elviro BlancITA2-38:12.4
2837Ján FajstavrTCH2-39:25.3
2912Tokio SatoJPN2-40:00.5
3044Mike ElliottUSA2-40:38.5
3159Igor VoronchikhinURS2-40:48.2
3229Larry DamonUSA2-41:25.2
3317Helmut GerlachFRG2-41:55.8
3435Franz VetterAUT2-43:51.1
3514Alojz KerštajnYUG2-43:54.1
3654Charlie KelloggUSA2-44:00.4
376Franz KälinSUI2-44:29.7
3834Sotoo OkushibaJPN2-45:09.4
3956Vít Fousek, Jr.TCH2-45:09.8
4050Fernand BorrelFRA2-45:10.6
417Claude LegrandFRA2-45:36.9
4220Tibor HoléczyHUN2-45:38.0
4340Siegfried WeißFRG2-46:53.4
4438Luc ColinFRA2-48:57.9
458Miklós HollóHUN2-51:24.1
4632David ReesCAN2-56:00.5
4710Yun Jong-ImKOR3-27:22.5
DNF11Václav PeřinaTCH
DNF26Janez MlinarYUG
DNF49Denis MastSUI
DNF57Klaus GanterFRG
DNS4Petar PankovBUL
DNS43Nils SkulbruCAN
DNS15Gerhard GrimmerGDR
DNS55Peter ThielGDR
DNS48Helmut UngerGDR
DNS39Akiyoshi MatsuokaJPN
DNS58Kazuo SatoJPN
DNS33Kim Chun-GiKOR
DNS18Karel ŠteflTCH