Stein Johnson

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameSten Jean "Stein"•Johnson
Used nameStein•Johnson
Born20 October 1921 in Bergen (NOR)
Died28 April 2012 in Oslo (NOR)
AffiliationsIK Tjalve, Oslo (NOR)
NOC Norway


Born in Bergen with a Norwegian mother and Swedish father, Stein Johnson’s family was very interested sports. Stein’s aunt Sonja took part in swimming at the Olympics in Stockholm in 1912 for Sweden. Stein focused on athletics, and was four times Norwegian champion in the discus in the years just after World War II. He participated in the Summer Games in London in 1948 where he placed eighth, and in Helsinki in 1952, where he failed to qualify for the finals. At the European Athletics Championships he took fifth place in 1946 and fourth in 1950.

Having worked as an athletic trainer for some years he was employed as a speed skating coach for the Norwegian national team in the summer of 1962. Norwegian skaters had had a particularly dismal season prior to his arrival, but with his scientific approach to skating training Stein Johnson had immediate success, and was the man behind the so-called Norwegian “skating revolution” in 1963. During the country match against the Soviet at Bislett in January 1963, the Norwegian team was outstanding, and four Norwegians went under Boris Shilkov’s legendary world record for 5,000 metres. The Norwegians took a quadruple victory during the European Championships in Göteburg a week later, with Nils Aaness, Knut Johannesen, Per Ivar Moe and Magne Thomassen at the top of the leaderboard. Suddenly Stein Johnson was the hottest coaching name in Norwegian sports.

Stein Johnson coached several different sports, and all with great success. During the Olympics in 1968, he was coach of the Norwegian fours in canoeing, leading them to a gold. Four years later, he was the man behind Knut Knudsen’s sensational gold medal in track cycling at the Summer Games in Munich. He was also a key advisor to stars like ski jumper Toralf Engan, biathlete Eirik Kvalfoss and the Norwegian women’s national cross country team. A total of 12 national federations have used him as a coach. In addition, he ran an extensive public information campaign, including through the television series “Bøy og tøy”, which consisted of 30 programs. Johnson was responsible for youth sports activities in Oslo for 34 years and led the sports school with about a 1,000 participants from the primary schools in Oslo each year. In 2005 he was rewarded with Egeberg’s Ærespris, and he is still the only coach to be honored in this way. The same year he was awarded the King’s Medal of Merit in gold.

Personal Best: DT – 50.33 (1952).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Summer Olympics Athletics NOR Stein Johnson
Discus Throw, Men (Olympic) 8
1952 Summer Olympics Athletics NOR Stein Johnson
Discus Throw, Men (Olympic) 20 r1/2

Olympic family relations

Special Notes