Toini Gustafsson

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 2
Bronze 0
Total 4
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameToini•Gustafsson (Karvonen-, -Rönnlund)
Used nameToini•Gustafsson
Born17 January 1938 in Suomussalmi (FIN)
Measurements162 cm / 54 kg
AffiliationsIFK Likenäs, Likenäs, Torsby (SWE) / Skellefteå SK, Skellefteå (SWE)
NOC Sweden


Born in Suomussalmi in western Karelia, Finland as Toini Karvonen, she was one of the 72,000 so called Finnish War Children who were evacuated to Sweden as a result of the intense fighting in the Continuation War which also affected civilians, women and children. In 1944, at the age of six, she came to the little village of Ambjörby in Värmland, close to the Norwegian border. After the war she was one of 15,000 Finnish children who did not return to their homeland. She gained Swedish citizenship through marriage, and gave birth to a daughter in 1956.

She had been a promising cross-country skier as a schoolgirl, and now started to train seriously. Her international breakthrough came in 1960 when she surprisingly won the 10 km at Holmenkollen, also winning in 1967 and 1968, and she was awarded the Holmenkollen Medal in 1967. Toini Gustafsson was Swedish Champion for the first time in 1962, and won eleven national titles in the years 1962-1968. She was a member of the silver medal winning Swedish relay team at the 1962 World Championshipin Zakopane. Four years later she won her first international championship medal, placing third in 10 km at the World Championship in Oslo. She also won another bronze medal for Sweden as a member of the relay team. Toini Gustafsson was undisputedly the queen of cross country skiing at the 1968 Olympics, winning both individual events. She also, as at the 1964 Winter Olympics, won a silver medal for Sweden in the relay.

Toini Gustafsson was a charming and popular athlete, and an important promoter for female cross-country skiing in the Nordic countries. She was an excellent technician, and also scored extremely high in aerobic endurance tests. After the 1968 season she ended her sporting career. Divorced from her first husband, she married her teammate Assar Rönnlund in the summer of 1968. She later worked as a physical education teacher, and she and her husband live in Umeå in their retirement.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1964 Winter Olympics Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) SWE Toini Gustafsson
5 kilometres, Women (Olympic) 6
10 kilometres, Women (Olympic) 8
3 × 5 kilometres Relay, Women (Olympic) Sweden 2 Silver
1968 Winter Olympics Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) SWE Toini Gustafsson
5 kilometres, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
10 kilometres, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
3 × 5 kilometres Relay, Women (Olympic) Sweden 2 Silver

Olympic family relations

Special Notes