Alfons Bērziņš

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameAlfons•Bērziņš
Used nameAlfons•Bērziņš
Born9 November 1916 in Rīga (LAT)
Died16 December 1987 in Rīga (LAT)
AffiliationsUS Rīga, Rīga (LAT)
NOC Latvia

Biography

Alfons Bērziņš is the most successful Latvian speed skater in history. Debuting internationally with an 8th place in the 1936 World Championships, he became the first Latvian to win an international title in 1939. His hometown Riga hosted the European Championships, which were held on melting ice and with many competitors skating with the flue. Two weeks later, Bērziņš placed second in the World Championships, proving his title not to be a fluke due to the weather. He would have been a title candicate in the 1940 Winter Olympics, but these were cancelled because of the war, as were the other international tournaments. Bērziņš did win the inofficial World Championships held at Bislett (Oslo). During the war, Bērziņš was first forced to fight with the Soviet troops that had annexed Latvia. After being captured in 1942, he fought for the German army. He was imprisoned by the Soviets in 1945, and deported to Siberia, accused of being a collaborator. He returned to Latvia in 1955, and became a coach. One of his pupils, Lāsma Kauniste, became World Champion in 1969.

Personal Bests: 500 – 42.9 (1938); 1500 – 2:16.4 (1938); 5000 – 8:32.8 (1940); 10000 – 17:47.2 (1940).

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1936 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) LAT Alfons Bērziņš
500 metres, Men (Olympic) =14
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) 18
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 18
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 19

Olympic family relations

Special Notes