Together with fellow Norwegian, Thorleif Haug, Johan Grøttumsbråten dominated the Nordic skiing events at the early editions of the Winter Games. In 1924, he won silver at 18 km, bronze in the 50 km and the Nordic combined event, and then in 1928 he won the 18 km and the Nordic combined. Grøttumsbråten won his third gold and sixth medal overall in 1932 when he successfully defended his title in the Nordic combined event. In Lake Placid, he was also the flagbearer for the Norwegian team at the opening ceremony. In 1926 and 1931, he was the World Champion in the Nordic combined, and in 1931 he also won the 18 km cross-country. Five times - 1923, 1926, 1928, 1929 and 1931 he triumphed in the Nordic combined at the Holmenkollen Games and as early as 1924 he was honored with the Holmenkollen medal. At home, he was less successful winning his only Norwegian title in the Nordic combined in 1926. His trademark was sometimes holding a burning cigarette between his lips during his races. In World War II he was head of the courier service of the clandestine anti-German intelligence organization XU. In 1944, he had to flee to Sweden but continued his activities.