Henry Hebbe

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameHenry•Hebbe (Svendsen-)
Used nameHenry•Hebbe
Born9 August 1915 in Tønsberg (NOR)
Died27 May 1985 in Oslo (NOR)
AffiliationsOslo SK, Oslo (NOR)
NOC Norway


Henry Svendsen, who changed his family name to Hebbe after World War II, started his skating career at age 15 in his home town of Tønsberg in 1931. Three years later he won the Norwegian Junior Championships, after winning the third and final race, the 1,500 metres, ahead of 30 other participants. In 1936 he finished ninth in the Norwegian senior championships, and a year later he moved to Oslo and became a member of Oslo Skøiteklub. After the 1939 season he is listed with PBs of 45.3, 2:23.9, 8:39.6, and 18:36.2 over the four classical distances.

After the war Hebbe made a strong comeback at age 30, placing fourth in the Norwegian Championships (his best ever) and seventh in the unofficial 1946 World Championships. At Lillehammer in December 1947 he lowered his PB for his best distance, the 5,000, to 8:33.3, only beaten by the later Olympic Champion at the distance, Reidar Liaklev. Hebbe was selected for the Olympic team, but became ill and had to withdraw from the Norwegian Championships in mid-January. At the Olympics, he was out of shape and struggled to finish with two 46 laps for a disappointing 23rd place in the 5,000 metres. He continued to compete for two more seasons, placing seventh in the 1949 Norwegian Championships, with a third place in the 5K. His younger brother by 10 years, Rolf Svendsen, was also a speed skater at the top national level, placing second in the 1946 junior championship and eighth at the 1950 senior championships.

Personal Bests: 500 – 45.3 (1936); 1500 – 2:22.9 (1947); 5000 – 8:33.3 (1948); 10000 – 17:40.8 (1946).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) NOR Henry Hebbe
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 23