Per Erik Hedlund

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full namePer Erik•Hedlund
Used namePer Erik•Hedlund
Born18 April 1897 in Särnaheden, Älvdalen, Dalarna (SWE)
Died12 February 1975 in Särna, Älvdalen, Dalarna (SWE)
AffiliationsSärna SK, Särna, Älvdalen (SWE)
NOC Sweden
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1


Hedlund competed for Särna SK, except for a few years in the mid-1920s, when he joined Malungs IF. He participated at the 1924 Winter Olympics in Chamonix finishing sixth in the 18 km run but did not finish in the 50 km. Nevertheless he achieved his best results over the long distances. At the next Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, he won the 50 km event ahead of his compatriot Gustaf Jonsson by a great margin of 13:27, unequaled in Olympic history. Before the Games the ladies at home sewed a white ski suit for Hedlund, which was lighter than the official Swedish outfit, and was very suitable under the prevailing warm conditions, but he was almost disqualified by the team management, because he refused to wear the Swedish blue. However, as he did so well in the Olympics, the suit was considered to bring luck, and since then, the Swedish cross-country team has worn white outfits at the Winter Olympics. At the 1933 Nordic World Ski Championships he was part of the Swedish relay team that won the title. He also won the famous Vasa run in 1926 and 1928. Sweden’s best two skiers, Sven Utterström and Per-Erik Hedlund, were best friends and wanted to share the victory in the 1928 race. They went side-by-side over the line but Hedlund was declared winner after a jury meeting, causing Utterström and Hedlund to refuse to accept the jury’s decision, angrily handing back their prizes. Hedlund won nine individual Swedish Championships over various distances with six in the 50 km event, which was in fact a 60 km event until 1926. He received the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal in 1928.

Hedlund was described as “rough as a horse, agile as a squirrel and with lungs like a hound”. During his active time, he worked six days a week in the woods and went skiing on the seventh. Rumor has it that he sometimes he went skiing to the venues or often skied to trains that went to the venue.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1924 Winter Olympics Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) SWE Per Erik Hedlund
18 kilometres, Men (Olympic) 6
50 kilometres, Men (Olympic) DNF
1928 Winter Olympics Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) SWE Per Erik Hedlund
18 kilometres, Men (Olympic) 6
50 kilometres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Special Notes