Olaf Hoffsbakken was, together with Oddbjørn Hagen and Hans Vinjarengen, among the world’s leading athletes in Nordic Combined in the mid-1930s. He placed sixth in the 1934 World Championships, advanced to fourth in 1935, when he won bronze in the 18 km race and silver in the relay. After his two silver medals at the 1936 Winter Olympics, Hoffsbakken earned his revenge over Olympic champion Hagen in Holmenkollen one month later. In 1937 he was Norwegian champion, in 1938 won the World Championships, and in 1939 won his second title at Holmenkollen. Hoffsbakken won the well-known 54 km Birkebeinerrennet twice, in 1936 and 1938, in 1938 with the record time of 3-56:34. He worked as a carpenter in his youth, and later worked at a ski factory in Gjøvik.