One of the world’s best skaters for nearly a decade, Knut Johannesen won all titles available to him. His first major title came in 1957, when he won the World Championships, a title he would grab again in his career’s final championship. He also won the European Championships twice, 1959 and 1960. His first Olympic medal came in 1956, when he was pipped for the 10,000 m gold by Sweden’s Sigvard Ericsson. After another silver in the 1960 5000 m, Johannesen took revenge for Cortina by grabbing the 10,000 m gold medal. He did so in a fabulous time of 15:46.6, becoming the first man to beat 16 minutes in that distance. Always a long distance specialist, “Kupper’n” won two more Olympic medals in his final Olympics, winning the 5,000 m and completing his set of 10,000 m medals with a bronze. Johannes was also dominant in Norwegian Championships, winning it a record eight times between 1955 and 1963, being runner-up in 1956 and 1964. In addition to his titles, he won the Oscar Mathisen Award in 1959 and was named Norwegian athlete of the year in 1960. Johannesen worked as a carpenter, even during his competitive career, but later operated a gas station.
Personal Bests: 500 – 42.3 (1960); 1500 – 2:09.4 (1963); 5000 – 7:37.8 (1963); 10000 – 15:42.9 (1964).