|Type||Competed in Olympic Games|
|Full name||Lennart Nils Olov•Larsson|
|Born||7 February 1930 in Granbergsträsk, Skellefteå (SWE)|
|Died||26 March 2021 in Skellefteå (SWE)|
|Affiliations||SK Järven, Jörn, Skellefteå (SWE)|
Lennart Larsson’s talent was extraordinary and his ambitions high. With his club SK Järven, from which he got his nickname, which meant “Little Wolverine,” he found suitable conditions for shaping a smooth and quick skier with elegant technique but also with strength and endurance. Like many Nordic skiers he was trained working in the forests from 14 to 26 years of age, but he later worked in a sports retail store.
Perhaps Larsson’s greatest success was the relay gold at the 1958 World Championships in Lahti, when he ran the second leg with the best time, distancing cross-country stars Nikolay Anikin (URS) and Arto Tiainen (FIN). The run of his life was in the 50 km at the 1960 Winter Olympics. He broke one ski after two km, turned back about 100 m, borrowed an unwaxed ski, using it until the 10 km checkpoint, where he switched to a suitably waxed ski. In that incident, he lost at least two minutes, but finished the course in a fury, advancing from 17th to 4th place, only 41.2 seconds behind the bronze medalist. At his two Winter Olympics he competed in all six possible cross-country events, never finishing worse than eighth place. His only Olympic medal, however, was in the 1956 relay, despite his running the first leg for Sweden, when he had the team’s worst leg, leaving them almost 2½ min behind the leading Russians.
Larsson’s credentials include an impressive 12 starts for the national team at the Swedish Ski Games with the victory in the 15 km in 1955 and relay golds in 1961 and 1962. He made his début at the Swedish Championships in 1952 in Umeå. He won four silver and four bronze medals individually at the Swedish championships, coming his closest to an individual Swedish Championship title in 1962 in the 15 km, beaten by Assar Rönnlund in the sprint by less than a ski length. He also had two second places and a third for SK Järven in the relay. In his last two competitive years, 1965 and 1966, Larsson competed for IFK Umeå, winning another four team Championships. During the years 1949-66 Lennart Larsson competed in 394 races, won 74 and was in the top three 188 times. He defeated Swedish ski legends Rönnlund 46 times and Sixten Jernberg 23 times.
After his almost 20-year racing career, including 10 years with the Swedish national team, Larsson reduced his training and during his last sporting year 1965/66, studied at Bosön Sport Folkhögskola. Between 1966-72 he worked as a national trainer and in conjunction with this assignment, he was educated from 1971-73 at the GIH (Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences) in Stockholm to become a physical education teacher with cross-country skiing as main subject. He worked as a teacher at the ski line in Älvsbyn 1973-78 and in the 1980s at Lycksele Ski School. He was ski instructor for the national team at the Winter Olympics from 1968 to 1980 and at the World Championships in 1970, 1978, and 1982. Larsson was appointed “Stor Grabb” (Big Boy) No. 42 in Swedish skiing, an honorary award in Swedish sports.
|Games||Discipline (Sport) / Event||NOC / Team||Pos||Medal||As|
|1956 Winter Olympics||Cross Country Skiing (Skiing)||SWE||Lennart Larsson|
|15 kilometres, Men (Olympic)||8|
|30 kilometres, Men (Olympic)||8|
|4 × 10 kilometres Relay, Men (Olympic)||Sweden||3||Bronze|
|1960 Winter Olympics||Cross Country Skiing (Skiing)||SWE||Lennart Larsson|
|30 kilometres, Men (Olympic)||5|
|50 kilometres, Men (Olympic)||4|
|4 × 10 kilometres Relay, Men (Olympic)||Sweden||4|