Jan Egil Storholt was a promising junior skater who won the Norwegian Junior Championships in 1969. He was almost killed in a mining accident the next year, and was told he would probably not skate at a top level again. But Storholt was determined to get back, and by 1972 he had returned to the Norwegian top. When most of the top Norwegian skaters turned professional in 1973, he was suddenly one of the best amateur speed skaters in Norway. But it wasn’t until Johs Tenmann started coaching the Norwegian skaters that Storholt achieved international success.
In 1976, Storholt won Olympic gold in the 1,500 m, beating Yury Kondakov narrowly, to become the third member of his Trondheim club Falken to win that title after Hjalmar Andersen and Sverre Farstad. Known as one of the four S’es of Norwegian skating (with Kay Arne Stenshjemmet, Sten Stensen and Amund Sjøbrend), he was European champion in 1977 and 1979 and placed among the top four in seven consecutive European Championships (1975-81). He was the runner-up for the World title on three consecutive occasions, each time beaten only by redoubtable Eric Heiden. In 1977 the conditions were excellent during the country match between the Soviet Union and Norway at Medeo, and Storholt used the opportunity to set two World Records (1,500 m and all-around combination) and recorded five personal bests to climb to the top of the Adelskalender (all-time combined ranking). He was the first to top the Adelskalender with four personal records set in the same tournament.
Personal Bests: 500 – 38.07 (1977); 1000 – 1:16.77 (1978); 1500 – 1:55.18 (1977); 5000 – 7:01.16 (1977); 10000 – 14:49.26 (1978).