Johnny Werket

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJohn Roland "Johnny"•Werket
Used nameJohnny•Werket
Born8 October 1924 in Saint Paul, Minnesota (USA)
Died4 June 2010 in Sun City West, Arizona (USA)
Measurements162 cm / 58 kg
AffiliationsLawrence Wennell Powderhorn Skating Club
NOC United States


Johnny Werket was, until Eric Heiden, the American man who had won the most medals in speed skating at the World Championships. In 1948 he won the distance gold in the 1,500 m, a silver in the 500, and placed second overall, the highest US all-around placing until Heiden. He repeated his distance medals at the 1949 World Championships. In 1950, he won gold in both the 500 and 1,500, placing third in all-around. In 1952, his final Worlds, he won silver medals in both the 500 and 1,500, giving him 10 World Championship medals in all. Werket was of Norwegian descent, and after the 1948 Worlds, the US team competed in Hamar, Norway. There, Werket met a 16-year-old Norwegian girl, Vesla Bekkevoll. They became pen pals, and it later developed into a romance, as they married in 1951 in Minneapolis. Werket attended Augsburg College, graduating in 1949, and skated for the Powderhorn Skating Club. Werket later became a speed skating coach, first with the Richfield Skating Club, and then with US National Teams, including the 1972 Olympic team, and coaching Heiden briefly in 1975. He worked for 31 years with Northern States Power, eventually moving up to an executive position, before retiring in 1983. He and his wife retired to Sun City, Arizona where they both play tennis, Vesla Werket at a high-level in age-group competition.

Personal Bests: 500 – 42.0 (1956); 1500 – 2:16.1 (1956); 5000 – 8:44.6 (1950); 10000 – 18:10.2 (1950).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) USA Johnny Werket
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) 6
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 11
1952 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) USA Johnny Werket
500 metres, Men (Olympic) 11
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) =12
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) DNF
1956 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) USA Johnny Werket
500 metres, Men (Olympic) =11
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) 25

Special Notes