Nils Östensson

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameNils Holger•Östensson
Used nameNils•Östensson
Born29 April 1918 in Transtrand, Malung-Sälen, Dalarna (SWE)
Died24 July 1949 in Risberget, Malung-Sälen, Dalarna (SWE)
AffiliationsSälens IF, Transtrand, Malung-Sälen (SWE)
NOC Sweden
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 2


Nils Östensson was born in the small village of Källan as the son of Louis Östensson and Olga Persson. A brilliant technician in the tracks, he won gold in the relay and silver in the 18 km during the 1948 Winter Olympics at St. Moritz. In the relay, Östensson ran the first leg giving Sweden a lead of almost 2 minutes, which they increased to 9 minutes at the finish line. In the 18 km Sweden made a clean sweep, winning all three medals. He was a member of the Swedish team which finished in second place in the unoffical military patrol event at the 1939 World Championships. At the 1941 World Championships, later declared a non-event, Östensson won a silver medal in the cross-country relay and a gold medal in the military patrol, which was held outside of the official championships. Östensson also took home gold in both the 18 km and 50 km at the 1949 Holmenkollen Games, but he died shortly after this, his greatest success, in a motorcycle accident, when only 31-years-old. The accident occurred on the road between Stafåsnäs in Lima and Sysslebäck in Torsby. He worked on a power plant site in Värmland and was on his way home to Transtrand. In 1996, a plaque was put up at the site, after an iron cross had previously marked the accident site. In the year he was killed, he was posthumously named Sweden’s best athlete.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Winter Olympics Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) SWE Nils Östensson
18 kilometres, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
4 × 10 kilometres Relay, Men (Olympic) Sweden 1 Gold

Special Notes