Speed Skating at the 1952 Winter Olympics

Dates 16 – 19 February 1952
Medal Events 4

With the 1952 edition, the Winter Olympics first came to Scandinavia. The competitions proved very popular with the public, which was also the case for the speed skating events. Held at Bislett Stadium, there was room for 29,000 spectators, much more than at previous Olympics.

The first rink at Bislett was opened on 1908, but it was closed for relocation and renovation in 1916. After its reopening in 1922, it was Oslo’s secondary skating rink (behind Frogner), although it hosted the 1925 World Championships, as well as various international socialist championships. After the War, it took over from Frogner and hosted the 1947 and 1949 World Championships before being used in the Olympics. Until the early 1980s, it was one of the world’s premier skating rinks, but it lost that status when it was decided it would no longer be used for skating in 1988. Since the 1960s, the stadium (now renovated) is in use for the annual Bislett Games, one of the world’s foremost track and field meets.

All countries participating in the Oslo speed skating events had competed at earlier Games, Germany and Japan returning after their exclusion in 1948. Germany was only represented by West German athletes, including their sole skater, Theo Meding. Still missing was the Soviet Union, which would make its Olympic début later in the year in Helsinki. The Soviet male skaters improved record after record on the highland rink at Medeo, although these times were approached with suspicion, since the skaters did not compete internationally. Remarkably, the Soviet female skaters did appear at World Championships, which they dominated. Women’s skating, however, was still not on the programme in Oslo.

The speed skating part of these Olympics was dominated by home favorite Hjalmar Andersen. He had won all major all-round titles in 1950, 1951 and 1952, and would win three gold medals. Behind him, Dutch skaters won their country’s first Olympic speed skating medals.

An important absentee in Oslo was Hungarian-born Kornél Pajor. He had placed third at the European Championships two weeks before the Olympics, and in 1949, he had won the World Championships at Bislett, winning both long distances. But after that title, Pajor did not return to communist Hungary and defected to Sweden. After initially competing as stateless, Pajor represented Sweden in 1952. Because of his change of nationality so briefly before the Olympics, Pajor was not allowed to compete in Oslo.


Event Status Date Participants NOCs
500 metres, Men Olympic 16 February 1952 41 14
1,500 metres, Men Olympic 18 February 1952 39 13
5,000 metres, Men Olympic 17 February 1952 35 13
10,000 metres, Men Olympic 19 February 1952 30 12
67 (67/0) 14 (14/0)


Event Gold Silver Bronze
500 metres, Men Ken HenryUSA Don McDermottUSA Gordon Audley
Arne Johansen
1,500 metres, Men Hjalmar AndersenNOR Wim van der VoortNED Roald AasNOR
5,000 metres, Men Hjalmar AndersenNOR Kees BroekmanNED Sverre HaugliNOR
10,000 metres, Men Hjalmar AndersenNOR Kees BroekmanNED Carl-Erik AsplundSWE

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Norway NOR 3 0 3 6
United States USA 1 1 0 2
Netherlands NED 0 3 0 3
Canada CAN 0 0 1 1
Sweden SWE 0 0 1 1