| Event type

10,000 metres, Men

Date 3 February 1948 — 9:00
LocationOlympia-Eisstadion Badrutts Park, St. Moritz
Participants27 from 11 countries
Olympic Record 17:24.3 / Ivar Ballangrud NOR / 14 February 1936
StarterHerman SchöllkopfSUI
RefereeOssi BlomqvistFIN

At the first Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, the 10 km event had been a disaster. Due to warm weather, the race was cancelled after a few pairs and never concluded. Two decades later, the 10,000 m was once again the victim of weather conditions. Again, warm weather marred the competition after just a few pairs, although not as badly as the previous time. Unlike in 1928, the race was completed, and medals were awarded.

All top skaters raced in the early pairs, when the weather was still acceptable. However, the weather was not the only problem for the competitors; the thin St. Moritz air also proved a difficulty for many. One of them was 5,000 m bronze medallist Göthe Hedlund, who had recorded a nice 17.17,1 in December. He had to give up in the first pair, which was won by his compatriot Harry Jansson. The other Swedish medal candidate, Åke Seyffarth had been in doubt about starting the race, but these doubts proved ungrounded. He opened up a quick lead on Finland’s Pertti Lammio, which would only grow larger. Thanks to two impressive 41-second laps at the end, the clock stopped at a very respectable 17.26,3, with Lammio some 16 seconds behind that.

World Champion Lassi Parkkinen and Hungarian Kornél Pajor contested the third pair, and both began their races faster than Seyffarth. At a third of the distance, Pajor lost connection with Parkkinen, who also gradually slowed. At 7,200 m, the Finn still came through in the same time as the leader, but he could not keep up the pace any longer, losing nearly 10 seconds in the remaining laps for second place. With the gold and silver medallists of the 5,000 m drawn in the next pair, Parkkinen was not expected to hold on to this position. However, a few puddles of water appeared on the track, as a sign of deteriorating weather conditions. Still, Reidar Liaklev managed to copy Seyffarth’s times and seemed headed for a medal, when he suddenly slowed noticeably. Like Hedlund, Liaklev suffered from the altitude, and stepped out of the race. Lundberg, nearly half a lap behind at that point, did finish the race. It would later turn out he was the only Norwegian to do so, finishing only in seventh. With temperatures rising, the standings did not change in the remaining pairs. Seyffarth’s victory marked the first Olympic title for Sweden.

While conditions were bad for all skaters after the fifth pair, Richard Solem was probably most affected. Because his opponent forfeited, he had to skate alone at the end of the programme. He consistently clocked lap times of over 1 minute and finished after 26.22,4, by far the worst time recorded in Olympic history. US journalist Ted Smits wrote: )[the ice] became so mushy by early afternoon that Richard Solem of Chicago, racing at the very end of the program after eight men had dropped out due to poor ice and the altitude, ploughed through slush up to the tubes of his skates. But he gamely finished, and his time of 26 minutes, 22.4 seconds attested to the ordeal. He was cheered for 19th place almost as loudly as the victor.)

12IÅke SeyffarthSWE17:26.3Gold
23ILassi ParkkinenFIN17:36.0Silver
32OPentti LammioFIN17:42.7Bronze
43OKornél PajorHUN17:45.6
55OKees BroekmanNED17:54.7
65IJan LangedijkNED17:55.3
74IOdd LundbergNOR18:05.8
81IHarry JanssonSWE18:08.0
97ORune HammarströmSWE18:39.6
106OMax StieplAUT19:25.5
119IJohnny WerketUSA19:44.0
128OPierre HuylebroeckBEL19:54.8
1310OCraig MacKayCAN20:15.5
1411IAnton HuiskesNED20:16.4
1510IIván RuttkayHUN20:16.5
168IJános KiliánHUN20:23.8
1714ISonny RupprechtUSA21:20.3
1813IArt SeamanUSA21:34.8
1912OBuddy SolemUSA26:22.4
DNF13OHjalmar AndersenNOR
DNF11OJohnny CronsheyGBR
DNF1OGöthe HedlundSWE
DNF14OHenry HowesGBR
DNF7IKalevi LaitinenFIN
DNF4OReidar LiaklevNOR
DNF9OHenry WahlNOR
DQ6IVladimír KolářTCH
DNSLee Hyo-ChangKOR