The Most Famous

SKATERS from Norway

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This page contains a list of the greatest Skaters. The pantheon dataset contains 315 Skaters, 19 of which were born in Norway. This makes Norway the birth place of the 7th most number of Skaters behind Germany and Japan.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Skaters of all time. This list of famous Skaters is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Skaters.

Photo of Sonja Henie

1. Sonja Henie (1912 - 1969)

With an HPI of 62.98, Sonja Henie is the most famous Skater.  Her biography has been translated into 52 different languages on wikipedia.

Sonja Henie (8 April 1912 – 12 October 1969) was a Norwegian figure skater and film star. She was a three-time Olympic champion (1928, 1932, 1936) in women's singles, a ten-time World champion (1927–1936) and a six-time European champion (1931–1936). Henie has won more Olympic and World titles than any other ladies' figure skater. She is one of only two skaters to defend a ladies' singles Olympic title, the other being Katarina Witt, and her six European titles has only been matched by Witt. At the height of her acting career, she was one of the highest-paid stars in Hollywood and starred in a series of box-office hits, including Thin Ice (1937), Happy Landing, My Lucky Star (1938), Second Fiddle (1939) and Sun Valley Serenade (1941).

Photo of Axel Paulsen

2. Axel Paulsen (1855 - 1938)

With an HPI of 58.19, Axel Paulsen is the 2nd most famous Skater.  His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.

Axel Paulsen (18 July 1855 – 9 February 1938) was a Norwegian figure skater and speed skater. He invented the figure skating Axel jump and held the world title in speed skating from 1882 to 1890. In 1976 he was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

Photo of Ivar Ballangrud

3. Ivar Ballangrud (1904 - 1969)

With an HPI of 53.54, Ivar Ballangrud is the 3rd most famous Skater.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Ivar Eugen Ballangrud (né Eriksen, 7 March 1904 – 1 June 1969) was a Norwegian speed skater, a four-time Olympic champion in speed skating. As the only triple gold medalist at the 1936 Winter Olympics, Ballangrud was the most successful athlete there.

Photo of Hjalmar Andersen

4. Hjalmar Andersen (1923 - 2013)

With an HPI of 51.40, Hjalmar Andersen is the 4th most famous Skater.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Hjalmar "Hjallis" Johan Andersen (12 March 1923 – 27 March 2013) was a speed skater from Norway who won three gold medals at the 1952 Winter Olympic Games of Oslo, Norway. He was the only triple gold medalist at the 1952 Winter Olympics, and as such, became the most successful athlete there. Nicknamed King Glad for his famous cheerful mood, he was one of Norway's most popular sportsmen ever. Four statues of him were raised during his lifetime; in Trondheim, Hamar, Rødøy and outside Bislett Stadium in Oslo. He was honored with a funeral at the state’s expense.

Photo of Fred Anton Maier

5. Fred Anton Maier (1938 - 2015)

With an HPI of 50.28, Fred Anton Maier is the 5th most famous Skater.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Fred Anton Maier (15 December 1938 – 9 June 2015) was a speed skater from Norway. He was among the dominating skaters throughout the 1960s, specialising in the longer distances. Maier won four Olympic medals: silver on the 10,000 m and bronze on the 5,000 m at the 1964 Olympics, and gold on the 5,000 m and silver on the 10,000 m at the 1968 Olympics. In 1968, he also became European and World Allround Champion. In total, Maier set eleven world records. For a brief week in 1968 he held four world records simultaneously, the 3,000 m, 5,000 m, 10,000 m, and the allround samalogue record. In addition, Maier excelled in cycling, winning two National Time Trial Championships bronze medals (in 1957 and 1967). In 1967, he was awarded the Egebergs Ærespris and in 1968, he won the Oscar Mathisen Award and was chosen Norwegian Sportsperson of the Year. Maier died from cancer on 9 June 2015 at the age of 76.

Photo of Knut Johannesen

6. Knut Johannesen (1933 - )

With an HPI of 47.65, Knut Johannesen is the 6th most famous Skater.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Knut ("Kupper'n") Johannesen (born 6 November 1933) is a former speed skater from Norway.

Photo of Sverre Farstad

7. Sverre Farstad (1920 - 1978)

With an HPI of 46.26, Sverre Farstad is the 7th most famous Skater.  His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Sverre Farstad (8 February 1920 – 27 March 1978) was a Norwegian speed skater representing Sportsklubben Falken, Trondheim, as part of the Falken Trio also including Henry Wahl and Hjalmar Andersen. Farstad won one Olympic gold medal and one European Championship in his three-year international career.

Photo of Finn Helgesen

8. Finn Helgesen (1919 - 2011)

With an HPI of 44.95, Finn Helgesen is the 8th most famous Skater.  His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Finn Helgesen (25 April 1919 – 3 September 2011) was a speed skater from Norway.

Photo of Roald Aas

9. Roald Aas (1928 - 2012)

With an HPI of 44.53, Roald Aas is the 9th most famous Skater.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Roald Edgar Aas (25 March 1928 – 18 February 2012) was a speed skater and cyclist from Norway. He was born in Oslo. Aas was the number two speed skater in Norway through the entire 1950s—initially after Hjalmar Andersen, later after Knut Johannesen. He became Norwegian champion once, in 1956, but finished second seven times. Aas participated in all international championships between 1951 and 1960, almost always finishing in the top ten. He won bronze at the World Allround Speed Skating Championships in 1958, and at two European Speed Skating Championships, in 1957 and 1960. At the Oslo Winter Olympics, he won bronze on the 1500 m, while at the Squaw Valley Winter Olympics in 1960, he finally won gold, shared with Yevgeny Grishin, also in 1500 m. Aas also was a successful cyclist, winning the 1956 Norwegian Championships in both road cycling and track cycling. For his achievements as both a speed skater and a cyclist, Aas was awarded the prestigious Egebergs Ærespris in 1956. Until 1956, Aas represented Oslo Idrettslag (Oslo Sports Club) – from 1957 on, he represented Oslo Skøiteklub (Oslo Skating Club). When he ended his skating career, he became a coach at Oslo Skøiteklub.

Photo of Sten Stensen

10. Sten Stensen (1947 - )

With an HPI of 44.38, Sten Stensen is the 10th most famous Skater.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Sten Einar Stensen (born 18 December 1947) is a former speed skater. Together with Amund Sjøbrend, Kay Stenshjemmet, and Jan Egil Storholt, he was one of the legendary four S-es ("four aces" in Norwegian), contemporary Norwegian top skaters in the 1970s and early 1980s. Stensen excelled at the longer distances, especially the 5,000 m and 10,000 m, and set two world records. He was World Allround Champion in 1974 and European Allround Champion in 1975. He also won Olympic gold on the 5,000 m in Innsbruck in 1976. For his accomplishments, he received the Oscar Mathisen Award in 1974 and 1976. During the 1976 European Allround Championships in Oslo, Stensen (the defending European Champion), set a new world record on the 10,000 m, but he still lost his title to fellow Norwegian Kay Stenshjemmet by a tiny margin of only 0.005 points (equivalent to 0.10 seconds on the 10,000 m).Stensen won gold on the 5,000 m at the 1976 Winter Olympics the next month, a race in which Piet Kleine won silver and the world record holder on that distance, Hans van Helden, won bronze. Still being the world record holder on the 10,000 m, Stensen was the favourite for that distance three days later, but he was beaten by Kleine in a close race. Again, Van Helden finished third.After ending his speed skating career in 1978, Stensen became a Norwegian broadcasting commentator at speed skating events.

Pantheon has 22 people classified as skaters born between 1855 and 1992. Of these 22, 9 (40.91%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living skaters include Knut Johannesen, Sten Stensen, and Johann Olav Koss. The most famous deceased skaters include Sonja Henie, Axel Paulsen, and Ivar Ballangrud. As of April 2022, 3 new skaters have been added to Pantheon including Odd Lundberg, Alexia Bryn, and Sigurd Moen.

Living Skaters

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Deceased Skaters

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Newly Added Skaters (2022)

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Which Skaters were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 13 most globally memorable Skaters since 1700.