Cross-Country SkiingCross-Country Skiing
Nordic CombinedNordic Combined
Olympic Medals
Games Participations3
First Olympic GamesLondon 1948
Year of Birth1919


Fritz Erik Elmsäter was born under the name Erik Pettersson, which he kept until 1939. He was one in the few athletes, and the first Swede, to have competed at the Summer and Winter Olympics. He set two world records in the steeplechase, in 1943 with 9:03.4 and one year later with 8:59.6, which would be his PR, and made him the first runner to better nine minutes in the steeple. From 1943-46 Elmsäter won four consecutive Swedish Championships in the steeple, placing third in 1942 and 1948. At the 1946 European Championships in Oslo, Elmsäter placed second in 9:11.0 with fellow countryman [Tore Sjöstrand] in third place. At the London Olympics the three Swedes, Sjöstrand, Elmsäter and Göte Hagström were the class of the field. Sjöstrand won the race in 9:04.6, beating Elmsäter by 3.6 seconds, with Hagström third. In 1948 he was appointed “Stor Grabb” (Big Boy) No. 124, an honorary award in Swedish sports.

Six months prior to the 1948 London Olympics, Elmsäter had already competed in the Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz. In the 18 km cross-country race he placed 19th. He took this result into the ski jumping of the Nordic combined event where he placed ninth. In 1952 he travelled to the Oslo Olympics as Swedish Champion in the Nordic combined, and served as flagbearer for Sweden at the Opening Ceremony. But after placing 56th in the cross-country he could only finish 13th. Elmsäter was also a keen football goalkeeper in the 1930s and competed in many different sports such as modern pentathlon, military relays, gymnastics, city races and others.

Erik Elmsäter was an officer in the Swedish infantry. In 1959 he left the military and took a post in the Swedish Sports Federation, while in the 1960s he worked as administration manager of the sports desk with the Swedish radio and TV network. His daughter is the well-known journalist Eva Elmsäter.

Personal Best: 3000S – 8:59.6 (1944).

Olympic Results

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