Ivar Martinsen started his skating career as an 11-year old kid in a local club in Løten, east of Hamar. In 1938, he became a member of Hamar IL and progressed quickly, placing fourth at the Norwegian Junior Championships in Tønsberg, after winning the 1,500 metres. He lost five seasons due to World War II, but come back strongly in 1946, winning the national junior championship at the age of 25. At that time Norwegian skaters had to be top-ranked in national junior competitions to be promoted to the senior class. In 1947 he competed in the national senior championships for the first time, placing seventh, and he competed in the championships for eight consecutive years, 1947-54, placing fourth on four occasions.
Martinsen had more luck in his two international championship appearances on his home ground at Hamar Stadion. At the 1952 World Championships he placed third, and the next year he repeated that placing at the European Championships. In 1948, also at Hamar Stadion, he placed fifth in the 1,500 metres at the European Championships and earned a place on the Norwegian Olympic team for St. Moritz, where he placed 10th at 1,500 m.
In 1952, in the famous match of Norway against the rest of the world, he placed second in the 1,500 m race, only 0.3 seconds behind the winner, Dutch skater Wim van der Voort – the Olympic silver medalist at the distance eight days later. Martinsen skated an all-time PB of 2:19.2 and earned a place for a second time on the Norwegian Olympic team, placing eighth at the distance in the Oslo Games. Hamar Stadion was definitely his favorite skating rink.
Martinsen skated until the 1956 season, but soon afterwards was elected to central positions in The Norwegian Skating Association, serving as a board member from 1961 to 1969 (lastly as Vice-President), and holding committee positions in the association until 1984. In 1981 he was awarded the Golden Token, the highest award of the Norwegian Skating Association. He was a police officer by profession, and at the time of writing (October 2017), remains the oldest living Norwegian Olympian, at close to 97 years of age.
Personal Bests: 500 – 43.9 (1947); 1500 – 2:19.2 (1952); 5000 – 8:23.1 (1951); 10000 – 17:34.1 (1952).
Athlete Olympic Results Content
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