Ole Ellefsæter grew up in Ringsaker, a municipality neighboring the town of Hamar. In 1958, at the age of 19 he was Norwegian junior champion in 10 km cross country. He was Norwegian senior champion three times, 15 km in 1964 and 50 km in 1965 and 1967. His international breakthrough as a cross country skier came at the 1964 Olympic Winter Games, placing 8th in the 50 km race. In the 1966 World Championships in Oslo he was a member of the gold medal winning relay team, won a silver medal in 15 km and placed fourth in the 50 km race. In 1967 he had a great season as a 50 km skier, winning both the Norwegian Championships and the big international competitions in Holmenkollen and Lahti. His two gold medals in the 1968 Olympics were therefore unsurprising. In 1971 he was the first Norwegian skier to win the famous Vasaloppet in Sweden, being persuaded to compete by his Swedish friend Bjarne Andersson, who was second in the race. He finished his Olympic career by placing 10th in 50 km at the 1972 Winter Olympics, aged 33.
Ellefsæter was also an excellent track athlete, winning six Norwegian championships in the 3000 m steeplechase in a row from 1960-65. In 1962, he almost created a sensation in a national dual match against Yugoslavia at Bislett Stadium in Oslo, winning the 3000 m steeplechase in 8:43.8, only 1.4 seconds behind Olympic bronze medalist Ernst Larsen’s Norwegian record and only 13 seconds behind the world record. He was selected for the 1962 European Athletic Championships, but was unable to qualify for the final.
Ole Ellefsæter also had success as a singer. His single “Huldreslåtten” from 1966 became a national hit and sold over 25,000 copies. In the summer of 1968 he had another hit with “Alle kluter til”, the text focusing on the recent Norwegian Olympic success in Grenoble. He published two LP-records, “Viser og gamle takter” (1967) and “I godt lag” (1969), lyrics mostly written by his neighbor, the author Guttorm P. Haugen (1911-).
Ole Ellefsæter worked several years as a lumberjack, and later studied to be a forestry technician. He got his nickname “Uteligger” (Homeless) from his skiing teammates after a long training session in the forests around his home. He was taken by surprise by the darkness, and was forced to stay the night in the forest with no shelter. For his accomplishments in cross-country skiing and athletics, Ellefsæter received the Egebergs Ærespris in 1965. In 1967 he was awarded The Holmenkollen Medal. A statue of him is raised in Brumunddal, the center of his home municipality of Ringsaker.
Athlete Olympic Results Content
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