Hjalmar Andersen of Norway competed at Oslo in 1952.
Hjalmar Andersen of Norway competed at Oslo in 1952.
AFP/Getty Images

NEW YORK — Hjalmar Andersen, a Norwegian speedskater who broke world records in the early 1950s and won three gold medals at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, died Wednesday in Oslo. He was 90.

He had fallen Monday at his home in Tonsberg.

His Olympic career began inauspiciously in the 1948 Games in St. Moritz. He competed only in the 10,000-meter race and did not finish.

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He bounced back with a string of victories, however.

He won the World All-Around Speed-Skating Championships from 1950 through 1952 and set world records.

He was the first skater to complete a 10,000-meter race in less than 17 minutes and improved to 16 minutes 32.6 seconds days before the start of the 1952 Olympic Games.

At the Olympics, 24,000 fans cheered as he won the 5,000-meter race in 8:10.6, 11 seconds ahead of the Netherlands’ Kees Broekman and an Olympic record. Besides the 5,000, he won gold in the 1,500- and 10,000-meter races.

Mr. Andersen retired after the Olympics, but returned to skating in 1954, winning the Norwegian championships for the fourth time and the 5,000- and 10,000-meter races at the European Championships. He came in sixth in the 10,000-meter race at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and then retired from racing for good.

Three Norwegian cities have statues of Mr. Andersen, and he was honored on a postage stamp in 1990.