Speed Skating Hall of Fame

Jonny Nilsson

Born: February 9, 1943 - Göteborg (SWE)

Jonny Nilsson, from Bofors, made his international debut at 19 years old in 1962. In the World Championships in Moscow he placed 2nd behind compatriot Ivar Nilsson on 5000 m, and he won 10000 m in 16.29,4 - 15 seconds ahead of Ivar Nilsson. But he had started the championships skating 47,7 on 500 m, giving him a 45th place, so he was no better than 10th in the overall combination.

The following year he had improved, and he became World Champion when he very surprisingly beat the Norwegian favorites in Karuizawa, after setting a new World Record on 5000 m, 10000 m and the overall combination.

In 1964 he was one the favorites for the Olympic Games in Innsbruck. He only placed 6th on 5000 m, when the Norwegians dominated the podium, but he got his revenge on 10000 m, when he was Olympic champion, 16 seconds ahead of Fred Anton Maier. But the ice preparations made the ice conditions worse, which didn't allow Maier and Knut Johannessen to compete under the same conditions.

In 1965 he was once again fighting for the World title, but now the competition was too strong, and even with a 5000 m World Record and a 10000 m victory he was placed outside of the podium. The 1966 European Championships earned him his last distance victory, making it a total of 8 distance victories in international tournaments. In 1968 he was not in shape to compete for Olympic medals. He placed 6th on 10000 m beaten by two of his teammates - Olympic champion Johnny Höglin and bronze medallist Örjan Sandler. After this season he quit speed skating, at the age of 25.

His 10000 m World Record race in Karuizawa 1963 was very impressive. He lowered the World Record by 13 seconds, even if it was snowing heavily during the race. His overall combination World Record in the same event was an improvement by more than 2 point, making the total improvement of the record since the start of the season more than 6 points.

He was 4 times Swedish champion (1964-1967), received the Oscar Mathisen Award 1962 and stayed on the top of the Adelskalender from 24 February 1963 until 19 January 1964, for a total of 329 days.

Bjarte Hetland, December 1, 2013

Career summary


Podia at championships

yearpositionchampionshipplace
19631 World Championship AllroundKaruizawaJPN
19641 Olympic Winter Games 10,000 metersInnsbruckAUT
19663 World Championship AllroundGöteborgSWE

World Records

#disciplinerecorddateplace
15000 meters7:34.3Feb 23, 1963KaruizawaJPN
210,000 meters15:33.0Feb 24, 1963KaruizawaJPN
3Big combination178.447Feb 23/24, 1963KaruizawaJPN
43000 meters4:27.6Mar 23, 1963TolgaNOR
55000 meters7:33.2Feb 13, 1965OsloNOR

Personal Bests

distancetimedateplace
500m0:42.2Feb 3, 1966DavosSUI
1000m1:33.1Jan 19, 1969GöteborgSWE
1500m2:08.2Feb 2, 1966DavosSUI
3000m4:27.6Mar 23, 1963TolgaNOR
5000m7:32.9Feb 15, 1968GrenobleFRA
10,000m15:33.0Feb 24, 1963KaruizawaJPN