He won the 50 km event at the 1928 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz by 13 minutes, 27 seconds over fellow Swede Gustaf Jonsson. Hedlund's margin of victory is unequaled in Olympic history. In the 18 kilometre event he finished sixth. While competing, he wore a white outfit and red cap. In honor of this 1928 50 km victory, Swedish Nordic skiers wore white uniforms and red caps at every Winter Olympics for the next 48 years.