|Men’s speed skating|
|Competitor for Sweden|
|Gold||1984 Sarajevo||5000 m|
|Gold||1988 Calgary||5000 m|
|Gold||1988 Calgary||10000 m|
|Silver||1984 Sarajevo||10000 m|
At Grenoble, France, in 1979, he won the World Junior Championships title, which suggested that a glorious future could be ahead of him. One year later, at the European Championships of seniors, he finished 4th, a remarkable feat for a 20 year old. One month after that, he participated in the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York, with a 7th place on the 1500 m as his best performance. In that same month, he defended his Junior World title with ease.
1982 to Sarajevo leadup
In 1982, he became allround European Champion in Oslo, where he set the 10000 m world record. This has turned out to be the last outdoor World record for men on a lowland track so far. Because of this outstanding performance, he got awarded the Oscar Mathisen Award, an award for the best skating performance in the past season. One year later, on the same Norwegian ice, he won silver at the World Allround Championships, finishing second behind Rolf Falk-Larssen. Gustafson had the best allround point-sum (samalog), but Falk-Larssen won by the rule that a skater winning three distances, and merely having finished the fourth, is automatically pronounced the champion. This caused a renewed debate about the three-distance-wins rule which was subsequently abolished; from 1984 onwards, the champion was to be the skater with the best allround point-sum. Thus, Gustafson would have been world champion in 1983 had the Lex Gustafson been in force then.
Sarajevo to Calgary leadup
One year later, his focus was not on the allround championships, but on the 1984 Winter Olympics at Sarajevo. He won Olympic gold on the 5,000 m, ahead of Soviet skater Igor Malkov by a mere two hundredths of a second. In the 10000 m, he once more found himself again in a close finish with Malkov, this time losing the battle by five hundredths of a second. After these Olympics, Gustafson struggled through knee surgery, meningitis, and the death of his father.
But in the Olympic year 1988, he had regained his form and strength. In January, he announced his Olympic ambitions by winning the European Allround Championships in The Hague, winning all four distances, an achievement no one else has been able to reach in post-war speedskating. With his nemesis Malkov retired, Gustafson knew he had to focus on outpacing long-distance skaters like Dutchmen Leo Visser and Gerard Kemkers and Austrian skater Michael Hadschieff. Gustafson managed to do so first in the 5000 m in a grand way. He trailed Leo Visser's pace by eight hundredths of a second with only 400 m to go. However, he skated an exceptional final lap to win by one third of a second. Four days later, he won Olympic Gold again, this time in the 10000 m, setting an impressive world record time of 13:48.20. This record lasted for three years, when it was broken by Johann Olav Koss. As a result, Gustafson received the Oscar Mathisen Award again for his performances in 1988. He also earned the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal as well.
Life after the Winter Olympics
After the 1988 Winter Olympics, Gustafson remained a speedskater for four more years. His only notable achievement after Calgary was finishing second behind Bart Veldkamp in the 1990 European Allround Championships.
Except for the Allround World Championship, Tomas Gustafson achieved everything he ever aimed for in speedskating: three Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, and setting the 10,000 m world record twice.
Over the course of his career, Gustafson skated two world records:
|10,000 m||14.23,59||January 31, 1982||Oslo|
|10,000 m||13.48,20||February 21, 1988||Calgary|
|500 m||38.10||19 January 1990||Heerenveen|
|1000 m||1:18.48||15 March 1981||Savalen|
|1500 m||1:53.22||8 December 1990||Calgary|
|3000 m||4:03.17||26 December 1987||Calgary|
|5000 m||6:44.51||4 December 1987||Inzell|
|10000 m||13:48.20||21 February 1988||Calgary|
|Big combination||160.347||21 January 1990||Heerenveen|
Gustafson has an Adelskalender score of 157.701 points. In March 1988 he put himself on third place of the ranking, behind Eric Flaim and Michael Hadschieff. After improving his personal best time in the 1500 metres distance in December 1990, he reached the second place. Gustafson was ranked among the top 3 for 1468 days.
- "Tomas Gustafson". SpeedSkatingStats.com. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- Tomas Gustafson at SpeedSkatingStats.com
- Official website of the Olympic Movement
- Tomas Gustafson (1994) Mål, vilja och seger Sportförlaget ISBN 91-88540-42-1 (Swedish)
|Oscar Mathisen Award
|Oscar Mathisen Award
Swedish men's ice hockey team
|Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal
Sweden national table tennis team