Tomas Gustafson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the speed skater. For other uses, see Tomas Gustafson (disambiguation).
Olympic medalist
Center
Tomas Gustafson
Medal record
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

Sven Tomas Gustafson (born 28 December 1959) is a retired speed skater, and one of the most successful distance skaters of the 1980s. He was born in Katrineholm, Sweden.

Early career[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Calgary glory[edit]

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[edit]

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.

At the 1992 Winter Olympics at Albertville, he only participated in the 5000 m, finishing 13th. This was Gustafson's last international race.

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.

At the 1998 Winter Olympics, his wife, Elisabet Gustafson, won a bronze medal in curling.

Records[edit]

World records[edit]

Over the course of his career, Gustafson skated two world records:

Discipline Time Date Location
10,000 m 14.23,59 January 31, 1982 Norway Oslo
10,000 m 13.48,20 February 21, 1988 Canada Calgary

Source: SpeedSkatingStats.com[1]

Personal records[edit]

Distance Time Date Location
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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tomas Gustafson". SpeedSkatingStats.com. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
Awards
Preceded by
Norway Amund Sjøbrend
Oscar Mathisen Award
1982
Succeeded by
Norway Rolf Falk-Larssen
Preceded by
Soviet Union Nikolay Gulyayev
Oscar Mathisen Award
1988
Succeeded by
Netherlands Leo Visser
Preceded by
Swedish men's ice hockey team
and
Marie-Helene Westin
Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal
1988
Succeeded by
Sweden national table tennis team