Ivar Ballangrud was one of the best speed skaters in the world for a period of 15 years, from 1924 to 1939. Coming from the small place Lunner on Hadeland, he was a member of the famous "Hadeland Trio", consisting of himself, Michael Staksrud and Hans Engnestangen. He represented the club Trondhjems Skøiteklub.
Ballangrud was four times World Allround Champion, four times European Allround Champion, five times Norwegian Allround Champion, and four times Olympic Champion. He won three Olympic titles at the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen: 500 m (quite surprisingly), 5000 m, and 10,000 m. On the 1500 m during those Winter Olympics, he won silver – his teammate Charles Mathiesen being the only one to keep him from winning gold in all four speed skating events. Ballangrud had won his first Olympic gold 8 years earlier on the 5000 m at the 1928 Winter Olympics. In addition, he won a bronze medal (1500 m) in 1928 and a silver medal (10,000 m) at the 1932 Winter Olympics. He would have been the favourite for winning more Olympic gold in 1932 if the races had been held in the normal European way, not the American packstyle way where all competitors are on the ice at the same time.
He made his international debut as a 19-year-old rising star in 1924, although it was too late to compete in the Winter Olympics that year. However, he was paired with Julius Skutnabb – who had just become the Olympic 10,000 m Champion – in his first World Championships in Helsinki in 1924, and beat the champion on his homeground. In 1930, he dethroned Oscar Mathisen from the top of the Adelskalender and he would remain the number one on the Adelskalender for seven years.
In addition to his five official world records, Ballangrud skated 16:46.4 in a 10,000 m packstyle test race before the Olympic Games in 1932. This time was 31 seconds below the then-current world record and it would stand unbeaten as the fastest 10,000 m time for twenty years, until Hjalmar Andersen set his famous world record of 16:32.6.
Ballangrud was born as Ivar Eriksen. His mother changed his last name when she remarried following her husband's death. In retirement Ballangrud worked at his sporting good store in Drammen, and later in Trondheim. A statue in his honor was raised in his native Jevnaker.
Over the course of his career, Ballangrud skated five world records:
To put these personal records in perspective, the Notes column lists the official world records on the dates that Ballangrud skated his personal records.
Note that Ballangrud's personal record on the 1500 m was not a world record because Hans Engnestangen skated 2:13.8 at the same tournament.
Ballangrud has an Adelskalender score of 188.806 points. He was number one on the Adelskalender for a total of 3,675 days, divided over two periods between 1930 and 1942.
An overview of medals won by Ballangrud at important championships he participated in, listing the years in which he won each:
Source: SpeedSkatingStats.com & Skoyteforbundet.no