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Johann Olav Koss

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Title: Johann Olav Koss  
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Subject: Eric Heiden, Hjalmar Andersen, Speed skating at the 1994 Winter Olympics, Norway at the 1994 Winter Olympics, Jochem Uytdehaage
Collection: 1968 Births, Former World Record Holders in Speed Skating, International Olympic Committee Members, Living People, Medalists at the 1992 Winter Olympics, Medalists at the 1994 Winter Olympics, Members of the Order of Canada, Norwegian Physicians, Norwegian Speed Skaters, Olympic Gold Medalists for Norway, Olympic Medalists in Speed Skating, Olympic Silver Medalists for Norway, Olympic Speed Skaters of Norway, People from Drammen, People from Toronto, Speed Skaters at the 1992 Winter Olympics, Speed Skaters at the 1994 Winter Olympics, University of Queensland Alumni, University of Toronto Alumni
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Johann Olav Koss

Johann Olav Koss
Personal information
Born (1968-10-29) 29 October 1968
Drammen, Norway
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 12 in)
Country Norway
Sport Speed skating

Johann Olav Koss, CM (born 29 October 1968) is a former speed skater from Norway, and current assistant coach of Norway's speed skating team. Koss is currently ranked as number 16 on the all time speed skating world cup medal table.[1] Johann Olav Koss resides in Toronto, Canada.


  • Biography 1
  • Medals 2
  • Records 3
    • World records 3.1
    • Personal records 3.2
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Other sources 6
  • External links 7


Johann Olav Koss was born in Drammen, Buskerud County, Norway. Johann Olav Koss became the Norwegian Junior Champion in 1987, but he could not compete with the world top skaters in the 1986 and 1987 World Junior Championships. In 1988, he debuted with the seniors at the World Championships in Alma-Ata, but failed to qualify for the final distance. The following year, he finished eighth in the same tournament (after a fifteenth place in the European Allround Championships), placing second on the 1,500 m. His breakthrough came in 1990, winning the World Allround Championships in Innsbruck, Austria. The following four years, he would win two more world titles (1991 and 1994), while finishing second in 1993 and third in 1992. He won the European Allround Championships in 1991 and finished second in the next three editions. Koss had a total of twenty-three World Cup wins, while winning four overall World Cup titles (the 1,500 m in 1990 and 1991, and the combined 5,000/10,000 m in 1991 and 1994).

Koss made his Olympic debut at the 1992 Winter Olympics, finishing seventh on the 5,000 m, five days after undergoing surgery because of an inflamed pancreas. He would recover to win gold on the 1,500 m (by only 0.04 seconds over his countryman Ådne Søndrål) and silver on the 10,000 m (behind Dutch skater Bart Veldkamp ).

In 1994, the final year of his speed skating career, Koss also gained fame outside the speed skating world by winning three gold medals at the 1994 Winter Olympics in his native Norway, winning all races in new world records, two of which would remain unbeaten until the clap skate era. For his performance, he was named Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year in 1994, together with Bonnie Blair. In addition, he received the Oscar Mathisen Award three times: in 1990, 1991, and 1994.

After his speed skating career, Koss trained as a Right To Play, which uses sport and play as a tool for the development of children and youth in the most disadvantaged areas of the world. From his adopted home in Toronto, Canada, Koss directs seven regional Right To Play offices in Europe and North America with 64 paid staff and 90 volunteers.[3]

He married his second wife, Jennifer Lee, in New York on 23 May 2009. Lee's friend Chelsea Clinton was one of the bridesmaids.[4] Lee, 37, is a Harvard College, Oxford University and Harvard Business School graduate, and a former cellist who studied at The Juilliard School. She is the granddaughter of Kim Chung Yul,[5] the former Prime Minister of South Korea and Chief of the Korean Armed Forces during the Korean War. She is the Co-Founder of a retail business called BRIKA which sells products from under-the-radar artisans and makers.[6] She is a former management consultant and most recently a private equity investment professional at Ontario Teachers' Private Capital in Toronto. They have three children together, Aksel, Annabelle and Andreas.

In November 2009, after American Peter Mueller was stripped of his coaching role with Norway for an inappropriate comment to a female team member, Koss was appointed head coach, despite no previous coaching experience. Association sporting director Oystein Haugen told Reuters that Koss has been a revelation despite no previous coaching experience.[7]

Koss completed his Executive MBA at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management in the University of Toronto in Canada. He has Honorary Doctor of Laws Degrees from Canadian universities - Brock University and University of Calgary. On 1 July 2015, Koss was made an honorary Member of the Order of Canada.[8]


An overview of medals won by Koss at important championships he participated in, listing the years in which he won each:

Championships Gold medal Silver medal Bronze medal
Winter Olympics 1992 (1,500 m)
1994 (1,500 m)
1994 (5,000 m)
1994 (10,000 m)
1992 (10,000 m)
World Allround 1990
1993 1992
World Cup 1990 (1,500 m)
1991 (1,500 m)
1991 (5,000 m / 10,000 m)
1994 (5,000 m / 10,000 m)
1992 (1,500 m)
1992 (5,000 m / 10,000 m)
1993 (5,000 m / 10,000 m)
1990 (5,000 m / 10,000 m)
European Allround 1991 1992
Norwegian Allround 1991
Norwegian Single Distance 1989 (1,500 m)
1989 (5,000 m)
1990 (1,500 m)
1990 (5,000 m)
1990 (10,000 m)
1991 (1,500 m)
1991 (5,000 m)
1991 (10,000 m)
1993 (1,000 m)
1993 (5,000 m)
1994 (1,500 m)
1989 (1,000 m)
1990 (1,000 m)
1992 (1,000 m)
1992 (5,000 m)
1988 (10,000 m)
1991 (1,000 m)
1992 (1,500 m)
1994 (5,000 m)
Norwegian Marathon 1988


World records

Over the course of his career, Koss skated ten world records:

Event Time Date Venue
3000 m 3.57,52 13 March 1990 Heerenveen
5000 m 6.41,73 9 February 1991 Heerenveen
10,000 m 13.43,54 10 February 1991 Heerenveen
Big combination 157.396 10 February 1991 Heerenveen
5000 m 6.38,77 22 January 1993 Heerenveen
5000 m 6.36,57 13 March 1993 Heerenveen
5000 m 6.35,53 4 December 1993 Hamar
5000 m 6.34,96 13 February 1994 Hamar
1500 m 1.51,29 16 February 1994 Hamar
10,000 m 13.30,55 20 February 1994 Hamar


Personal records

To put these personal records in perspective, the WR column lists the official world records on the dates that Koss skated his personal records.

Event Result Date Venue WR
500 m 37.98 7 January 1994 Hamar 35.92
1,000 m 1:14.9  10 January 1993 Hamar 1:12.58
1,500 m 1:51.29 16 February 1994 Hamar 1:51.60
3,000 m 3:57.52 13 March 1990 Heerenveen 3:59.27
5,000 m 6:34.96 13 February 1994 Hamar 6:35.53
10,000 m 13:30.55 20 February 1994 Hamar 13:43.54
Big combination 157.257 9 January 1994 Hamar 156.882


Koss was number one on the Adelskalender, the all-time allround speed skating ranking, for a total of 1,998 days, divided over three periods between 1992 and 1997. He has an Adelskalender score of 155.099 points.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Olympians at UQ
  3. ^ Issue 32Ode MagazineVisscher, Marco. "A Man With Balls"
  4. ^ 24. mai, 2009Dagbladet"-Verdens beste brud"
  5. ^ [4]
  6. ^ [5]
  7. ^ [6]
  8. ^ Governal General site announcing Koss' C.M.
  9. ^ "Johann Olav Koss". Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Johann Olav Koss". Retrieved 29 August 2012. 

Other sources

  • Eng, Trond. All Time International Championships, Complete Results: 1889 - 2002. Askim, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 2002.
  • Eng, Trond; Gjerde, Arild and Teigen, Magne. Norsk Skøytestatistikk Gjennom Tidene, Menn/Kvinner, 1999 (6. utgave). Askim/Skedsmokorset/Veggli, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 1999.
  • Eng, Trond; Gjerde, Arild; Teigen, Magne and Teigen, Thorleiv. Norsk Skøytestatistikk Gjennom Tidene, Menn/Kvinner, 2004 (7. utgave). Askim/Skedsmokorset/Veggli/Hokksund, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 2004.
  • Eng, Trond and Teigen, Magne. Komplette Resultater fra offisielle Norske Mesterskap på skøyter, 1894 - 2005. Askim/Veggli, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 2005.
  • Teigen, Magne. Komplette Resultater Norske Mesterskap På Skøyter, 1887 - 1989: Menn/Kvinner, Senior/Junior. Veggli, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 1989.
  • Teigen, Magne. Komplette Resultater Internasjonale Mesterskap 1889 - 1989: Menn/Kvinner, Senior/Junior, allround/sprint. Veggli, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 1989.

External links

  • Johann Olav Koss at
  • Personal records from Jakub Majerski's Speedskating Database
  • Evert Stenlund's Adelskalender pages
  • Page honouring Johann Koss on the website of the 2008 Summer Olympics
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Leo Visser
Oscar Mathisen Award
Succeeded by
Bonnie Blair
Preceded by
Falko Zandstra
Oscar Mathisen Award
Succeeded by
Gunda Niemann
Preceded by
Miguel Indurain
United Press International
Athlete of the Year

Succeeded by
Jonathan Edwards
Preceded by
Atle Skårdal
Norwegian Sportsperson of the Year
Succeeded by
Vegard Ulvang
Preceded by
Norway national football team
Norwegian Sportsperson of the Year
Succeeded by
Bjørn Dæhlie
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