Hall of Fame Class of 1970
During the early days of his North American jumping career Art Tokle suffered unfair comparison to his brother, Torger, but later proved he was a great jumper in his own right by winning the United States National Championships in 1951 and 1953. He was also a two time Olympian.
This ski jumping great arrived in America at the age of 25 from his native Norway in 1947, making his competitive debut at Bear Mountain’s 50-meter hill and immediately recognized as class.
During the early days of his North American jumping career, Art suffered from unfair comparisons to his late brother, Torger (who had blazed a starry trail across America’s jumping scene in the early 1940’s, before being killed in action while serving with the 10th Mountain division during World War II).
Art Tokle stands out as an aggressive competitor, breaking records established by Torger and still holding a Norwegian Ski Hill record at Fox River Grove, Illinois. Art Tokle’s brilliant accomplishments made him National Champion in 1951 and 1953 and earned him a berth on the 1952 Olympic Team.
A further tribute to his technical skill and fierce spirit can be seen in the fact he again made the United States Olympic Team in 1960 at the age of 38, beating men many years his junior to the berth. His competence was never spotty through any season as he fought and won berths on the 1950, 1954 and 1958 F.I.S. American ski teams. Above all, Art Tokle was a colorful and exciting competitor during a colorful and exciting period in American ski jumping.
The tourneys in which he competed with the likes of Art Devlin and Mezzy Barber thrilled countless thousands. Like Devlin and Barber, he may have taken his jumping seriously but never himself.
In another vein Art Tokle is also part of a different outstanding trio. He, his brother, Torger, and Art Devlin made up the only three-time winners of the winged Trophy of the Brattleboro Outing Club. Further dedication to ski sport lies in the fact that Art Tokle served on the United States Ski Association’s coaching staff from 1960 to 1968. He was special jumping coach during the 1964 Olympics in Austria. In 1966 he performed the same duty for the F.I.S. squad at Oslo, Norway and 1968 saw him with the jumping team for the Olympics if France.
At one point of Tokle’s career he posted 19 straight wins at Bear Mountain. His technical skills carried him beyond the reach of competitors who had the advantage of youth. This same technical skill prevailed over age when he took up ski flying for the initial time in Norway at the age of 38. However, Art Tokle considered his finest season that which netted him 12 wins out of 13 tourneys when he was 40 years old.
During his skiing career, he married Oddfried Larsen (1948) and they raised two children (Vivian and Arthur, Jr.). Art was a highly regarded man and skier.
Arthur Tokle was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1970.
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