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Birger Ruud

Hall of Fame Class of 1970

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Birger Ruud had one of the most impressive series of ski victories ever seen in organized skiing. He was a three-time Olympian and medalist, winning two golds.

Birger Ruud was one of the famous Ruud brothers who won the fancy of the American ski public and press just prior to World War II. The American Ski Annual of 1938-39, in a burst of extreme enthusiasm, proclaimed that of all the foreign skiers who participated in tournaments during the 1937 and 1938 seasons, Birger and Sigmund Ruud with no doubt deserved credit for having done more toward developing, promoting and stimulating the American people to be ski minded than any other two skiers in the world. Perhaps exaggerated and over stated, it does not alter the fact that the Ruud brothers were top skiers, deserving of at least part of the accolade.

Birger Ruud was born on August 23, 1911, one of three skiing Ruud brothers. He, along with his brothers, Asbjorn and Sigmund, were world famous.

Birger’s record is nothing short of amazing:

• Three time World Champion (1931, 1935 and 1937)
• Set world length record in ski jumping (76.5 meters in Odnesbakken, Norway in 1931)
• Olympic Gold Medalist – ski jumping – Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, N.Y. in 1932
• Set world length record in ski jumping (92 meters in Planica, North-Western Slovenia in 1934)
• Olympic Gold medalist – Downhill and Special Ski Jumping Events – Winter Olympics at Garmisch Partenkirchen in 1936
• Holmenkollen Medal in 1937
• Won Finnish Lathispeleen competition, similar to Holmenkollen, in 1939
• Norwegian Championships in 1937, 1939, 1940 and 1947
• Won a silver medal in 1948 (placing behind Hugsted, another Norwegian, while coaching the Norwegian Olympic Team and serving as a last minute substitute in the ski jumping event and amazing the world).

Birger and his brother, Sigmund, traveled in the United States and jumped in all major jumping meets while in the country. They dominated ski jumping world-wide in 1937 and 1938, winning or placing second in over eighty percent of the meets in which they participated.

Birger planned to hoist the Norwegian flag at the 1994 Olympic Games; however, illness forced him to watch the games from his home.

Birger Ruud was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame along with his brother, Sigmund, in 1970.

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