• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
  • Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, Jan 26-Feb 5,1956

    Clarence Servold
    Irvin Servold
    Jacques Charland

    Three men carried Canada’s nordic hopes to the VIIth Olympic Winter Games and one came away with a cross country standard that remains for athletes to best in 1988.

    To prepare for the relatively high altitude, brothers Clarence and Irvin Servold of Camrose, Alberta and Jacques Charland of Trois Rivieres, trained in Switzerland prior to racing in Italy. In the debut of the Olympic 30 km event, lone Canuck Clarence, managed 37th among 54 athletes from 18 nations as Finland’s Veikko Hakullen took the gold. Along again in the 15 km (officially shortened from 18 km in 1956) he stunned the opposition by finished 19th, a mere three minutes and 55 seconds behind Norway’s Hallgeir Brendon who won his second straight sprint gold from a field of 63. On his own in the 50 km, Servold at 30 km was 11th and ahead of the entire Norwegian team before developing leg cramps and finishing a strong 22nd among 33 skiers.

    Canada did not enter the relay won for the first time by the Soviets becoming an emerging power in nordic skiing. Finland won the newly introduced 3 x 5 km women’s relay while Soviet Lyubov Kozyreva captured the 10 km. No North Americans competed.