Foto: Bildbyrån
World record
17 July 1942

1 500 m


Gunder Hägg

Gunder Hägg was born in Jämtland in 1918. He was the son of a lumberjack, and he himself worked as a farmhand and lumberjack. He had a natural talent for running that would come to amaze the world during the troubled war time of the 1940s. In Sweden, he started a running craze that swept the whole nation. He was considered a light in the dark during World War II. In the summer of 1942, Hägg broke ten world records in 80 days! The distances varied from 1,500 to 5,000 meters.

One of these world records took place at the Stockholm Stadium on the 17th of July 1942. The distance was 1,500 meters. Despite persistent rain and a though track, the Jämtlandic star seemed to fly through the air in a graceful style that made Stockholm’s stadium reach boiling point. When he crossed the finish line, the clock stopped at 3:45.8 – an improvement of a full two seconds. Unfortunately, Gunder Hägg was at the top of his career during World War II and therefore didn’t get the opportunity to participate in the Olympics. Still, he will always be remembered as the runner who broke a total of 16 world records between 1941 and 1945, and who ran more beautifully than anyone else.

Other records

Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe

The American Jim Thorpe is one of the greatest Olympians of all time. At the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, he won both the athletics pentathlon and the decathlon by unprecedented margins. 

Erik Lemming

Eric Lemming

Expectations of Eric Lemming were high at the 1912 Olympic Games and he did not disappoint, taking the gold medal in the javelin with a throw of 60.64 metres.

Brandkårens IK

On the 15th of August 1941, Stockholm Stadium saw an unusual world record be broken when the Fire Brigade’s Sports Club ran a 4 × mile relay at at time of 17:16.2.

Henry Jonsson

On the 14th of August 1940, Henry Kälarne, fireman and athlete, set a new world record in 3,000 metres at Stockholm Stadium.

Patrik Sjöberg sätter nytt världsrekord i höjdhopp

Patrik Sjöberg

Patrik Sjöberg will be forever associated with the Stockholm Stadium and his world record of 2.42.

Rolling Stones på Stadion i Stockholm

The Rolling Stones

When the British stars performed at the Stockholm Stadium on the 3rd of June 1995, the 35,200 fans present cheered everything from Satisfaction to Start Me Up.