Gillis Grafström (June 7, 1893 – April 14, 1938) was a Swedish figure skater. He was born in Stockholm, Sweden.


Grafström won the Olympic gold medal three times (1920, 1924, and 1928) and the silver medal at the 1932 Winter Olympics (behind Karl Schäfer).

At his first Olympics in Antwerp one of his skates broke and he had to go to town to buy a new pair. Unfortunately only curly-toed skates were available. Despite this, he was still able to win.

At his last Olympics in 1932 in Lake Placid, he collided with a photographer on the ice and still managed to place second.

Grafström was one of the best skaters ever in compulsory figures. He also invented the Grafström-pirouette (on the back outside edge of the blade) and the flying sit spin. He skated very elegantly and was famous for his interpretation of music.

Grafström coached Sonja Henie.

From 1925 to his death he lived in Potsdam, Germany. He trained on the Bornstedter See (Bornstedt Lake) when it was frozen or in Berlin on the artificial ice rink at the Volkspark Friedrichshain.

Grafström studied architecture at the Technical University of Berlin (Technische Hochschule Berlin) and worked later as an Architect.

Grafström collected graphics, paintings and sculptures about skating. This collection was continued by his wife Cecilie Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1898-1995). Today this collection belongs to the World Figure Skating Museum in Colorado Springs in the United States. Grafström was also a writer and an etcher.

Grafström died in 1938 in Potsdam, Germany at the age of 44 due to blood poisoning.

Today there is a street in Potsdam named after him. In 1976 he was admitted to the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Additionally, Grafström won the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal in 1929 (shared with Sven Utterström).

Results Edit

Olympic Games Edit

  • 1920 - 1st place
  • 1924 - 1st place
  • 1928 - 1st place
  • 1932 – 2nd place

World Championships Edit

  • 1914 – 7th place
  • 1922 - 1st place
  • 1924 - 1st place
  • 1929 - 1st place

See also Edit

References Edit

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