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According to the Minneapolis Tribune, speed skater Kenneth Bartholomew "stands apart from all others, past or present, as a champion in the rugged and grueling American style of racing."

Bartholomew started skating at the age of 9 at Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis. Over the next 30 years, Bartholomew was one of the reasons Powderhorn Park routinely drew big crowds and important national skating events.

Between 1939 and 1960, Bartholomew won the U.S. National Outdoor Championships 14 times — in 1939, 1941, 1942, 1947, 1950-57, 1959, and 1960 — despite missing four years of competition while he was in military service. He also won the North American Outdoor Championship three times — 1941, 1942, and 1956.

Bartholomew was one of four skaters from the Twin Cities on the nine-man U.S. Olympic men's speedskating team that competed in the 1948 Winter Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Bartholomew, Twin Citian Bobby Fitzgerald and Norway's Thomas Bybert shared second place and won silver medals in the 500-meter race.

Bartholomew, who has won more national speed skating championships than any other American, continued to enjoy success after the sport even after being elected to the National Speedskating Hall of Fame in 1968. In 1974, at the age of 54, he won four gold medals (200, 500, 1,000 and 1,500 meters) at the Senior Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.

Bartholomew was still dominating senior events and age-group racing as he skated into his 70s.


Class: 1959.

Sport: Speed skating.