First Estonian Winter Olympic gold medallist dies at 76 ({{commentsTotal}})

Ants Antson, the Estonian speed skater who won gold medal at the 1964 Winter Olympics, has died at the age of 76.

Antson passed away on Saturday, after a short illness.

Trained at the Kalev Voluntary Sports Society and coached by former World and European Champion Boris Shilkov, Antson became European Allround Champion in 1964 and won the Olympic event in the 1,500 meter speed skating at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. He also set a new world record in the 3,000 meters at the same games.

Antson also participated at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, but despite skating a new personal best, he finished twelfth.

He retired shortly after the 1968 Games and worked as a sports official, first in the Soviet Estonian Committee for Physical Culture and Sports, and later with the Estonian Olympic Committee.

At the 1992 Winter Olympics he became the first flag bearer for Estonia after it regained independence from the Soviet Union.

In 2003, Antson received a lifetime achievement award in the sports category by the government.

His former colleagues and friends described Antson as a courageous, decent and friendly man, who dedicated his life to sport, even in mature age.

Editor: S. Tambur