March 20, 2005 by

Art Tokle


Categories: Sports

Arthur Emil Tokle Sr., an Olympic ski jumper and coach, died on March 3. Cause of death was not released. He was 82.

The Norwegian-born ski jumper donned his first pair of skis when he was only 3 years old. He won his first national championship as a teenager and served in the Kings Guard before immigrating to America in 1947.

A U.S. jumping champion in 1951 and 1953, Tokle competed at the 1952 Olympic Games in Oslo and placed 18th off the large hill. He carried the flag for the U.S. team at the 1958 world championships in Finland, and competed in Squaw Valley, Calif., with the 1960 Olympic team.

After retiring from competition, Tokle served as a U.S. Olympic coach for the 1964 Innsbruck and 1968 Grenoble Winter Games. At the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., Tokle was a technical director of the U.S. team.

Tokle died 60 years to the day after his brother, ski jumping champion Torger Tokle, was killed in action while serving with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Italy. Torger was inducted to the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame in 1959. Arthur earned his own spot in the Hall of Fame in 1970 and co-authored “The Complete Guide to Cross Country Skiing and Touring” with Martin Luray. He took his last trip down the slopes at 80.

Tokle is survived by Oddfrid, his wife of 56 years, his daughter Vivian Lynch and his son, longtime jumper and ski official Art Tokle Jr.

11 Responses to Art Tokle

  1. Asbjorn I. Woldmo

    I bow my head in memory of Arthur Tokle. I was born at Lokken Verk in 1936, and Arthur was the leader and the manager of my soccer team FJELL, and signed me up as a member in Bjornli (part of Lokken Verk) when I was a little kid, and Fjell did well on all levels. Later when I emigrated to Canada in 1967 I visited North Pole, New York, but missed him by two days. Back home he is remembered for his ski jumping as well, both he and Torger are heros there. God bless his memory.

  2. Max Pelt

    As a former member of the Canadian Ski Jumping Team, I was very fortunate to become good friends
    with Art on the ski jumping circuit both in
    North America and Europe.
    Art was the perfect gentleman and always
    very willing to provide any assistance/advise
    to me in reference to my ski jumping performance
    in a very professional manner.
    I was very sad to hear about Art’s moving on
    as in this life we had enjoyed a few beer’s
    together and who know’s Art, we may meet again
    and have a few more sometime in the future.
    Max Pelt

  3. Trevor

    Uncle Arthur was my great uncle and I really miss him. I always loved going to his house in New Jersey and eating jelly waffles made by Aunt Oddfrid and watching T.V with him.
    I wasn’t born when Uncle Arthur was in competitions and the Olympics. When I was young I saw a funny person who watched T.V all the time and told great stories. I’m thankful that he is in heaven now.

  4. Thor A. Larsen

    I remember Art Tokle very well as a top-rate ski jumper at Bear Mountain. I always enjoyed those ski jumps and the number of Norwegian and Norwegian-American jumpers. Recently, I have become very well acquainted with Dean Schambach, Woodstock NY, who was also a ski jumper and a good friend of Art. Dean has had many very kind words about his hero Art and Oddfild. I wish to extend Dean’s sympathy to Art’s family.
    Thor A. Larsen

  5. Bob Barthelmes

    I was saddened to read of the passing of Arthur Tokle. As a
    teenager in the 1950’s I attended many ski jumps at Bear Mt.
    I would hitchhike or walk to Bear Mt. from my home across the
    river in Peekskill. It was a glorious atmosphere there on Saturday
    and Sunday In January and February. I remember Arthur Tokle as the star competing with other great jumpers such as Art Devlin,
    Dean Schambach, and Bern Blickstad (sp). The announcer was very colorful and always told the story of Torger Tokle and his amazing never-surpassed hill record of 180 feet. The crowds were big and the results always appeared in the New York papers. That was a great time and it is sad to see the old Bear Mt. Jumping Hill in it’s present state. I also remember the trophy
    case with Torger’s awards at the inn. It was removed in the 70’s
    when they did that horrible renovation. Now that they are
    restoring the inn to it’s original style I think it would be
    appropriate to return the Torger Tokle display to it’s rightful
    place and include the awards of Arthur as well. I miss those days
    and I miss Arthur Tokle soaring over the landscape. Thank you
    to the Tokle family for making it happen.
    Bob Barthelmes

  6. tom erickson

    I just happened upon this site and was saddened to discover the news of Art`s passing. I was jumping at Bear Mountain in March of 1967 with a bunch of others in a pick up practice session on Sunday, and I believe he was there that day. I was injured on my first jump that afternoon, so I didn`t get a chance to meet and chat with him. I did have the pleasure knowing his son, Art Jr. and jumped with him many times at Bear Mountain. Art Sr. did help me indirerctly through a mutual freind, Sig Evensen, by providing me with my first pair of jumping boots,(slightly used) while I was in college. I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to the family. God bless the memory of Art Tokle.

  7. Monica Aaslok

    Arthur was my Great grandmothers brother.
    I remember him as a funny guy,who told alot of stories.He was always so funny…
    I remember when he came to Norway,he loved 17mai when they played the national song of Norway.
    Arthur was a greate man,i really miss him.
    I hope to see you again sometime;)

  8. Roger Holly

    I first met Art in Fox River Grove, Ill. He had a flat tire on his woody ford ? wagon & didn’t have a tire iron to remove the lugs. My home was a block away so I told Art I would go get a tire iron out of my dads car & be right back. When I returned I kinda helped him change his flat tire.
    (he did most of the work) but we talked. He talked about ski jumping & asked if I would be intrested in trying It, I ansewerd affirmativly & he invited me over to his home on ski hill road. The next day I had my dad drive me over to his house & we knock on the door & his wife answered the door & invited us in. (She Oddfrid was very pregnent & soon to have their 1st baby).He showed me & my dad some pictures of him ski jumping and I couldn’t wait to try it my self,but my dad said we didn’t have money to buy the skis & boots, so Art took us into his garage & found a old pair of short skis with binding on them & a old pair of boots and said I could use them. The next day I walked to the ski hill (NORGE SKI CLUB )about 3 miles from my home & found others skiing on three different hills. A hill, B hill, & C hill, the smallest. After that day I couldn’t wait to return to NORGE SKI CLUB and pratice my new sport. He introduced me to Bob Immens & I joind the Norge junior program. ( I was about 7 years old then ) I continued to pratice & quickly moved to the B hill. Over the corse of many years I jumped in many tournments all over the mid-west & was told I was the youngest skier to Ride our A hill at 10 years old. At 16 I was appointed hill captain for our Sr tournment. I owe a lot of GREAT times and experiances to meeting Art with his flat tire. Thank you Art Tokle

  9. Charles Lopez, Jr

    I was the Lutheran pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (Lake Telemark, NJ), Rockaway, NJ from 1978-86. I visited the Tokle family and recall all the skiing trophies in their home near Lake Telemark, NJ. I recall the families at Holy Trinity saying that there is a Lake Telemark in Norway. The Lake Telemark community even had a ski jump back in the day. I remember his wife Oddfrid and children Art, Jr, and Vivian. God bless the Tokle family.

    Peace & Joy, Pastor Charley Lopez, Jr

  10. Richard (Duke) Schneider

    Art Tokle was a true gentleman well respected by all he met. I was fortunate to have been a skiing friend of Art’s and a ski jumper during the wonderful Tolke, Devlin, Sherwood, Dion and Kotlarek era. Art invited me to accompany him to a couple of mid-west tournaments and the lessons learned from Art during those journies remain with me today. I always was most proud to have won the Torger Tolke jumping tournaments as a Class C, Class B and Class A jumper and thus always felt a bond with the Tolke empire. Today I’m sure his friends miss his humor, personality, advice and penchant for doing what was right, even if that meant packing the landing hill!

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