Arne Halse

1887-1975
In the history of Trondheim Arne Halse is most often overshadowed by his father. Dyre Halse (1854-1934) was a coke and coal fuel magnate, whose place in the history books was cemented by his donation in 1921 of the Olav Tryggvason monument, standing high on his plinth in the middle of Trondheim’s market square. His son's reputation is connected to an illustrious career in sports: Of Norway's total of 18 track and field medals in the Olympic Games (up to 2004) Arne won two.
The family came to Trondheim from Nord-Møre around 1900. Initially they lived in Møllenberg, but as the father (originally a ship's captain) did well in business, they moved to the Solhaug property in Bakkaunet. Arne showed his uncommonly great talent for sports early. While he was a very versatile athlete, he was first noticed for his throwing. He started as a member of the "Trygg" sports club in Møllenberg, frequently training in the field at Museumsplass. At the record-breaking age of 17 he won the Norwegian javelin championship. While still a teenager he participated in the "extra Olympic games" in Athens, where he won a sixth place in freestyle javelin (slinging the javelin, as opposed to throwing it). The "Brage" sports club was founded in 1907, and it was while a member of this club that Arne Halse reached the peak of his sports career. During the Olympic Games in London in 1908, he first won the bronze in freestyle javelin, and two days later won the silver medal in the "regular" javelin.
In 1908-09 Arne Halse lived in Kristiania [now Oslo], while studying mercantile subjects. From 1905 to 1910 he was the best in Norway in javelin and shotput. Back then, it was common to combine the results of throwing with both hands, and Halse for some time enjoyed the world record in this discipline. He also competed in the Olympic Games in 1912, winning a fifth place in javelin (combined result of throwing with the right and the left hand) as his best achievement.
One would think that a throwing athlete would still have his best years ahead of him at the age of 25. But from then on he had a family to take care of, so he joined the family business, where he became the general manager in 1916. In addition to the coke and coal business (Halse's huge crane at the Rosenborg dock was long a landmark in Trondheim), the firm operated a large fleet of tugs and barges.
Arne Halse never forgot his javelin throwing connections. The story goes that Egil Danielsen (after he won the Olympic Games championship in 1956) could have plastered an entire wall at home with congratulatory telegrams from the old champion in Trondheim! In the garden of his residence on Markveien the historic javelins he had thrown have stood firmly planted in the lawn, with bunting in the Norwegian colours. In addition to sports, music was a favourite interest, and he was also a competent piano player.
Arne Halse became a notable eccentric in the city. Or as Victor Johansen, sports editor at Adresseavisen [the largest daily newspaper in Trondheim] put it: he was a special and colourful person, a type that does not exist in today's streamlined welfare society.
Recommended reading: Victor Johansen: Trønderske idrettstopper [Sports aces from Trøndelag]. Midt-Norge forlag, 1989.

Author: Einar Rædergård