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Herman "Jackrabbit" Smith-Johannsen (b. June 15, 1875 – d. January 5, 1987) was a Norwegian-Canadian
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supercentenarian who gained widespread recognition for being one of the first people to introduce the sport of cross-country skiing to Canada and North America. He is recognized by certain groups within the cross-country skiing community in Canada for the many contributions he made to the sport and for his personal longevity.

Biography

Johannsen was born in the town of Horten, some fifty miles south of Norway's capital Oslo, and graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Berlin in 1899. He emigrated to the USA as a machinery salesman shortly thereafter. In 1907, Johannsen immigrated to Canada with his family and settled in the Laurentians in the predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec. Johannsen learned French and further introduced skiing to the area.

While on a trip to Canada to sell machinery to the Canadian Grand Trunk Railway in 1902, Johannsen was befriended by the First Nations Cree in the wilderness above North Bay, Ontario. The nickname "Jackrabbit" is said to have been given to him by the Cree, who were impressed by his speed on skis compared to the snowshoes they were using at the time.

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