His most successful period was in the 1950s when he became Olympic champion twice. In the 1952 Olympics he won a gold 18 kilometers and was the last Olympic champion over this distance. At the Olympic Winter Games 1956 he won the title over 15 kilometers. Added to this was in 1952 and 1960 respectively, a silver medal in the relay.
1952 Brenden was honored with the Egebergs Ærespris and Morgenbladet Gold Medal, 1955 with the Holmenkollen medal in 1956 with the Fearnleys olympiske ærespris. He was also a successful athlete; it was 1953 and 1954 Norwegian champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
- Olympic Winter Games 1952 in Oslo: Gold over 18 km, silver team
- Olympic Winter Games 1956 in Cortina d' Ampezzo: Gold over 15km
- Olympic Winter Games in 1960 in Squaw Valley: silver team