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Paavo Nurmi

Updated:2008-05-13 18:42 | Source:beijing2008

Paris, 1924, Games of the VIII Olympiad. Men's athletics, 1500m: winner Paavo NURMI at the finishing line. Credit : IOC Olympic Museum Collections
Paris, 1924, Games of the VIII Olympiad. Men's athletics, 1500m: winner
 Paavo NURMI at the finishing line. Credit : IOC Olympic Museum Collections

Other names: NURMI, Paavo Johannes

Born: 13 June 1897

Deceased: 2 October 1973

Birthplace: Turku (Finland)

Nationality: Finland

Sport: Athletics


Antwerp 1920

Paris 1924

Amsterdam 1928


Olympic medals:

Gold: 9

Silver: 3

The Flying Finn

Paavo Nurmi is one of only four athletes to win nine gold medals. His feats are particularly impressive because they were achieved in endurance events and because he was prevented from continuing his Olympic career after he was charged with professionalism. Nurmi made his first Olympic appearance in 1920 in the 5,000m. He earned a silver medal behind Joseph Guillemot of France. Three days later, Nurmi defeated Guillemot in the 10,000m.

Three days after that, Nurmi won the cross-country race and gained an extra gold medal because the race also counted towards the team cross-country event, which Finland won handily. On 10 July 1924, at the Paris Games, Nurmi performed one of the greatest feats in Olympic history. First he won the 1,500m. Then, two hours later, he won the 5,000m.

Two days later, on one of the hottest days in Parisian history, Nurmi won the 10,000m cross-country race by 1 minute 24.6 seconds and gained another gold medal in the team cross-country event. The following day, while most of the other runners were recuperating, Nurmi finished first in the 3,000m team race.

He had hoped to defend his 10,000m title, but Finnish officials refused to enter him in the event. Back in Finland, an angry Nurmi made his point by setting a 10,000m world record that would last for almost 13 years. In 1928, Nurmi completed his Olympic career by winning the 10,000m and earning silver medals in the 5,000m and the steeplechase. (Cross-country races had been dropped from the Olympic programme).

(Credit: IOC. Click here for further information.)

Editor : LiuAnqi

Opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics