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Hannes Kolehmainen: Wikis


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Olympic medalist
Hannes Kolehmainen wearing the Winged Fist of the Irish American Athletic Club, in The New York Times (1919)
Medal record
Men's Athletics
Competitor for  Finland
Gold 1912 Stockholm 5000 metres
Gold 1912 Stockholm 10000 metres
Gold 1912 Stockholm Individual cross country
Gold 1920 Antwerp Marathon
Silver 1912 Stockholm Team cross country

Juho Pietari "Hannes" Kolehmainen (About this sound pronunciation ) (9 December 1889 – 11 January 1966) was a Finnish long-distance runner. He is considered to be the first of a generation of great Finnish long distance runners, often named the "Flying Finns". Kolehmainen competed for a number of years in the United States, wearing the Winged Fist of the Irish American Athletic Club[1]. He also enlisted in the 14th Regiment of the National Guard of New York[1], and became a U.S. citizen in 1921[2].

Kolehmainen, a devoted vegetarian[1] and bricklayer by trade[2], was from a sportive family from Kuopio (his brothers Willy and Tatu were also strong long distance runners). He was one of the stars of the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, winning three gold medals. His most memorable was the one in the 5000 m. In that event, he ran a heroic duel with Frenchman Jean Bouin. After leading the field together for most of the race, Bouin was only defeated by Kolehmainen in the final metres – in World Record time. In addition, Kolehmainen won the 10000 m and the now discontinued cross country event. With the Finnish team, he also obtained a silver place in the cross country team event.

At the time, Finland was still a part of Russia, and although there was a separate Finnish team at the Olympics, the Russian flag was raised for Kolehmainen's victories, making him say that he "almost wished he hadn't won".

Kolehmainen's sportive career was interrupted by the First World War, but he remained an athlete to be reckoned with, although his specialty had now shifted to the longer distances, especially the marathon. At the first post-war Olympics in Antwerp, he won the gold medal in this event. He would also enter the Olympic marathon in 1924, but Kolehmainen did not complete that race.

By then, Kolehmainen had found a worthy successor in Paavo Nurmi. Together with Nurmi, he lit the Olympic Flame at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. He died in that same city, fourteen years later.


External links

Preceded by
France Jean Bouin
Men's 3,000 m World Record Holder
24 September 1911 — 24 May 1912
Succeeded by
Sweden Bror Fock
Preceded by
Sweden Bror Fock
Men's 3,000 m World Record Holder
12 July 1912 — 15 July 1918
Succeeded by
Sweden John Zander
Preceded by
Sweden Alexis Ahlgren
Men's Marathon World Record Holder
20 August 1920 — 13 October 1925
Succeeded by
United States Albert Michelsen
Sporting positions
Preceded by
John Mark
London 1948
Final Summer Olympic Torchbearer
Paavo Nurmi and Hannes Kolehmainen

Helsinki 1952
Succeeded by
Ron Clarke and Hans Wikne
Melbourne / Stockholm 1956


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