Paavo Nurmi: Flying Finn
- Olympic Medals: 9 Gold, 3 Silver
- Olympic Games participations: 3
- First Olympic Games: Antwerp 1920
- Year of Birth1897
Nurmi made his Olympic debut at the 1920 Antwerp Games. He took the competition by storm winning gold medals in the 10,000m, the cross-country individual and team event. He also claimed a silver in the 5,000m. At the 1924 Paris Games, Nurmi made history by becoming the first athlete ever to win five gold medals at a single Olympic Games. In the space of four astonishing days, Nurmi won the 1500m, the 5,000m, the 3,000m team event and the two cross-country events.— via Olympics.com
One of the Olympics’ first superstars, Finland’s Nurmi dominated the Games in the 1920s, winning nine gold medals and three silvers.
He stole the show at Antwerp 1920, winning golds for the 10,000m, individual and team cross-country, and taking silver in the 5,000m, all in the space of just three days.
In the 1924 Paris Olympics he was untouchable, winning the 1,500m before returning to the track just over an hour later in searing heat to win 5,000m gold.
Two days later Nurmi defended his cross-country titles in temperatures in excess of 40C (104F) before the next day winning the 3,000m team race and becoming the first athlete to win five golds at a single Olympics.
It could have been six but Finnish team officials, fearing for his health, refused to allow Nurmi to line up for his 10,000m defence.
An angry Nurmi returned to Finland and immediately posted a new 10,000m world record that stood for 13 years.
He reclaimed his 10,000m gold in 1928 in Amsterdam, adding silvers in the 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase.
He was controversially barred from the Los Angeles 1932 Olympics three days before the 10,000m for allegedly receiving payment to race in Germany, denying him a chance of a 10th gold medal.
Paavo Nurmi at the Olympic Games
|Amsterdam 1928||Silver||5,000 metres||Athletics|
|Silver||3,000 metres Steeplechase||Athletics|
|Paris 1924||Gold||1,500 metres||Athletics|
|Gold||3,000 metres, Team||Athletics|
|Antwerp 1920||Silver||5,000 metres||Athletics|
Most overall medals at the Summer Games
|Michael Phelps||28||United States||Swimming||2004–2016||M|
|Larisa Latynina||18||Soviet Union||Gymnastics||1956–1964||F|
|Nikolai Andrianov||15||Soviet Union||Gymnastics||1972–1980||M|
|Boris Shakhlin||13||Soviet Union||Gymnastics||1956–1964||M|
|Birgit Fischer-Schmidt||12||East Germany / Germany||Canoeing||1980–2004||F|
(With IOC and AFP inputs)