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  • State Funeral

    Happy birthday today (Tuesday) to an Olympic champion who was born on a Saturday 126 years ago today and died on a Saturday almost forty years ago.

    This champion was the fourteenth child of twenty children (father was married twice) and competed in two Olympic Games (both in Europe).

    Our birthday individual won five Olympic gold medals and three Olympic silver medals at those two Olympics.

    You may know that this athlete represented one country yet lived in another country.

    Not many Olympians share such an Olympic history after competing in only two Olympic Games.

    Who is our birthday person on this penultimate Tuesday of January?

    Give it your best and good luck.

  • #2
    Ville Ritola

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    • #3
      Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post
      Ville Ritola
      Only T&F Olympian to win 6 medals at a single Olympics (1924 - 4 golds, 2 silvers)

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      • #4
        Ville Ritola was born in Finland 126 years ago today. You did it again, bambam1729. Very good.

        Ritola, at the age of 17, moved to the United States. He made the Finnish Olympic team in 1924 (age 28) and won gold in the 10,000 in Paris. Three days later, he won another OIympic gold medal, this time in the steeplechase. The day after winning the steeplechase, Ritola took the silver medal in the 5,000 (I'm sure you know who beat him in the 5,000). Two days after running the 5,000, Ville Ritola won another Olympic silver medal, this time in the individual cross country race (yes, they had cross country and it might come back to the Olympics in the Winter Olympics). He also won another gold medal in the cross country team race. You can imagine who won that cross country race (Finnish teammate). A day after running the Olympic cross country race, Ritola won another gold medal, this time in the 3,000 team race. That's an amazing four Olympic gold medals and two Olympic silver medals over a one week period in Paris, France.

        Four years later in Amsterdam (1928), Ville Ritola won the 10,000 Olympic silver medal (the same teammate won the gold medal) and five days later, Ritola won the gold medal in the 5,000 at the Amsterdam Olympic Games (he was 32 years old).

        In 1937, at the age of 41, Ville Ritola became an American citizen. When he was 75 years old in 1971, he moved back to Finland and stayed there until he died in April of 1982 at the age of 86. About fifteen months after he died in Finland, Helsinki hosted the first ever World Championships and guess whose statue sat right outside the stadium? You're right; Paavo Nurmi.

        Thank you, bambam1729.

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        • #5
          "In 1937, at the age of 41, Ville Ritola became an American citizen. When he was 75 years old in 1971, he moved back to Finland and stayed there until he died in April of 1982 at the age of 86. About fifteen months after he died in Finland, Helsinki hosted the first ever World Championships and guess whose statue sat right outside the stadium? You're right; Paavo Nurmi."

          Wasn't there a statue of Nurmi outside the Oly stadium in 1952? Same one?

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          • #6
            Yes, the same statue.

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            • #7
              Sculptor Wäinö Aaltonen made the original statue in 1925, and a copy of it was erected before the Olympic Stadium in 1952 (a third copy is in Turku, Nurmi's home city). The statue was also featured in the official poster of the 1952 games.

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