Paavo Nurmi

Paavo Nurmi

About Paavo Nurmi

Paavo Johannes Nurmi (13 June 1897 2 October 1973) was a Finnish middle and long distance runner. He was nicknamed as the 'Flying Finn' as he dominated distance running in the early 20th century. Nurmi set 22 official world records at distances between 1,500 metres and 20 kilometres, and won a total of nine gold and three silver medals in his twelve events in the Olympic Games. At his peak, Nurmi was undefeated at distances from 800 m upwards for 121 races. Throughout his 14-year career, he remained unbeaten in cross country events and the 10,000 m. Born into a worker family, Nurmi left school at the age of 12 to provide for his family. In 1912, he was inspired by the Olympic feats of Hannes Kolehmainen and began developing a strict training program. Nurmi started to flourish during his military service, setting national records en route to his international debut at the 1920 Summer Olympics.