Ville Ritola

Vilho “Ville” Eino Ritola (18 January 1896 – 24 April 1982) was a Finnishlong-distance runner.[1] Known as one of the “Flying Finns“, he won five Olympic gold medals and three Olympic silver medals in the 1920s. He holds the record of winning most athletics medals at a single Games – four golds and two silvers in Paris 1924 – and ranks second in terms of most athletics gold medals at a single Games.[2]

Finnish long-distance runner

Ville Ritola

Ville Ritola at the 1928 Olympics
Personal information
Full name Vilho Eino Ritola
Born 18 January 1896
Peräseinäjoki, Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire
Died 24 April 1982 (aged 86)
Helsinki, Finland
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 66 kg (146 lb)
Sport
Sport Running
Club Tampereen Pyrintö
Helsingin Toverit
Medal record
Representing  Finland
Olympic Games
1924 Paris 10,000 m
1924 Paris 3000 m steeplechase
1924 Paris 3000 m team
1924 Paris Team cross country
1924 Paris Individual cross country
1924 Paris 5000 m
1928 Amsterdam 5000 m
1928 Amsterdam 10,000 m

. . . Ville Ritola . . .

Ritola’s parents, Johannes Ritola (1851–1944) and Serafia Gevär (1863–1919), were farmers in western Finland near Seinäjoki. He was born in Peräseinäjoki, Finland. He was the 14th child in his family and had altogether 19 siblings, five of whom died in infancy. Six of the children were from his father’s first marriage, 14 from the second, including Ville.[3]

In 1913 he followed seven of his siblings and emigrated to the United States to work as a carpenter.[4] There he started training in 1919 when he was already 23 years old. Later he referred many times to this late start of his sports career, and how it put him at a disadvantage compared to his rivals, especially the more famous of the Flying Finns, Paavo Nurmi, who started systematic training in his teens. In 1919 he joined the Finnish-American Athletic Club and trained together with Hannes Kolehmainen, who had moved to the United States after the 1912 Summer Olympics. In spring 1919 he took part in his first competition, a New York street race, and finished 33rd among 700 competitors. It was only after this that he started to train systematically.[3]

Kolehmainen tried to convince the young Ritola to join the Finnish 1920 Summer Olympics team, but Ritola stated that he was not ready yet. He had also just married Selma née Aaltonen. In 1921 he started to compete systematically, and in 1922 he won his first AAU Championship gold medals. The same year he came second in the Boston Marathon.[3]

During 1923 American Finns started collecting funds to pay for Ville Ritola’s trip to Finland, where in May 1924 he took part in the Finnish Olympic qualification competitions. In the 10,000 m qualifying race Ritola won with a world record time of 30.35.4. This was Ritola’s first official world record.[3]

At the 1924 Paris Olympics, he won four gold and two silver medals. He had a start on eight consecutive days to achieve this, all long-distance.

In his first race, the 10,000 m, in the absence of Nurmi, he won by half a lap and obliterated his own fresh world record by more than 12 seconds. Finnish officials had selected Ritola for the race as Nurmi was already running in five other distance events.[5] Three days later, Ritola won the 3000 m steeplechase by 75 metres. The next day he finished second in the 5000 m, 0.2 seconds behind Nurmi. Ritola later earned another silver medal behind Nurmi in the individual cross-country race and gained a gold medal as a member of the Finnish cross-country team. Finally, Ritola joined Nurmi to win the 3000 m team race.[6]

Ritola’s 1924 triumph in Paris is historical. His six medals from Paris is still the biggest number of medals won by an athlete in one Olympic games event. His four gold medals put him in second place after Paavo Nurmi in the number of gold medals won by an athlete in one Olympic Games event.[2]

. . . Ville Ritola . . .

This article is issued from web site Wikipedia. The original article may be a bit shortened or modified. Some links may have been modified. The text is licensed under “Creative Commons – Attribution – Sharealike” [1] and some of the text can also be licensed under the terms of the “GNU Free Documentation License” [2]. Additional terms may apply for the media files. By using this site, you agree to our Legal pages . Web links: [1] [2]

. . . Ville Ritola . . .