Lauri Lehtinen in 1931
|Born||10 August 1908
Kerkkoo, Porvoo, Finland
|Died||4 December 1973 (aged 65)
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||64 kg (141 lb)|
|Achievements and titles|
|Personal best(s)||1500 m – 3:55.5 (1931)
5000 m – 14:16.9 (1932)
10000 m – 30:15.0 (1937)
Lehtinen ran a new world record in 5000 m (14:17.0) just a month prior to the Olympics, thus becoming a main favourite to the Olympic 5000 m title. In the final, the Finns Lehtinen and Lauri Virtanen led early. They managed to shake off all other competitors except Ralph Hill from the United States. Soon the race turned into a battle between Lehtinen and Hill. On the last lap, Hill tried to overtake Lehtinen. Seeing this, the Finn blocked his way, zig-zagging from one lane to the other to the great exasperation of the crowd. At the finish, Lehtinen crossed first a mere 50 centimetres ahead. Although this was a common tactic in Europe, the American audience was unaccustomed to it, so they booed. Hill declined to file a protest. They both recorded an identical time of 14:30.0. This was the only Olympic race longer than 200 metres in which the top two finishers recorded identical times.
In 1940, Lehtinen donated his Los Angeles gold medal to a soldier who had served with distinction on the Karelian Isthmus. Lehtinen's gesture was a mark of respect for Höckert, who was killed in action on the Isthmus.
In Kerkkoo village in Porvoo, there is a road named after him, "Lauri Lehtisen Tie."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lauri Lehtinen.|
- Lauri Lehtinen. sports-reference.com
- Lauri Lehtinen. trackfield.brinkster.net
- Athletics at the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Games: Men's 5,000 metres. sports-reference.com
|Men's 5000 m World Record Holder
19 June 1932 – 16 June 1939