Lauri Lehtinen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Lauri Lehtinen
Lauri Lehtinen 1931.jpg
Lauri Lehtinen in 1931
Personal information
Born 10 August 1908
Kerkkoo, Porvoo, Finland
Died 4 December 1973 (aged 65)
Helsinki, Finland
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 64 kg (141 lb)
Sport Athletics
Event(s) 1500–10000 m
Club HT, Helsinki
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 1500 m – 3:55.5 (1931)
5000 m – 14:16.9 (1932)
10000 m – 30:15.0 (1937)[1][2]

Lauri Aleksanteri Lehtinen (10 August 1908 – 4 December 1973) was a Finnish long-distance runner, winner of a controversial 5000 m race at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

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.[1][3]

At the 1936 Summer Olympics, Lehtinen couldn't defend his title, finishing second after fellow countryman Gunnar Höckert.[1]

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.[1]

In Kerkkoo village in Porvoo, there is a road named after him, "Lauri Lehtisen Tie."


  1. ^ a b c d Lauri Lehtinen.
  2. ^ Lauri Lehtinen.
  3. ^ Athletics at the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Games: Men's 5,000 metres.
Preceded by
Finland Paavo Nurmi
Men's 5000 m World Record Holder
19 June 1932 – 16 June 1939
Succeeded by
Finland Taisto Mäki