Olavi Alakulppi

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Olavi Alakulppi
Olavi Alakulppi.jpg
Olavi Alakulppi in the Continuation War.
Medal record
Men's cross country skiing
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1939 Zakopane 4 x 10 km

Olavi Alakulppi (17 July 1915, Rovaniemen maalaiskunta – 19 August 1990) was a Finnish cross country skier who competed in the 1930s. During the Russo-Finnish Continuation War, he served in the Finnish army, and was awarded the Mannerheim Cross. After the Second World War, he made a career in the United States Army.

Alakulppi won a gold medal in the 4 x 10 km cross-country relay at the 1939 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Zakopane.

Alakulppi served in the Finnish Army during the Winter and Continuation Wars. In 1942 he was awarded the Mannerheim Cross.

In 1945, in order to evade prosecution for his involvement in the Weapons Cache Case, he skied to Sweden and arranged for his wife Eevi, their son Vesa, and him to travel to the United States where he joined the United States Army.[1] Vesa Juhani Alakulppi eventually followed his father into the army and was killed in action during the Vietnam War.[2]

Alakulppi retired from the US Army in 1968 as a lieutenant-colonel. He died in 1990, and is buried in the Arlington National Cemetery.

While Alakulppi served as a company commander in West Germany in the 1950s, his personal chauffeur was Elvis Presley who was carrying out his military service.[3]


  1. ^ He became one of the ex-Finnish officers associated with Colonel Alpo K. Marttinen, known as "The Marttinen Men". See: Gill III, Henry A. (1998). "Appendix II Aftermath: Marttinen's Men". Soldier Under Three Flags. Ventura, CA: Pathfinder Publishing. pp. 187–193. ISBN 0934793654. OCLC 38468782. 
  2. ^ Vesa Alakulppi, CPT, Army, Seattle WA, 14May68 60E007 - The Virtual Wall
  3. ^ Elviksen nahkatakki löytyi Sallasta, YLE Uutiset

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