Volmari Iso-Hollo

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Volmari Iso-Hollo
Tapio Rautavaara and Volmari Iso-Hollo.jpeg
Iso-Hollo (right) runs with javelin thrower Tapio Rautavaara in 1951, gathering funds for the 1952 Summer Olympics.
Personal information
Born May 1, 1907 (1907-05)
Ylöjärvi, Finland
Died June 23, 1969 (1969-06-24) (aged 62)
Heinola, Finland

Volmari "Vomma" Fritijof Iso-Hollo (May 1, 1907 - June 23, 1969) was a Finnish athlete, winner of two gold medals in 3000 m steeplechase at the Olympic Games.

Born in Ylöjärvi, Finland, Volmari Iso-Hollo was one of the last in a group of Finnish runners called the "Flying Finns" who dominated distance running in the period between the World Wars.

As a youth, Iso-Hollo did skiing, gymnastics and boxing and took up running as he joined the army. He was successful in wide range of events, running all the distances between 400 m and marathon.

Iso-Hollo won his first Olympic gold medal in the 3000 m steeplechase at the 1932 Summer Olympics. He was denied a chance at the world record because the officials lost count of the number of laps, because the official lap-counter was looking the wrong way, being absorbed in the decathlon pole vault. When Iso-Hollo went to his last lap, the official failed to ring the bell, and the entire field kept on running and so the finishing distance was 3460 m. If the distance were 3000 m, Iso-Hollo probably would have broken the world record. He also won the silver in the 10 000 m in Los Angeles.

In 1933, Iso-Hollo broke the 3000 m steeplechase world record after all, running 9.09.4 in Lahti and went to the 1936 Summer Olympics as a hot favourite. At Berlin, Iso-Hollo won the steeplechase by three seconds, finishing with a new world record of 9.03.8. The top three competitors all broke the existing world record. Iso-Hollo added a bronze in the 10 000 m to complete a set of Olympic medals.

After the Olympics, Iso-Hollo fell ill with rheumatism but kept on competing until 1945. Volmari Iso-Hollo died in Heinola, Finland, aged 62.


  • Wallechinsky, David and Kaime Loucky (2008). The Complete Book of the Olympics - 2008 Edition. London: Aurum Press, Limited. pp. 122, 169.