Full name: Lauri Aleksanteri Lehtinen
Height: 5-8.5 (174 cm)
Weight: 141 lbs (64 kg)
Born: August 10, 1908 in Kerkkoo, Porvoo, Itä-Uusimaa, Finland
Died: December 4, 1973 in Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
Affiliations: HT, Helsinki (FIN)
Medals: 1 Gold, 1 Silver (2 Total)
Lauri Lehtinen ran a 5,000 metre world record of 14:17.0 just one month prior to the 1932 Olympics, marking him as a favorite for the Olympic 5K title. In the final, the Finns Lehtinen and [Lauri Virtanen] led from the beginning, dropping all the other runners except American Ralph Hill, and the race soon turned into a battle between Lehtinen and Hill. Throughout the rest of the race Hill remained on the heels of Lehtinen and, on the last lap, got ready to overtake. Seeing this, the Finn blocked his way, zig-zagging from one lane to the other to the great exasperation of the crowd. His rhythm broken, Hill did not have a chance to try again before the finish line, which Lehtinen crossed a mere 50 centimetres ahead, both finishing in 14:30.0. This was not a strange thing to do in Europe, but the audience in America booed Lehtinen loudly, causing the announcer, Bill Henry, to plead, “Please remember, these people are our guests.” Hill declined to file a protest. At the 1936 Summer Olympics Lehtinen could not defend his title, finishing second behind countryman Gunnar Höckert. Domestically, Lehtinen won two Finnish 5K titles, in 1931 and 1935. 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.
Personal Best: 5000 – 14:16.9 (1932).
|1932 Summer||23||Los Angeles||Athletics||Men's 5,000 metres||Finland||FIN||1||Gold||OR|
|1936 Summer||27||Berlin||Athletics||Men's 5,000 metres||Finland||FIN||2||Silver|
|1932 Summer||23||Los Angeles||Athletics||Finland||Final||1||OR||14:30.0||14:29.91|
|1932 Summer||23||Los Angeles||Athletics||Finland||Round One||Heat One||2||QU||15:05.5|
|1936 Summer||27||Berlin||Athletics||Finland||Round One||Heat Three||4||QU||15:00.0|