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Ville Ritola

Full name: Viljo Eino "Ville" Ritola (Koukkari-)
Nickname(s): William, Peräseinäjoen susi, Suomalainen pystykorva
Gender: Male
Height: 5-8.5 (175 cm)
Weight: 146 lbs (66 kg)
Born: January 18, 1896 in Peräseinäjoki, Seinäjoki, Etelä-Pohjanmaa, Finland
Died: April 24, 1982 in Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
Affiliations: Tampereen Pyrintö/Helsingin Toverit
Country: FIN Finland
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 5 Gold, 3 Silver (8 Total)

Biography

Ville Ritola was an outstanding distance runner who rivaled his legendary countryman, Paavo Nurmi. At the 1924 Olympic Games, Ritola won the steeplechase in his first attempt at the race and improved his own 10,000 metre world record to win that event. He also won two further gold medals in the 3,000 metre team event and the team cross-country event. Ritola and Nurmi met on the track for the first time at these Olympics with Nurmi claiming the honors by winning the 5,000 metres and defeating Ritola in the cross-country and 3,000 metres. At the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, the match-up was in the 5,000 metres with Ritola defeating Nurmi to win the gold medal. The 14th of 20 children, Ritola left home in 1913 to emigrate to the United States and eventually won 14 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) titles, returning home in the Olympic years. He never competed in the Finnish national championships.

Personal Bests: 3000 – 8:31.8i (1923); 5000 – 14:23.2i (1925); 10000 – 30:19.4e (1928); 3000S – 9:33.6 (1924).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Men's 5,000 metres Finland FIN 2 Silver
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Men's 10,000 metres Finland FIN 1 Gold WR
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Men's 3,000 metres Steeplechase Finland FIN 1 Gold OR
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Men's 3,000 metres, Team Finland FIN 1 Gold
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Men's Cross-Country, Individual Finland FIN 2 Silver
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Men's Cross-Country, Team Finland FIN 1 Gold
1928 Summer 32 Amsterdam Athletics Men's 5,000 metres Finland FIN 1 Gold
1928 Summer 32 Amsterdam Athletics Men's 10,000 metres Finland FIN 2 Silver
1928 Summer 32 Amsterdam Athletics Men's 3,000 metres Steeplechase Finland FIN AC

Men's 5,000 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Finland Final 2 14:31.4
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Finland Round One Heat Three 3 QU 15:32.1
1928 Summer 32 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Final 1 14:38.0
1928 Summer 32 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Round One Heat Two 2 QU 15:10.8

Men's 10,000 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Finland Final Standings 1 WR 30:23.2
1928 Summer 32 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Final Standings 2 30:19.4

Men's 3,000 metres Steeplechase

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Finland Final 1 OR 9:33.6
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Finland Round One Heat Three 1 QU 9:59.0
1928 Summer 32 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Final AC DNF
1928 Summer 32 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Round One Heat One 1 QU 9:46.6

Men's 3,000 metres, Team

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank TP IP ST
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Finland FIN Final Standings 1 8 2
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Finland FIN Final 1 8 2 at 20 metres to first
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Finland FIN Round One Heat One 1 QU 6 2 8:48.2

Men's Cross-Country, Individual

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Finland Final Standings 2 34:19.4

Men's Cross-Country, Team

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank TP IP
1924 Summer 28 Paris Athletics Finland FIN Final Standings 1 11 2
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