Host City: Paris, France
Venue(s): Colombes Olympic Stadium, Colombes
Date Started: July 12, 1924
Date Finished: July 12, 1924
Format: circa 10,000 metres. Point-for-place scoring from the individual event, with the top three finishers for each team counting in the team scoring.
Led by Paavo Nurmi and Ville Ritola was a strong favorite in this race and when they finished 1-2, with Nurmi 2½ minutes clear of the third-place runner in the individual event, there seemed no way Finland could lose. But the 1924 cross-country race was held on one of the hottest days in Paris history, temperatures climbing over 40° C. (103° F.), and only 15 of 38 starters finished the race. The third Finnish runner was Heikki Liimatainen and he barely finished to allow the Finns to win the gold medal. Liimatainen was stumbling near the finish, overcome by the heat. He stopped 30 metres short of the finish, and tried to turn off the course. But the crowd yelled at him that he had not yet crossed the finish line, and he returned to the course, disoriented and walked across the finish line, taking over two minutes to finish his last 30 metres.