The tied wings of Paavo Nurmi


VGoing to Paavo Nurmi, running tired the retinas. The flying Finn was a spectacle for his stride characteristic of a man devoted to sport. He was already in Los Angeles training at the Olympic Village when, at the end of his last lap, he felt pain in his tendon due to the calcaneal problems that had been diagnosed. He sat on the grass with his dominant mind set on winning the gold in the marathon and saying goodbye, after 15 years of chasing his own shadow in the races.

Nurmi was the best athlete with nine gold and three silver medals in his collection and the cause of contention for the International Athletics Federation, chaired by a Swede, Sigfrid Edstrom.

The marathon was two days away when men in suits surrounded him. Paavo, on the ground, and with his hands pressing his heel, heard the verdict, he was unable to participate, they had hunted him and left him in a cage.

In the autumn of 1931, that is, six months ago, he traveled to Germany to participate in a series of long-distance competitions, Paavo was getting old and he thought that it was best to focus on the marathon. He had been accused of receiving money in his previous competitions, his amateurism was judged and he was ruled ineligible to compete in Los Angeles.

The Finnish athlete lit the cauldron in Helsinki 1952.

The complaint had come from the Swedish federation, even though Nurmi claimed that he had spent a lot of his money to compete in Germany, but Edstrom was determined not to let him participate. A closed trial was held, without clues and without details, until seven members decided to hunt down the best racer in the world and destroy the dream of their last games. The testimony of Karl Ritten Von Halt, president of the German athletics federation, showed that Nurmi received $ 250 each time he participated on Teutonic soil.

Nurmi denied everything and walked out of the Olympic village without being able to participate in his fifth games, only the fossils of his medals would remain hidden under the changing sports laws. The Associated Press wrote, “It was one of the most skillful political maneuvers in athletics, the marathon will be like watching Hamlet without Hamlet.”

On the day of the competition, his own rivals sent a letter to ask for permission without receiving a response.

Paavo kept running with his stopwatch in his left hand, he was an agile mathematician who was called a mechanical Frankenstein, but at the same time he was noble with his companions when he gave advice, “conquering yourself is the greatest challenge”, or that other in the one who explained modern sedentary lifestyle, “don’t let new inventions make you lazy, don’t let comforts prevent your physical exercise.”

His only dream was to look like his idol, the Finn Hannes Koleihmanen. No one was able to keep up with him, even with the years he had been over, already 35, he was the right man to run because he motivated himself, not by the result, but by beating his own marks, in Los Angeles 1932, he they tied the wings.

He leads a race during the 1924 Paris Games.

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