KOLEHMAINEN Hannes (1889-1966) Finland / Track and field
The first in a very long line of Finnish cross-country runners, before Nurmi in the 20s and Viren in the 70s.Kolehmainen won the 5000 and 10,000 m and cross-country at Stockholm in 1912. He went on to win the marathon at the Antwerp games in 1920. An indefatigable worker, he put himself on a vegetarian diet and sought the financial advice of one of his brothers to train like a professional.The runner had only one regret at his first Olympics in Stockholm - that of seeing the Russian flag hoisted to celebrate his victory. Finland was under Russian domination at the time.But all that had long ago changed when, in 1952, he was chosen by the organizers of the Helsinki games to light the flame in the Olympic stadium. Finland was a free country and the blue and white flag flew proudly over the stadium.