There Is No Cat

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Monday, August 30, 2004

Sure to show up in a future edition of Trivial Pursuit

Unfortunately I didn't get to see it happen, but my brother will know why I was particularly interested to note that when Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco won gold medals at the Olympics in both the 1500 meters and 5000 meters, he was only the second person to do it, and that the previous winner was the Flying Finn, Paavo Nurmi, in 1924. El Guerrouj himself was quoted as saying that when he showed up at the stadium for the 5000, he was thinking of Nurmi.

Posted at 12:53 PM

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Boy, you sure do take every possible opportunity that arises to bring up Paavo Nurmi, don't you!

Posted by Mamacita at 1:30 PM, August 30, 2004 [Link]

Nurmi probably would've won the 10,000m that year as well, but Finnish Olympic officials gave the spot instead to Wille Ritola, who won in world record time. Legend has it that Nurmi ran a time trial on another track while the Olympic final was taking place, and ran a faster time by himself. Anyway, Nurmi came back to win the 10,000m in 1928: www.runnersworld.com/events/roadtoathens/moments/7.html

One thing Nurmi still has over El Guerrouj: while the IOC now schedules events to encourage sensational doubles like this, in 1924 they wanted to keep the Finns (and Nurmi in particular) from dominating all the distance events. So they scheduled the 1500m and 5,000m finals about an hour apart... and yet Nurmi still won both.

(I'm a track geek. I remember this stuff.)

Posted by pjm at 1:36 PM, August 30, 2004 [Link]

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