Ville Ritola

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Ville Ritola athletics

Ville Ritola2.jpg
Ville Ritola (1924)

Full name Vilho Eino Ritola
nation FinlandFinland Finland
birthday January 18, 1896
place of birth Peräseinäjoki
size 175 cm
Weight 66 kg
date of death April 24, 1982
Place of death Helsinki
discipline Long distance running
society Tampereen Pyrintö
Medal table
Olympic games 5 × gold 3 × silver 0 × bronze
Olympic rings Olympic games
gold Paris 1924 10,000 m
gold Paris 1924 3000 m obstacle
gold Paris 1924 3000 m team
gold Paris 1924 Cross-country team
silver Paris 1924 5000 m
silver Paris 1924 Cross running single
gold Amsterdam 1928 5000 m
silver Amsterdam 1928 10,000 m

Vilho Eino "Ville" Ritola (born January 18, 1896 in Peräseinäjoki near Seinäjoki , South Ostrobothnia , † April 24, 1982 in Helsinki ) was a Finnish athlete . Internationally he was known as one of the " flying Finns ".


Ritola, whose nickname was Peräseinäjoen Susi (the wolf of Peräseinäjoki), emigrated to the USA in 1913 , following his seven sisters who had moved there before him.

Ritola joined the Finnish-American Athletics Club and trained with Hannes Kolehmainen , who had also emigrated after the 1912 Olympic Games . Kolehmainen wanted to persuade Ritola to participate in the 1920 Olympic Games , but Ritola said that he was not ready for it yet.

Four years later, Ritola took part in the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris . He won four gold and two silver medals. In his first race, the 10,000-meter run, he improved his own world record by no less than twelve seconds. Three days later, he won the 3000 meter obstacle course with a margin of 75 meters. The next day he finished second over 5000 meters. In cross-country he won the silver medal behind Paavo Nurmi and the gold medal with the Finnish cyclo-cross team. Together with Nurmi, he finally won the 3,000-meter team race.

At the Olympic Games in Amsterdam in 1928 , Ritola finished second over 10,000 meters and won the 5,000 meter race. His balance thus amounted to five gold and three silver medals.

Ritola never took part in the Finnish championships, but won numerous medals in the US championships. He was the American champion over 6 miles (1927), 10 miles (1922, 1923, 1925, 1926 and 1927), in the 2000- yard obstacle course (1923, 1926 and 1927) and in the cross-country run (1922, 1923, 1925, 1926 and 1927).

After the Olympic Games of 1928, Ritola resigned from top-class sport. In 1971 he returned to his Finnish homeland.

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