Saturday, January 10, 2009
In the aftermath of World War II, many countries, including Finland, were saddled by burgeoning problems, including financial collapse, health system challenges, and ideology shifts. But bouncing rather quickly from this quagmire, the Finnish capital of Helsinki successfully hosted the 1952 Summer Olympics which saw the debut appearance of athletes from countries like the Soviet Union and Israel, among others.
One of the main events of the Olympics- as in any Olympics before until now- was the lighting of the Olympic cauldron. In the Helsinki Games, Paavo Nurmi, the Flying Finn was one of two Olympic stalwarts who heralded the opening of the XVth Olympiad, alongside Hannes Kolehmainen. In the aftermath of the Nurmi juggernaut, the competition was made to drool at his nine gold medals, three silver medals, and 22 world records, earned all or in part when he participated in the 1920 Antwerp, 1924 Paris, and 1928 Amsterdam Olympiads.