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Lauri Lehtinen

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameLauri Aleksanteri•Lehtinen
Used nameLauri•Lehtinen
Born10 August 1908 in Kerkkoo, Porvoo (FIN)
Died4 December 1973 in Helsinki (FIN)
Measurements174 cm / 64 kg
AffiliationsHT, Helsinki (FIN)
NOC(s) Finland


Lauri Lehtinen broke the 5,000 world record (14:17.0) just one month prior to the 1932 Olympics, which marked him as a favorite for the Olympic 5,000 metres. In the Olympic final, Lehtinen and his teammate, Lauri Virtanen, led the race from the early laps, but the race eventually turned into a battle between Lehtinen and American Ralph Hill. On the final straight, Hill moved out to pass Lehtinen, but the Finn blocked him, zig-zagging from one lane to the other to the great exasperation of the American crowd, and Lehtinen held off Hill for the gold medal. The crowd in the LA Coliseum was unhappy and severely booed Lehtinen, causing the address announcer, Bill Henry, to warn them, “Please, remember. These people are our guests.” Hill declined to protest, and they both were both given the time of 14:30.0.

At the 1936 Summer Olympics, Lehtinen couldn’t defend his title, finishing second behind fellow Finn Gunnar Höckert. Lehtinen won Finnish 5K titles in 1931 and 1935. In 1940, Lehtinen donated his Los Angeles gold medal to a soldier who had served with distinction on the Karelian Isthmus. Lehtinen’s gesture was a mark of respect for Höckert, who was killed in action on the Isthmus during the Winter War.

Personal Best: 5000 – 14:16.9 (1932).


Games Discipline (Sport) Event Status Team Pos Details
1932 Summer Olympics Athletics 5,000 metres, Men Olympic 1 Gold Representing Finland    
1936 Summer Olympics Athletics 5,000 metres, Men Olympic 2 Silver Representing Finland    

Olympic Records

Records may have been broken subsequently during the same competition.
Games Date Sport Event Phase Mark Pos
1932 Summer Olympics 5 August 1932 Athletics 5,000 metres, Men Final 14:30.0 1