Ilmari Salminen

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameIlmari R.•Salminen
Used nameIlmari•Salminen
Born21 September 1902 in Elimäki, Kouvola, Kymenlaakso (FIN)
Died5 January 1986 in Kouvola, Kymenlaakso (FIN)
Measurements181 cm / 66 kg
AffiliationsKouvolan Urheilijat, Kouvola (FIN)
NOC Finland
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1


Ilmari Salminen was one of the world’s top distance runners in the 1930s, although he only began running when he was 27. He began his international athletics career in 1934 when he won the 10,000 and took bronze in the 5,000 m at the first European Championships, thus establishing himself as a favorite for the 1936 Olympic 10,000. At the Berlin Olympics, Salminen first placed sixth in the 5K, however, the next day Salminen narrowly defeated his teammate Arvo Askola in the 10K final. In 1937, Salminen set a 10,000 m world record of 30:05.6, also breaking the 6-mile world record en route. Salminen finished his international career with a gold medal in the 10,000 at the 1938 Europeans. He won six Finnish titles, the 5K in 1932 and 1942 and the 10K in 1934-35, 1937 and 1942.

Personal Bests: 5000 – 14:22.0 (1939); 10000 – 30:05.5 (1937).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1936 Summer Olympics Athletics FIN Ilmari Salminen
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 6
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Special Notes