Sergeant Martti Lappalainen, from the Finnish 2nd Artillery Regiment, came to prominence in 1924 when he won the 15 km at the Finnish Army Championships. He was scheduled to take part at Chamonix in the Finnish military ski patrol team but was replaced at the last minute. Lappalainen took part in the 1926 World Championships, held in Lahti, where he was sixth in the 30 km. In 1927 Lappalainen won his first medal at the Finnish Championships, taking silver in the 10 km. At the 1928 Olympics Lappalainen was seventh at 18 km and ninth in the 50 km, but he also won the 50 km at the 1928 Holmenkollen Ski Festival. In 1929 Lappalainen won the 50 km race at the Lahti Ski Games and won his first Finnish title in 10 km, which he would repeat in 1930-31. At the 1932 Olympics Lappalainen had to settle for fourth place behind two Swedes and teammate Veli Saarinen in the 18 km and did not finish the 50 km. The 1934 World Championships were a successful one for Lappalainen, as he won gold as a member of the Finnish relay team and bronze in 18 km. Lappalainen made his last international appearance at the 1938 World Championships, where he was 39th in the 50 km. Martti Lappalainen was killed in action in the Continuation War on the banks of Svir River. His brother Tauno was also a cross-country skier, who competed at the 1928 and 1932 Olympics and won two silvers at the 1926 World Championships and one bronze at the 1930 World Championships.