Plaque name: Hannes Kolehmainen
Location: Olympic Stadium, Lidingövägen, 114 33 Stockholm, Sweden
Plaque awarded: 02/09/2023
Reason: Plaque Category – Legend
Juho Pietari "Hannes" Kolehmainen was born in Kuopio, Finland.
The first of the Flying Finns, Kolehmainen won the 5000m & 10,000m track double at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, and took gold in the individual cross country and a silver medal in the team category.
Most notably the Finn beat Frenchman Jean Bouin in an epic 5000m, winning by barely half a metre. Kolehmainen’s time of 14:36.6 was not only the first mark under 15 minutes over 5000m, but the inaugural ratified world record. Kolehmainen set a total of six ratified world record times in his career.
Kolehmainen ran the 1920 Olympic marathon in Antwerp, Belgium. He entered the stadium with a 70m advantage over Estonian Yuri Lossman, which he held to the finish, winning the gold in 2:32:35.8.
In 1921, Kolehmainen, who was based in the USA and was a member of the Finnish American Athletics Club, became a US citizen. In 1952, along with Paavo Nurmi, he lit the flame at the Helsinki Olympic Games opening ceremony. He lived the last years of his life back in Finland, dying in Helsinki in 1966.