Lasse Viren

Born Jul 22, 1949
Nationality Finland Finland
Nickname Flying Finn

Lasse Artturi Viren was a Finnish Track and Field athlete. He is known for having won four Olympic gold medals. He also has a Bronze medal from the European Championships in 1974. Viren is also known for having the knack of peaking in the Olympic Games. This means that outside the Olympics, his career was pretty much unremarkable. That stood until he competed in major events in between the 1972 and 1976 Games, but even then, he never achieved the heights he did when he ran in the Olympics.

Before gaining international acclaim with his Olympic career, Viren was a police officer in his hometown of Myrskyla, Finland. He debuted in the European Championships in 1971, but fellow Finnish runner Juha Vaatainen eclipsed his achievement.

In 1972, Viren participated in the Summer Olympics held in Munich. He won the gold for both the 5,000 and 10,000 meter run. He also broke Ron Clarke’s previous record for the 10,000 meter run. He fell on the 12th lap, but still managed to regain momentum and clocked in with a time of 27:38:40. By winning both events in the same Olympics, he became the 4th athlete to achieve the feat. The have only been six people to do so, the latest was by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele in 2008.

Viren returned to the Olympics in 1976 and won both events again. This achievement by Viren was later on dubbed ‘double-double’. Viren is the only repeat double winner for the 5,000 meter race in Olympic history so far. He joined the Olympics again in 1980, but retired soon after when he finished 5th in the 10,000 meter race.

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