Paavo Johannes Nurmi
Nurmi at the 1920 Summer Olympics
(13 June 1897 – 2 October 1973) was a Finnish middle
and long distance
runner. He was nicknamed as the "Flying Finn
" as he dominated distance running in the early 20th century. Nurmi set 22 official world records at distances between 1,500 metres and 20
kilometres, and won a total of nine gold and three silver medals in his twelve events in the Olympic Games
. At his peak, Nurmi was undefeated at distances from 800 m upwards for 121 races. Throughout his 14-year career, he remained unbeaten in cross country events and the 10,000 m.
In the 1920 Summer Olympics Nurmi took the silver medal in the 5,000 m and the gold in the 10,000 m and the cross country events. In 1923, Nurmi became the first, and so far only, runner to hold the mile, the 5,000 m and the 10,000 m world records at the same time. He went on to set new world records for the 1,500 m and the 5,000 m with just an hour between the races, and take gold medals in the distances in less than two hours at the 1924 Olympics. Nurmi won all his races and returned home with five gold medals, but embittered, as Finnish officials had refused to enter him for the 10,000 m.
At the 1928 Summer Olympics, Nurmi recaptured the 10,000 m title but was beaten to the gold in the 5,000 m and the 3,000 m steeplechase. He then turned his attention to longer distances, breaking the world records for events such as the one hour run and the 25-mile marathon. Nurmi intended to end his career on a marathon gold medal.
In a controversial case that strained Finland–Sweden relations and sparked an inter-IAAF battle, Nurmi was suspended before the 1932 Games by an IAAF council that questioned his amateur status. Although he was never declared a professional, Nurmi's suspension became definite in 1934 and he retired from running.
Nurmi, who rarely ran without a stopwatch in his hand, has been credited for introducing the "even pace" strategy and analytic approach to running, and for making running a major international sport. (Full article...)
The All Blacks perform the Haka before a match
The New Zealand men's national rugby union team
, known as the All Blacks, represent New Zealand
in what is regarded as its national sport
. The team first competed in 1884 against Cumberland County, New South Wales
, and played their first Test match
in 1903, a victory over Australia
The All Blacks are the Rugby World Cup champions, the leading points scorers of all time, and the only international rugby team with a winning record against every test nation they have ever played. The All Blacks have held the top ranking in the world for longer than all other countries combined, and in over 100 years only five test rugby nations have ever beaten New Zealand. The All Blacks have won The Rugby Championship a record eleven times (in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012) in the competition's 16-year history. The All Blacks have won over a record 75% of all rugby matches they have played since 1903 (which is amongst the highest in all International sport) and they were named the International Rugby Board (IRB) Team of the Year in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and a record fifth time in 2011. Fifteen former All Blacks have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame; three of these are also inductees of the IRB Hall of Fame, and another player is a member of the IRB Hall.
The team's early uniforms consisted of a black jersey with a silver fern and white knickerbockers. By their 1905 tour New Zealand were wearing all black, except for the silver fern, and their All Black name dates from this time. New Zealand traditionally perform a haka (Māori challenge) before each match, traditionally the Te Rauparaha's Ka Mate. (Full article...)