Speed skater Julius Skutnabb competed in his first world championship in 1914. His promising career was then interrupted by World War I.
A Finnish duel
When international competition began again in 1922, Skutnabb, who made his living as a fireman, was already 32 years old. At the first Winter Games in Chamonix in 1924, he took part in every speed skating event. He earned a silver medal in the 5,000m race and finished fourth in the 1,500m, missing a medal by one second. But he also won the 10, 000m, finishing three seconds ahead of fellow Finn, Clas Thunberg.
The oldest male medallist in speed skating
The Chamonix Games were the only ones at which a combined event was contested. Based on his results in the four individual races, Skutnabb earned a bronze medal in the combined. Skutnabb won the all-around title at the 1926 European Championships and then returned to the Olympic Games in 1928. Competing only in the 5,000m race, he earned another silver medal to become, at age 38, the oldest male speed skater ever to win a medal at the Olympic Games.