During the 1920s Paavo Nurmi and Ville Ritola awed the sporting world with their domination of long-distance running.
At the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, Ritola put on an incredible performance, winning four gold medals and two silver medals. In his first race, the 10,000m, he won by half a lap and obliterated his own world record by more than 12 seconds. Three days later, he won the steeplechase by 75 metres. The next day he finished second behind Nurmi in the 5,000m. Next he earned another silver medal behind Nurmi in the cross-country race and gained a gold medal as a member of the Finnish cross-country team. Finally, Ritola joined with Nurmi to win the 3,000m team race.
A victory by 12 meters
In 1928, at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam, Ritola placed second - behind Nurmi - in the 10,000m. His last Olympic appearance was in the 5,000m. This time Ritola pulled away from Nurmi in the final curve and won by 12 metres. This victory brought Ritola's career total to five gold medals and three silver medals.