World Hall of Fame 1920: Hannes Kolehmainen, Nedo Nadi, Oscar Swahn and Hubert van Innis

The four inductees into my Hall of Fame for 1920 are notable competitors from Olympic sports:

Hannes Kolehmainen (Finland-Athletics) – The first of the great generation of Finnish long-distance runners known as the “Flying Finns”.  He won three gold medals at the 1912 Olympics (at 5000m, 10000m and cross-country).  The world record he set in a thrilling 5000m race at those Games stood for ten years. He set world bests at 3000m but lost part of his career due to World War I.  He returned to the sport after the war and in 1920 won the Olympic marathon.


Nedo Nadi (Italy- Fencing) – one of the greatest fencers of all-time at the Olympics.  He won the individual foil gold at the 1912 Olympics but it was at the 1920 Games that he wrote his name in Olympic history.  Nadi won individual golds at the foil and sabre events and was a member of the winning teams in epee, foil and sabre.  He is the only man to have won golds in all three weapons at the same Olympics.  His five gold medals at one Games was a record which stood until 1972.


Oscar Swahn (Sweden – shooting) – the winner of three Olympic golds in shooting.  His achievements are made notable because the first two of his golds came in 1908 at the age of 60 and his third when he was 64 in 1912, the oldest gold medal winner in history.  He competed at the 1920 Olympics aged 72 where he became the oldest athlete ever to compete at the Games. At those Games he won a silver medal in a team event.


Hubert van Innis (Belgium – Archery) – the most successful archer in Olympic history, although he competed at a a time when many more medals were available.  He won two gold medals and one silver at the 1900 Olympics in Paris.  On home ground in Antwerp in 1920 he won four golds and two silver medals.

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