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Olympic Champion / Veikko Hakulinen / 50 km skiing / 3:33:33 / Oslo 1952 Olympic Champion / Veikko Hakulinen / 50 km skiing / 3:33:33 / Oslo 1952 Olympic Champion / Veikko Hakulinen / 50 km skiing / 3:33:33 / Oslo 1952 Olympic Champion / Veikko Hakulinen / 50 km skiing / 3:33:33 / Oslo 1952 Olympic Champion / Veikko Hakulinen / 50 km skiing / 3:33:33 / Oslo 1952 Olympic Champion / Veikko Hakulinen / 50 km skiing / 3:33:33 / Oslo 1952 Olympic Champion / Veikko Hakulinen / 50 km skiing / 3:33:33 / Oslo 1952 Olympic Champion / Veikko Hakulinen / 50 km skiing / 3:33:33 / Oslo 1952 Olympic Champion / Veikko Hakulinen / 50 km skiing / 3:33:33 / Oslo 1952 Olympic Champion / Veikko Hakulinen / 50 km skiing / 3:33:33 / Oslo 1952 Olympic Champion / Veikko Hakulinen / 50 km skiing / 3:33:33 / Oslo 1952 Olympic Champion / Veikko Hakulinen / 50 km skiing / 3:33:33 / Oslo 1952

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Cycling shoe made by Karhu

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Cycling shoe made by Karhu

This cycling shoe was made by Karhu of kangaroo leather in the 1950’s. A tough and sturdy material, kangaroo leather was often used in sports shoes. Cycling has never been a major sport in Finland, but Karhu made shoes for cyclists from the 1930’s to the 1960’s.

Football 1955

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Football 1955

This greyish leather football manufactured by Oy Urheilutarpeita Karhu Ab was used in an unofficial friendly match between the Finnish national team and a visiting United States Army team in the Olympic Stadium of Helsinki in 1955. Finland won the match 6–0.

Gold medal from World Ice Hockey Championships 1995

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Gold medal from World Ice Hockey Championships 1995

Finland won its first gold medal at the World Ice Hockey Championships in 1995 by defeating Sweden in the final 4–1. What is more, the final took place in the perennial rival’s home lair in Stockholm. This medal was donated to the Sports Museum of Finland by the International Ice Hockey Federation.

 

Female gymnasts’s shoes

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Female gymnasts’s shoes

In the late 19th century a female gymnast’s outfit included a blouse, baggy trousers, leather belt, black stockings and ankle-high laced shoes. The outfit needed to be practical and tidy. High-heeled shoes were often strongly criticised but they remained in general use until the 1910’s.

Miniature model of Helsinki Olympic Stadium

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Miniature model of Helsinki Olympic Stadium

The Organising Committee of the 1952 Olympic Games awarded dozens of companies a license to use the Olympic rings in marketing their products against a part of the sales proceeds. Oy Framea Ab made miniature models of the Olympic Stadium both in plastic (as in the picture) and in more expensive metal versions.

Paavo Nurmi’s spike shoes

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Paavo Nurmi’s spike shoes

Paavo Nurmi used these spike shoes made of leather on his American tour of 1925. The manufacturer is not known. The shoes were in frequent use, as attested by the six worn spikes at the front.

Jari Kurri's skate

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Jari Kurri's skate

Jari Kurri used these Bauer Supreme Custom 2000 skates in the 1989/90 season when he won the last of his five Stanley Cup titles. Founded in Kitchener, Ontario in the 1920’s, Bauer was the first company to manufacture skates where the blade was attached to the shoe.

Prize knife

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Prize knife

According to the engraving in the hilt this knife was awarded to Risto Tirkkonen for his victory in a 110 metres hurdles race. More details are not known. The hilt depicting a reindeer head is made of galalith, an early type of plastic material. The blade carries the name and location of the famous knife manufacturer Iisakki Järvenpää Oy of Kauhava.

Olli Huttunen's silver medal

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Olli Huttunen's silver medal

Military patrol skiing was a demonstration event at the Olympic Winter Games of 1936 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The Finnish team of lieutenant Eino Kuvaja, sergeant Olavi Remes, corporal Kalle Arantola and private Olli Huttunen finished second behind Italy. All except Kuvaja were later killed in the war.

Medals awarded in the military patrol skiing differed from official Olympic medals. The obverse features a skier carrying a rifle against a mountainous background, the reverse the German arms (1935–1945) and the text DER REICHSKRIEGSMINISTER DEM ZWEITEN (the War Minister to the second).

Bronze prize sculpture

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Bronze prize sculpture

Elmer Niklander was awarded this sculpture as an extra prize for his victory in the Olympic discus throw competition at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp. The prizes were given by King Albert I of Belgium on the last day of the Stadium competitions. The sculpture depicting a victorious athlete was made by the artist Léandre Grandmoulin under the commission of the Organising Committee of the Antwerp Games.

Clog

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Clog

This clog was brought by the wrestler Väinö Ikonen as a souvenir from the Amsterdam Olympic Games of 1928. Ikonen was a reserve member of the Finnish wrestling team in 1928; he had won bronze in Paris 1924. Faded autographs of Olympic athletes can be seen on the clog.

Olympic tea package

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Olympic tea package

Oy Paulig Ab sold “Olympic tea” in paper packages or metal boxes. The text in the package certifies that a part of the proceeds will be used to support the training of Finnish Olympic athletes.

Flashlight 1952

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Flashlight 1952

The Organising Committee of the 1952 Olympic Games licensed dozens of companies to use the Olympic rings in their products against a part of the sales proceeds. Flashlights of the brand Auri were made by G.W. Sohlberg Ab. One side of the flashlight features the Olympic rings, the text XV OLYMPIA and a picture of the Olympic Stadium, the other side the arms of Helsinki, a view of the city from the sea and the text 1952 HELSINKI.

Hannes Kolehmainen’s Olympic gold medal from Stockholm 1912

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Hannes Kolehmainen’s Olympic gold medal from Stockholm 1912

Hannes Kolehmainen won three gold medals at the Stockholm Olympic Games of 1912: in 5,000 metres, 10,000 metres and the cross-country race. His most famous victory came in the 5,000-metre final, where he beat France’s Jean Bouin after a tight duel with a world record time of 14:36.6.

The Olympic gold medals of 1912 were the last ones made of solid gold; at all subsequent Games gilded silver has been used. The medal is 33 mm in diameter and weighs 30 g. The obverse, designed by Bertram Mackennal originally for the 1908 London Games, depicts two female figures holding a laurel wreath above a young victorious athlete. The reverse, designed by Erik Lindberg, features a herald and a statue of the Swedish gymnastics educator Per Henrik Ling.

Verner Weckman’s gold medal from the Intercalated Olympic Games in Athens 1906

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Verner Weckman’s gold medal from the Intercalated Olympic Games in Athens 1906

Verner Weckman (1882–1968) was the first Finnish Olympic champion. He won gold in the middleweight division of Greco-Roman wrestling at the Intercalated Olympic Games of 1906 in Athens. Weckman took another gold medal at the 1908 Olympic Games in London.

Weckman’s gold medal from Athens 1906 is 50 mm in diameter and weighs 60 g. Actually made of gilded silver, the medal was designed by J. C. Chaplain. The obverse features the god Zeus holding a statuette of the winged goddess of victory, the reverse a view from Acropolis and the text in Greek: International Olympic Games Athens 1906.

Hockey Bird

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Hockey Bird

Hockey Bird was the mascot of the 2012 World Ice Hockey Championships that were shared between Finland and Sweden. The stern-looking character was designed by Toni Kysenius of Rovio Entertainment, the company that created the Angry Birds game.

Clas Thunberg's skates

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Clas Thunberg's skates

Clas Thunberg (1893–1973) won a total of five Olympic gold medals, one silver and one bronze in speed skating at the Olympic Winter Games of 1924 and 1928. His skates were made by the Norwegian manufacturer L.H. Hagen & CO. Thunberg is known to have used the same pair all through his career, as was customary for speed skaters at the time. The blades were probably changed over the years. The skates are patched with metal plates, which shows how highly Thunberg appreciated the pair. The skates are of size 41.

Misha the Bear

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Misha the Bear

The friendly bear Misha was the official mascot of the Moscow Olympic Games of 1980. He was designed by Viktor Chizhikov. Misha was the first Olympic mascot that was comprehensively merchandised: his image was used in key rings, toys, stamps, pins and many kinds of textiles.

Antti Kasvio’s Olympic bronze medal

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Antti Kasvio’s Olympic bronze medal

Antti Kasvio became the first Finnish Olympic swimming medallist in 72 years by winning bronze in men’s 200 metres freestyle at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. All in all, Finland has won only four Olympic medals in swimming.

The obverse side of the Summer Olympic medals was updated for the 1992 Games after remaining unaltered since 1928. The motif depicts Nike, the goddess of victory, holding a palm leaf and a laurel wreath. The reverse side features the official logo of the respective Games. The Barcelona 1992 medal was designed by Xavier Corberó.

Paavo Nurmi’s stopwatch

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Paavo Nurmi’s stopwatch

Paavo Nurmi used to control his pace during his races with a stopwatch. At the Paris Olympic Games of 1924 Nurmi won three of his five gold medals by using a watch that he had borrowed from the sports educator Tahko Pihkala. Afterwards Pihkala had the watch engraved: “This watch was held by P. Nurmi when running 1500, 5000 and 3000 m at the Olympic Games 1924”.

Pihkala used the watch regularly on his jogging trips. In 1963 he was hit by a car when jogging and taken to a hospital. A little boy found the watch at the scene of the accident and delivered it to Paavo Nurmi. Nurmi had the watch repaired in Switzerland and returned it to Pihkala.

Helsinki 1952 Olympic torch

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Helsinki 1952 Olympic torch

The torch of the Helsinki Olympic Games of 1952 was designed by the painter and graphic artist Aukusti Tuhka (1859–1973). The shaft was made of birchwood, the bowl of silver. The length of the torch is 60 cm. The bowl carries a laurel ornament, the Olympic rings and the text: XV OLYMPIA HELSINKI 1952 HELSINGFORS HELSINKI. A separate fire cartridge was placed inside the bowl.

The torches were manufactured by the firm Kultakeskus Oy. The total number of torches was 23: sixteen were made of silver, seven of silver-plated brass. After the Games the torches were donated to persons and companies who had assisted in the organisation of relay. The Helsinki 1952 torches are the rarest of all Olympic torches.

Matchbox

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Matchbox

This box of  ”unglowing matches” was made for the 1940 Helsinki Olympic Games, which were eventually cancelled due to the Second World War. It contained 50 matches, 30 of which are left.

The preparations for the 1940 Olympic Games were partly funded by commercial sponsorship. Kauppiaitten Teollisuus Oy was one of the four match manufacturers who paid 100,000 marks for license to use the Olympic rings in marketing their products.

Juha Sulkakoski's snowboard

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Juha Sulkakoski's snowboard

Plywood snowboard built in 1984 by Juha Sulkakoski, who found inspiration from pictures in the American magazine Skiing.  Sulkakoski made his first boards in his garage in Jyväskylä and sold some of them to his friends. All that was needed was plywood, paint and a couple of sturdy cloth ribbons for strap bindings. Plywood boards could only be used on soft snow – the fresher the better. Pointy nose and V-shaped tail makes this board markedly different from modern snowboards.

In 1993 Juha Sulkakoski launched the coaching and national team program of the Finnish Snowboarding Association.

Wäinö Bremer’s pith helmet

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Wäinö Bremer’s pith helmet

Wäinö Bremer (1899–1964) was a Finnish aviation pioneer and an Olympic medal winner. In 1924 he captained the Finnish team to silver medal in military patrol skiing at the inaugural Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix. In 1932 Bremer flew from Helsinki to Cape Town and back. He donated the pith helmet and pilot glasses he used on his flight across Africa to the Sports Museum of Finland in 1943.

Bremer’s two-seater Junkers A-50 Junior sports plane is on display in the departure hall of Helsinki-Vantaa airport. Bremer used the same plane on his flights around Europe in 1931 and around the world in 1933.

The temperature in Helsinki was –18 °C, when Bremer took off for his African flight in March 1932. He flew through Riga, Munich, Naples and Tunis to Cairo where he bought suitable clothes for the tropics and this pith helmet. Bremer returned to Helsinki after nine weeks having covered a total of 31,050 kilometres.

Miniature gymnastics horse

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Miniature gymnastics horse

This miniature pommelled horse belongs to a series of models of gymnastics appliances donated by Anni Collan to the Sports Museum in 1941. The 1/10 scale models are made of lacquered wood, metal, leather and wool cloth. The series was produced in 1907 by the carpenter Oskari Anttila on the commission of a committee of gymnastics teachers including Collan. The models were used as teaching material at gymnastic instructors’ courses.

Anni Collan was a leading figure in Finnish women’s gymnastics in the first half of the 20th century. She worked as gymnastics teacher at several colleges in Helsinki and later as inspector of gymnastics in Finnish school administration while serving as chairwoman of the Finnish Women’s Gymnastics Association and as a prominent leader in the international girl scout movement.

 

Skateboard

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Skateboard

Skateboarding arrived in Finland in the early 1980’s, but the real boom took place in the beginning of the 90’s. The most popular board at the time, especially among beginners, was Turbo 2. Skateboards became standardised in their present form by the mid-90’s.

Skateboard stickers were hard to find in the early years. In Finland many boards featured self-made designs, such as this one in the collections of the Sports Museum.

Pekka Tiilikainen’s hat

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Pekka Tiilikainen’s hat

The legendary Finnish sportscaster Pekka Tiilikainen (1911–1976) donated his famous hat and anorak to the Sports Museum when he retired in 1971. Tiilikainen worked as sports announcer on the Finnish radio for almost 40 years. He was known for his poetic language and patriotic fervour as well as for his coat and hat which he adorned with memorabilia from international sports events he had covered.

The hat is covered with 50 cloth badges and pins from mainly winter sports events from the early 1950’s to the late 1960’s.

Ski wax jar

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Ski wax jar

Sheet metal jar from the 1930’s containing Kiva ski wax, with slight odour of tar. The number 4 indicates that the wax was meant for wet snow. The instructions are written in Finnish, English and German.

Kiva was a label of Esa Rossi (1895–1962), the most famous ski wax manufacturer in Finland up until the 1960’s. Rossi was also a benefactor of many Finnish elite cross-country skiers; he thought that it was impossible for skiers to train successfully for major competitions if they must also do full-time work. One of his famous proteges was Kalle Jalkanen (1907–1941), whose anchor leg decided the gold medal for Finland in the Olympic relay race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936.

Kiva (“Nice”) wax was made in Rossi’s factory in Helsinki until the 1960’s. It was also exported to other countries, especially to Germany. Esa Rossi never used recipes when he cooked his waxes: he measured the ingredients by following his own instincts.

Starting pistol

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Starting pistol

This starting pistol was used in the 1920’s by Kalle Kataja, who was a founding member of the Helsinki-based athletics club Helsingin Kisa-Veikot (HKV). It was later used in runners’ training.

The curve-shaped pistol has an octagonal barrel. The handle and the triangular support underneath the barrel are made of diamond-patterned dark wood.

Technical development made cap guns obsolete as starting pistols: firing blank cartridges did not produce enough noise and smoke. Electronic starting pistols are generally used today.

Eino Kaakkolahti’s pesäpallo glove

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Eino Kaakkolahti’s pesäpallo glove

This left-handed glove was originally made for baseball by the U.S. manufacturer Spalding. The famous pesäpallo player Eino Kaakkolahti acquired it in the early 1950’s. Sports equipment of all kind were in short supply in Finland after the war, and American baseball gloves were in great demand among pesäpallo players.

Pesäpallo is a Finnish variant of baseball, invented by Lauri ”Tahko” Pihkala in the early 1920’s. The first rules were codified in 1922. Pitcher Eino Kaakkolahti (1929–2014) was the most prominent player in the 1950’s.

Tapani Niku’s skiing boot

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Tapani Niku’s skiing boot

Tapani Niku (1895–1989) was the first Finnish olympic medallist in skiing. His career straddled the end of the flat-terrain era and early years of genuine cross-country skiing. Niku was one of the first Finnish skiers who adapted his technique and equipment to rough terrain tracks. In 1924 he won bronze in 18 kilometres at the inaugural Olympic Winter Games at Chamonix in the French Alps.

This light and tall skiing boot is made of sturdy and waterproof leather. The straight tip was an innovation: most skiing boots in the 1920’s still had pigtail tips.

Yrjö Saarela’s wrestling boot

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Yrjö Saarela’s wrestling boot

This left foot wrestling boot made of brown leather belonged to Yrjö Saarela. He won a World Championship title in 1911 and Olympic gold in the heavyweight division of Greco-Roman wrestling in Stockholm 1912.

Finnish strongmen dominated the European amateur wrestling scene in the first two decades of the 20th century. A total of 37 Finns competed in the five weight divisions of wrestling at the Olympic Games of 1912 in Stockholm, winning almost half of the medals.

The front-laced wrestling boot is tall enough to support the ankle. The diamond-patterned leather sole has a very thin heel patch. Padded heels and staples were forbidden by the rules.

Walking stick / picnic stool

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Walking stick / picnic stool

This handy contraption doubled as a walking stick and a seat. Made by the timber company Enso-Gutzeit Oy for the Helsinki Olympic Games of 1952, it came to good use at the marathon and the 50-kilometre walk race, which took place on a highway. After seeing the athletes on their way to the turning point, the spectators had to wait for a long time before catching a glimpse of them again on their way back to the Stadium.

The length of the stick is 89 centimetres. The diameter of the stool is only 23 cm, which makes it rather uncomfortable for an adult person.

Olympic coffee bag

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Olympic coffee bag

Gustav Paulig Oy was licensed to use the Olympic rings in its coffee and tea products before the Helsinki Olympic Games of 1952. The company’s own trademark since the 1920’s was Paula, a girl in national dress.

To purchase this 250-gram coffee bag consumers needed 175 Finnish marks and a government-issued coupon. Coffee was not freed from rationing introduced in wartime until 1954.

Mascot of the 1983 World Athletics Championships

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Mascot of the 1983 World Athletics Championships

Lasse the rabbit was the official mascot of the World Athletics Championships of 1983. He was named after the Olympic champion runner Lasse Virén. The mascot was designed by the graphic artist Marika Lehestö. A total of 132,000 furry mascots were produced in different sizes in South Korea.

 

Seppo Uusi-Oukari’s pesäpallo glove

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Seppo Uusi-Oukari’s pesäpallo glove

Pesäpallo is a bat-and-ball game that was developed in Finland in the 1920’s by combining elements of American baseball and old Finnish folk games.  This red left-hand glove belonged to Seppo Uusi-Oukari, who played in the Finnish championship league with Kankaanpään Maila from 1966 to 1983. He was the leading batter of the league for six seasons in a row 1971–76 and won the Player of the Year award in 1976.

This glove model was introduced by the manufacturer Karhu in 1970. The leather glove is made for a large-handed player. Uusi-Oukari’s nickname Batu appears on the bottom edge of the glove.

Participant medal from 1983 World Athletics Championships

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Participant medal from 1983 World Athletics Championships

The medal given to all participants of the inaugural World Athletics Championships held in Helsinki in 1983 was designed by Reino Paavilainen. The medal is made of bronze and is 6 centimetres in diameter. The obverse features the running statue of Paavo Nurmi in front ot the Olympic Stadium, while the reverse side is occupied by two crouched running figures and the logo of the Championships.

The medals were made by Sporrong.

Paavo Nurmi’s gilded shoe

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Paavo Nurmi’s gilded shoe

Paavo Nurmi (1897–1973) dominated the world of long-distance running in the 1920’s. He won a total of nine gold and three silver medals at three Olympic Games from 1920 to 1928 and made 22 official world records in outdoor races.

The gilded spike shoe of Paavo Nurmi was first put on display in the Finnish pavilion at the 1939–40 New York World’s Fair. The “gilding” was actually made with copper alloy. The shoe was one of the first exhibits on display when the Sports Museum of Finland was opened for public at the Olympic Stadium in 1943.

Commemorative medal of 1952 Olympic Games

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Commemorative medal of 1952 Olympic Games

The Organising Committee of Helsinki 1952 announced an open design competition for the commemorative medal of the Olympic Games in the spring of 1951. The winner among 35 entrants was the young sculptor Kauko Räsänen, who received the prize of 150,000 marks and additional 50,000 for final production of the medal.

The bronze commemorative medal was given to all participants and officials at the Olympic Games. The number of medals struck was 14,000. The medal is 54 millimetres in diameter. The obverse side features two figures carrying torches, the Olympic rings and the text: XV OLYMPIA. The reverse side depicts an athlete’s profile, a curve of the Olympic Stadium and the text: HELSINKI HELSINGFORS 1952.

Olympic mascot from Munich 1972

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Olympic mascot from Munich 1972

Waldi the dachshund was the official mascot of the Munich Olympic Games of 1972. Designed by the German artist Otl Aicher, Waldi was available as a furry toy during the Games. The pin version became available only several years later.

Matti Nykänen’s Olympic gold medal, Calgary 1988

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Matti Nykänen’s Olympic gold medal, Calgary 1988

Matti Nykänen was one of the best ski jumpers of all time. He won a total of five Olympic medals: gold and silver in Sarajevo 1984 and historically all three gold medals (normal hill, large hill and team competition) in Calgary 1988. In 1995 the Sports Museum of Finland acquired all Nykänen’s major championship medals by help of a public collection campaign.

On display here is the gold medal Matti Nykänen won in the large hill (90 m) competition at the Olympic Winter Games of 1988 in Calgary, Canada. The ”gold” medal is actually gilded silver and has a diameter of 69 millimetres. It was designed by Friedrich Peter. The reverse side features profiles of an Olympic champion and an Indian chief and equipment used in Olympic winter sports. The event in which the medal was won is inscribed on the edge of the coin.

Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi's coat

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Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi's coat

Winner of three gold and four silver medals in cross-country skiing, Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi (née) Hämäläinen is the most successful female athlete in Finland’s Olympic history. She took part in six Olympic Winter Games, which is also a Finnish record.

This overcoat, designed by Riitta Kuparinen and made by Luhta, was part of Finland’s team uniform at the Olympic Winter Games of 1988 in Calgary.

Mikael Forssell’s football boot

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Mikael Forssell’s football boot

Mikael Forssell is one of the best strikers in the history of the Finnish national team. He played in European top leagues for Chelsea, Birmingham City, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Hannover. He earned his first cap for Finland in 1999.

Forssell used these fully synthetic shoes made in Italy by Nike while playing for Birmingham City in the 2006-07 season.

Fencing mask

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Fencing mask

Fencing masks are mandatory protective equipment in a fast contact sport that uses pointy-edged weapons. The iron wire mesh is supported with a metal grid on the inside. Leather paddings give further protection to the ears, chin and forehead.

For centuries before becoming a competitive sport fencing was an integral part of training of military personnel. This 19th century mask was used by non-commissioned officer Josef Edvard Richter (1829–1910).

Hannes Kolehmainen’s spike shoe

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Hannes Kolehmainen’s spike shoe

Hannes Kolehmainen’s spike shoes play an interesting part in the history of Finnish sporting goods industry. In 1910 Arvo Hohenthal founded a company called Oy Urheilutarpeita – Sportartiklar Ab in Helsinki to sell sports implements, mainly javelins. Hannes Kolehmainen, who had already made a name for himself as runner, needed a new pair of shoes for the Stockholm Olympic Games of 1912. Hohenthal placed an order for him and travelled himself to London with exact measurements of the runner’s foot.

The shoes that arrived from London were too long and narrow, but it was too late to make any adjustments. Kolehmainen used the ill-fitting shoes in Stockholm and won three gold medals anyway. Hohenthal decided that Finnish athletes should never again need to suffer from sub-standard footwear. His company (later known as Karhu) started to manufacture sports shoes, including the ones Kolehmainen used to win Olympic gold in marathon in 1920.

Pesäpallo ball signed by Marshal Mannerheim

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Pesäpallo ball signed by Marshal Mannerheim

This leather ball was used in the 15th annual all-star game between East and West Finland, played in Jyväskylä on 11 September 1949. The Finnish Pesäpallo Association decided to use a ball that had been autographed by Marshal Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, Finland’s wartime leader and retired former President. The same ball was used in all East-West games until 1974.

The game in 1949 was played in pouring rain in front of 4,000 spectators and ended in a 9-9 tie.

Wooden skate with metal blade

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Wooden skate with metal blade

The first skates were made of animal bone. Bone skates were still in use on Finnish coastal areas in the 18th century. Metal blades were first adopted in the early 17th century in the Netherlands, where skating was a common means of travel on frozen canals.

The self-made wooden skates with metal blades in the collections of the Sports Museum were used at Malax on the western coast of Finland at the end of the 18th century. The skate was attached to the shoe with leather straps through the three holes seen on the side. The blade is fitted to a slot at the bottom and attached by nail and wooden wedge.

Pekka Päivärinta’s running cap

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Pekka Päivärinta’s running cap

Pekka Päivärinta was one of the best Finnish long-distance runners in the early 1970’s. He competed at the Olympic Games of 1972 and 1976 and won a total of 14 Finnish championship titles. His greatest achievement was victory at the inaugural World Cross-Country Championships in 1973.

Päivärinta was famous for always wearing a red-and-white cap while running, which earned him the nickname ”Lätsä-Pekka” (Pekka the Cap). Actually there were two caps, one for training and one for racing. Päivärinta donated the racing cap, sown by his wife Merja, to the Sports Museum in 1978.

Seppo Uusi-Oukari’s pesäpallo bat

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Seppo Uusi-Oukari’s pesäpallo bat

This pesäpallo bat made by Karhu belonged to Seppo Uusi-Oukari, who played for Kankaanpään Maila in the Finnish championship league from 1966 to 1983. He was the best hitter in the league six years in a row from 1971 to 1976 and won the Player of the Year award in 1976.

The wooden 513-M model bat is 100 centimetres long and 4.6 centimetres in diameter.

Tapio Rautavaara’s archery wrist pad

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Tapio Rautavaara’s archery wrist pad

This wrist pad was used by Tapio Rautavaara. He was the Olympic javelin throw champion from London 1948 and even better known in Finland as a popular singer and film star. After finishing his javelin career in the early 1950’s Rautavaara took up archery. He won his first Finnish championship title in 1955 and crowned his second sports career with World Champonship gold in team competition in Brussels 1958.

The leather pad protects the archer’s wrist from impact of the released string.

Olympic collection box

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Olympic collection box

This wooden cash box was used at coffee parties by Finnish-American societies in New York to raise funds for the Finnish Olympic team ahead of the 1932 Winter Games held in Lake Placid, N.Y. The collection drive held in the winter of 1931-32 – in the middle of the Great Depression – among Finnish immigrants in the United States and Canada yielded an impressive sum that eventually covered half of the travel expenses of the Finnish Olympic teams for Lake Placid and for the Summer Games held in Los Angeles.

The cash-strapped Finnish Olympic Committee could afford to send only seven athletes to the Winter Games in Lake Placid – and one of them had to pay for his own fare. This box was apparently handed to the team in New York on 20 February 1932, the date seen on the bottom with signatures of the Finnish athletes.

Kari Kinnunen’s ice hockey glove

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Kari Kinnunen’s ice hockey glove

This hockey glove made by Karhu was used by the defender Kari Kinnunen in the 1960’s. Kinnunen played for three Helsinki-based clubs in the Finnish championship league: Karhu-Kissat, HJK and Jokerit.

The leather glove, serial number 1623, was probably acquired in the mid-1960’s. These gloves were first introduced in Karhu’s product catalogue for the 1964-65 season.

Sword dance statue

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Sword dance statue

The Olympic art competitions were replaced in Helsinki 1952 by an art exhibition. On display were 181 works of art from 23 different countries. The categories were architecture, painting and graphic arts, sculpture, literature and music.

The artworks were returned to their owners after the exhibition. This wooden statuette by Balinese sculptor Idegede Petut Gede, titled Sword Dance, was a gift from the Indonesian team to Erik von Frenckell, President of the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games.

Paavo Nurmi tin candy box

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Paavo Nurmi tin candy box

Paavo Nurmi authorised Oy Karl Fazer Ab, the leading Finnish confectionary company, to use his name in peppermint candy boxes. Paavo Nurmi candies were on the market between 1926 and 1939.

The brass boxes were made by the company G.W. Sohlberg Oy. The picture of running Paavo Nurmi was taken from a series of photographs published in Nurmi’s biography by Toivo T. Kaila in 1925. The boxes were designed to fit into a vest pocket.

Janne Ahonen’s smart ski jumping shoe

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Janne Ahonen’s smart ski jumping shoe

Ski jumper Janne Ahonen has won two individual World Championship titles and several more in team competitions. He has also taken two Olympic silver medals in the team event.

Ahonen’s smartwear shoes are equipped with a measuring system that gives feedback to the athlete and the coach after each jump. Sensors in the shoe collect data on movements and pressures of the foot. After each jump the data is used in analysing the speed, timing and flight trajectory of the jump.

Janne Ahonen used these shoes in the 2007–2008 season, when he won his fifth Four Hills Tournament title. Analysis of data provided by the shoes showed that Ahonen was able to repeat his performances much more consistently than any other ski jumper.

The smart ski jumping shoe was a project funded by Tekes (Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation) and developed by the Tampere University of Technology and JALAS. Also involved were the Department of Biology of Physical Activity of the University of Jyväskylä, Nokia, the Finnish Skiing Association, Suunto and VTI Technologies. In spite of the equipment the smart shoes were actually lighter to wear than standard ski jumping shoes, courtesy of special materials provided by Amroy Europe Oy.

Racing helmet

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Racing helmet

There is no precise information about the owner of this car racing helmet, but it was used at the famous Eläintarha races in Helsinki between the 1940’s and 1960’s, probably in the F3 racing class.

The Eläintarha races took place on a narrow and winding circuit in the immediate vicinity of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium every May since 1932. They were discontinued after a deathly accident in 1963.

Hockey knee pad made by Karhu

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Hockey knee pad made by Karhu

This hockey knee pad was made of felt, hardened plastic and leather by Karhu in the 1950’s. It was used by students at the gymnastics institute of the University of Helsinki. Karhu began to manufacture ice hockey equipment as early as the 1930’s.

Hannu Manninen’s skiing boot

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Hannu Manninen’s skiing boot

Hannu Manninen is a legend in the sport of Nordic combined. He won four overall World Cup titles in a row between 2004 and 2007 and a record of 48 individual World Cup competitions. At major championship events Manninen was always unlucky: he won only one individual World Championship title in 2007 and Olympic gold in team competition in 2002.

Manninen used these skiing boots made by the Norwegian manufacturer Madshus in his last World Cup season 2010/11.

Miniature statue of Paavo Nurmi

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Miniature statue of Paavo Nurmi

This miniature statue is one of a series made in the 1950’s after the model of the famous running statue of Paavo Nurmi sculpted by Wäinö Aaltonen in 1925. Hundreds of miniature statues like this were sold to raise funds for a new sports hall at the Technological University campus at Otaniemi. Their exact number is not known.

A statue like this was used in a famous practical joke. In April 1961 Swedish marine archeologists were about to salvage the wreck of the Vasa, warship sunk in 1628 off the harbour of Stockholm. In the night before the ship was to be raised from the water, a group of Finnish student divers planted a statue to the ship’s deck, complete with the inscription in convincing Latin: ”Paavo Nurmi, the Great Finnish Runner”.

Basketball made by Karhu

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Basketball made by Karhu

This brown leather basketball was made by Karhu in 1951.

Basketball was still a young sport in Finland in the 1950’s. The national basketball association had been founded just before the war in 1939. This newcomer status was reflected in the fact that the balls used at the Olympic basketball tournament in 1952 were provided by Karhu’s Italian rival company. In most other sports the Olympic organisers favoured equipment produced by Finnish domestic manufacturers.

Teemu Selänne’s hockey shirt

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Teemu Selänne’s hockey shirt

Teemu Selänne began his NHL career with the Winnipeg Jets in 1992. In 1995 he moved to the Anaheim Ducks, where he played until 2001 and again from 2005 after intervening spells with the San Jose Sharks and the Colorado Avalanche.

The away jersey used by the Anaheim hockey team from 1993 to 2006 carried the team logo: a duck mask and two crossed sticks.  The duck logo was a product of the original owners of the team, The Walt Disney Company. The team was named after the movie The Mighty Ducks, distributed by Walt Disney Pictures in 1992. After ownership change the team was renamed as the Anaheim Ducks in 2006, and the logo was changed as well.

Teemu Selänne wore this jersey, manufactured by Nike, in the away game against the Ottawa Senators on 5 March 1997. He scored two goals as the Ducks won the game 4–1. Selänne wrote his name, the year and his player number 8 on the right side of the team logo on the chest.

Ten years later Selänne played against the same opponents when he won his only Stanley Cup championship. The Anaheim Ducks beat the Ottawa Senators 4 games to 1 to clinch the 2007 final series.

Pekka Tiilikainen’s overcoat

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Pekka Tiilikainen’s overcoat

Pekka Tiilikainen (1911–1976) was a legendary Finnish radio sports reporter famous for his patriotic flair. His career in broadcasting spanned almost 40 years. Tiilikainen used to collect badges from the various sports events he had covered and sew them onto his famous anorak. The number of badges grew over the years and finally reached 166. Tiilikainen also wore a matching hat that was likewise covered with badges.

Plaster head of Paavo Nurmi

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Plaster head of Paavo Nurmi

This plaster head of Paavo Nurmi was made by the sculptor Wäinö Aaltonen, probably simultaneously with his famous statue of the runner (1924–25). The portrait was donated to the Sports Museum by Mauno Mäki in February 1949.

Boxing glove from 1952 Olympic Games

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Boxing glove from 1952 Olympic Games

This boxing glove made by the Finnish manufacturer Karhu carries the signatures of all boxing gold medalists at the Helsinki Olympic Games of 1952.  The finals of the Olympic boxing tournament took place in Töölö Exhibition Hall on 2 August, one day before the closing ceremony of the Games. American boxers won five gold medals out of ten. The rest of the winners came from five different European countries.  Pentti Hämäläinen of Finland delighted the home crowd by winning gold in the bantamweight division.

Names on the glove:

Nathan “Nate” Brooks (USA), flyweight (51 kg)

Pentti Hämäläinen (Finland), bantamweight (54 kg)

Ján Zachara (Czechoslovakia), featherweight (57 kg)

Aureliano Bolognesi (Italy), lightweight (60 kg)

Charles Adkins (USA), light welterweight (63.5 kg)

Zygmunt Chychła (Poland), welterweight (67 kg)

László Papp (Hungary), light middleweight (71 kg)

Floyd Patterson (USA), middleweight (75 kg)

Norvel Lee (USA), heavy middleweight (81 kg)

Edward Sanders (USA), heavyweight (over 81 kg)

Hanno Möttölä's basketball shoe

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Hanno Möttölä's basketball shoe

Hanno Möttölä was the first Finnish player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He represented the Atlanta Hawks for two seasons between 2000 and 2002, after of which he played for many years in top European leagues.

The shoes made by Adidas are of the impressive size of 52 2/3. Möttölä’s height is 209 centimetres.

1952 Olympic tin candy box

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1952 Olympic tin candy box

The Organising Committee of the Helsinki Olympic Games authorised dozens of companies to use the Olympic rings in their marketing. The range of licensed products spanned from spoons to saunas and candies to car parts.

The Olympic candy boxes were made by Oy G.W. Sohlberg Ab. The same company made also Olympic needle plates, corkscrews, matchbox covers and flashlights.

Jari Litmanen's football jersey

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Jari Litmanen's football jersey

Jari Litmanen was Finland’s first world class football star. In 1995 he won the Champions League with Ajax Amsterdam and placed third in the vote for European Footballer of the Year (Ballon d’Or).

Litmanen wore this number 10 Ajax home shirt in the 1997–98 season, when the club won both the Dutch League and the Dutch Cup. Made by Umbro, the shirt features the logo of Ajax’s main sponsor ABN AMRO, the largest bank in the Netherlands. Litmanen’s signature can be seen on the back of the shirt.  Litmanen wore the number 10 shirt in the Finnish national team as well.

Discus made by Karhu

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Discus made by Karhu

This birchwood discus, made by Oy Urheilutarpeita Ab (later known as Karhu), was presented by a team of visiting Japanese student athletes to Jussi Tossavainen, manager of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium in July 1935. Signatures on the discus include those of Naoto Tajima and Masao Harada, who would win gold and silver in triple jump one year later at the Berlin Olympic Games. The group of fifteen Japanese athletes arrived in Finland on 20 July 1935, and took part at many athletics meets in the country.

The weight of the discus is only 1.5 kilograms instead of the regulatory 2 kg.

Football from the 1930' s

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Football from the 1930' s

This leather ball was used in the friendly match between Finland and Italy played in the Olympic Stadium of Helsinki on 20 July 1939. Silvio Piola scored a hat trick for the visitors, but Finland lost by only one goal, 2–3. That was considered a very good result, as the Italians had won the World Cup in 1934 and 1938 as well as Olympic gold in 1936.

Fibre hockey headgear made by Karhu

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Fibre hockey headgear made by Karhu

Karhu made three kinds of protective headgear for ice hockey players in the 1950’s. The most expensive version was made of leather. The fibre model pictured here was somewhat cheaper. The third type was reserved for junior players. All models were provided with foam rubber paddings.

Head protection was still largely neglected in the 1950’s. Helmets did not become mandatory in hockey rinks before the 1970’s.

Football boot made by Karhu

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Football boot made by Karhu

Football boots in the 1940’s had normally six studs. In Karhu’s boots each stud was usually attached with four nails, but in this pair only three nails were used.

Finnish national team players used this type of boots in the 1930’s and 40’s.

Sam the Eagle

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Sam the Eagle

The official mascot of the Los Angeles Olympic Games of 1984 was Sam, a bald eagle. He was designed by C. Robert Moore of The Walt Disney Company. The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States of America.