Cross Country Running

Cross country running has featured in three summer Olympics, in 1912, 1920, and 1924. There was one race held each Olympiad, with the results from the first three competitors for each nation to finish in this event also counted towards the cross country team result.

In 1920 in Paris, the legendary Finnish running Paavo Nurmi won the team and individual titles. The 1924 event was won by Nurmi again, however 23 of the 38 starters failed to finish the race due to the extreme heat and poisonous fumes from a nearby energy plant. Subsequently cross country running was dropped from the Games and has never returned.

Cross country running is still an event at the Olympic Games, though it is contested only as the fifth discipline of the modern pentathlon.

There is some lobbying for a cross-country running event to be included in the Winter Olympics program.

cross-country runners cross-country runners

Individual Results

1912

  1. Hannes Kolehmainen (Fin) 45:11.6
  2. Hjalmar Andersson (Swe) 45:44.8
  3. John Eke (Sweden) 46:37.6

1920

  1. Paavo Nurmi (Fin) 27:15.0
  2. Eric Backman (Swe) 27:17.6
  3. Heikki Lilmatalainen (Fin) 27:37.4

1924

  1. Paavo Nurmi (Fin) 32:54.8
  2. Ville Ritola (Fin) 34:19.4
  3. Earl Johnson (USA) 35:21.0

Team Event Results

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