|Olavi Suomalainen wins Boston Marathon in April 1972.|
Finland had won Boston seven times before already, the last four of them in a row from 1959-1962. After that there was a more quiet period without major victories. Interval training, the cornerstone of training in the 1960ies, seemed like the magic bullet at first, but then failed to produce further improvements.
Arthur Lydiard's new controversial training method helped Finnish distance runners get to the top of the world in the 1970ies. Lydiard replaced interval training with a huge aerobic base. At first most people were reluctant to believe in big mileage training followed by a short intense period to peak for a key race.
The real significance of Olavi Suomalainen's 1972 Boston Marathon victory was that it proved without a doubt to all Finnish runners and coaches that Lydiard's method was working for real. With this newfound confidence, Pekka Vasala won 1,500 meters Olympic gold in Munich. Lasse Viren won both 5,000 and 10,000 meters at 1972 and 1976 Olympics.
|Mr. Suomalainen kisses the 1st official female Boston Marathon winner Nina Kuscsik.|
In April 2012, Olavi Suomalainen visited Boston once more. He was recognized by the Boston Athletic Association at its Champion's Breakfast. The fastest Finnish participant finished with a net time of 3:26 - 2,608th position out of 21,616 runners. The previous year Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya had run the fastest marathon ever in Boston, 2:03:02. Many things had changed in four decades.
|Olavi was invited to visit Boston once more in April 2012.|