—- The five gold medals won by one of the greatest Olympic champions in history will return to Paris in March for the first time since they were won in the French capital a century ago.

The press called him “The Flying Finn”, “The Phantom Finn” or “The Finnish Running Marvel”. In the 1920s, Paavo Nurmi, Finland’s middle and long distance running ace, was known across the world for his extraordinary human athleticism. Nurmi was a superstar whose fame transcended sports, his name and deeds headlined newspapers and filled out stadiums wherever he travelled.

Nurmi’s outstanding Olympic exploits in Paris 1924 established his enduring legend. His five victories there a century ago remain today the most athletics gold medals ever won at a single Games.

Thanks to the kind generosity of the Nurmi family, Nurmi’s set of five 1924 gold medals will go on display in the prestigious museum of the Monnaie de Paris on the left bank of the Seine in the heart of the French capital.

Nurmi’s Paris golds form part of a larger exhibition of Olympic medals. D’or, d’argent, de bronze. Une histoire de la médaille Olympique, organised by the museum of the French mint to mark the Olympic Games of Paris 2024, offers a fascinating exploration of the history of the Olympic medal, highlighting its evolution through the editions of the modern Olympic Games.

The exhibition opens for media preview on 26 March and to the public from 27 March to 22 September 2024.

Mika Nurmi, the grandson of Paavo, and Finland’s four-time Olympic champion Lasse Viren will be honoured guests at the press preview and public opening ceremony.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “World Athletics is delighted that the family of Paavo Nurmi, the Paavo Nurmi Games, the City of Turku and the museum of the Monnaie de Paris have partnered with our own Museum of World Athletics to return one of the most famous sets of Olympic medals to the French capital for the first time since they were won there a century ago.

“During the year of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, we are celebrating the outstanding achievements of The Flying Finn Paavo Nurmi who in 1924 won a still unsurpassed haul of five Olympic athletics gold medals in a single edition of the Games.

“As famous as the Hollywood stars of his day, lauded by US presidents, Nurmi was the first truly global sports star. Nurmi ended his career with nine golds and three Olympic silver medals and 22 ratified world records but his achievements in Paris 1924, including an outrageous 1500m and 5000m double won with only an hour rest between the two finals, marked the zenith of his career.

“When visiting Paris for this summer’s Olympic Games, I look forward to viewing this historic display of Nurmi’s golds. These five medals are the athletics centre piece of an impressive six-month exhibition of Olympic medals and coins staged in the neoclassical museum of the Monnaie de Paris, the world’s oldest continuously running mint.”

Chairman and CEO of Monnaie de Paris Marc Schwartz commented:“Presenting an extraordinary set of Olympic gold medals at the Monnaie de Paris Museum is truly an honour. Even years later, Paavo Nurmi stands out as one of the most renowned athletes of all time. The celebration of his accomplishments undoubtedly positions this collection as a highlight of our exhibition: ‘Gold, Silver, Bronze. A history of the Olympic Medal’. Come to see it in Paris!”

World Athletics Council Member and Chairman of the Paavo Nurmi Games Antti Pihlakoski said: “The Paavo Nurmi Games and Festival organisation is grateful to the Museum of the Monnaie de Paris and World Athletics and its Heritage Department for highlighting Paavo Nurmi and his unique career as an Olympic athlete. The display of his Paris 1924 medals serves not only to help a historical understanding of his feats but their continuing impact on society a century later.

“The mission of the Paavo Nurmi Games and Festival organisation, with the great support of the City of Turku, is to promote a diverse culture of physical activity in the name of Paavo Nurmi, catering to people of all ages, organising top-level sporting events, mass sports events for different age groups, and charity events, the proceeds of which are distributed to support physical activities for low-income families.

“We believe that Paavo Nurmi would be pleased that 100 years after his legendary Olympic success in Paris, his legacy continues to be an active part of his hometown City of Turku, Finland, and lives on in the international athletics and sporting community.”