Kirjailija David O. Stewart kävi tutkimassa Hannes Kolehmaisen jalanjälkiä Kuopiossa heinäkuussa. Kuva- ja tekstikaappaus Davidin blogista.
Nancy and I had an itinerant summer, with four stops to explore the 1912 Stockholm Olympics -- the first successful Olympiad, often remembered as "The Sunshine Games." I'm focusing on seven amazing athletes who were there, including Jim Thorpe, future general George Patton, Hawaiian swimmer/surfer Duke Kahanamoku, and Englishman Philip Noel-Baker, the only person to win an Olympic medal and the Nobel Peace Prize.
We began in Kuopio, Finland. Novelist Jouni Tossavainen showed us the hometown of Hannes Kolehmainen, the first "Flying Finn" and the best distance runner the world had yet seen. Jouni's novel unpacks "Smiling Hannes," a national hero through iFinland's 20th-century struggles with Russia. (Jouni and I are at Hannes'.statue in Kuopio.)
At Helsinki's Tahto Olympic Museum, I expected a quick tour and some time quizzing Ossi Viita, vice director and author of the leading Kolehmainen biography. I got those PLUS five boxes of archival materials, including Smiling Hannes' running diaries (some in English!). So I started madly taking notes, scanning the best stuff and marveling at my good fortune. Next morning, in front of Hannes' home, the camera caught up with Ossi.
Next came Stockholm and the Stadion, the arena built for the Sunshine Games, which is still in use. Daniel Björk, deputy director there, showed us every corner of this historic venue (host also to the Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson!) We're standing near the royal box, with the field before us.
I loved the Stadion's "Wall of Fame," which highlights the people I'm writing about, and especially its image of General George Patton. Evidently dissatisfied with Patton's actual photos, the Stadion used one of the actor George C. Scott portraying the general in the movie!
I mostly reserch at the Library of Congress or online, but nothing beats seeing where it happened, taking in original documents and artifacts. So we went to the Olympic Study Centre of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Lake Geneva. A great setting.
That's as good as research gets, especially with my personal goddess gracing the days..