Paavo Johannes Nurmi was a Finnish long distance runner. He was born in 1897 and died in 1993. He was known as the 'Flying Finn', and won nine Olympic gold medals, including five at the 1924 Games. He broke 20 world records in 16 separate events ranging from the 1,500 metres to the 20,000 metres. Through his achievements and his scientific approach to training and racing he transformed competitive running in the 1920s. He set his first world record 1921 in the 10,000 metres, and his last in 1931 when he became the first man to beat nine minutes in the two miles. At the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp he won the 10,000 metres and individual and team cross country titles, but could only finish second in the 5,000 metres; a defeat which prompted him thereafter to run with a stop watch so that he could pace himself better. Whatever the benefits of this innovation, four years later at the Paris Olympics he was unbeatable, winning gold medals in the 1,500 metres, 5,000 metres, individual and team cross country, and the 3,000
metres team event; his victories in the first two races coming within an hour of each other. In 1925, on a celebrated tour of the USA, he won 53 of 55 indoor races. At the 1928 Olympics he won the 10,000 metres and won silver medals in the 5,000 metres and 3,000 metres steeplechase to bring his tally of medals to 12, including 9 golds. In 1932 he was controversially disqualified from competing in the Los Angeles Olympics for an alleged breach of the amateur code.
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The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most important steeplechase run in England at level weights with all competitors carrying 12 stone, unlike the Grand National which is a handicap. The race is run in mid- March during the National Hunt meeting at Cheltenham over 5250 meters.
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The Grand National Steeplechase is the most famous horse-race in the world for jumpers. It was first run in England in 1839 and is now a handicap for horses, geldings and mares, six years old and upwards who have fulfilled certain qualifications in their previous appearances on the race-course. It is run near the end of March at Aintree near Liverpool over a course of 4 miles 856 yards with thirty jumps.
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Hurdling is an athletics activity with the 110 meters and 400 meters events for men and the 100 meters for women featuring on the programme of all major championships. There are ten flights of hurdles in each event, being 3.5 feet high in the 100 meters event, 2.5 feet high in the 200 meters, 3 feet for the 400 meters and 2. 75 feet high in the women's 400 meters event. The first hurdling event took place in 1850, and was a 3000 meters steeplechase. The first 120 yards hurdles race took place at the Oxford University Sports in 1864.
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Middle-Distance Running is the track events in athletics, beyond the range of sprinting, but short of the broad classification of long-distance running. Middle-distance events on the programmes of major athletics championships are the 800 meters, 1500 meters and 3000 meters steeplechase for men, and the 800 meters for women.
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Originally a steeplechase (steeple-chase) was a trial of speed and jumping powers between two or more horses across the country between two church steeples (the track being chosen for the difficulty of the terrain including ditches, hedges and the like which had to be jumped). Today, the course is a regular race course with artificial fences for the horses to jump.
In athletics, the 3000 meters steeplechase is a hurdling event for men on the programme of all major athletics championships.
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Aintree is a town in Merseyside, England. It is famous as the home of the Grand National Steeplechase. The racecourse first opened in 1829 on land leased from the Earl of Sefton.
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Purler is British slang for a headlong fall (originally a heavy fall from a horse during a steeplechase).
Purler is Australian slang for something outstanding in its class.
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