22 OCT 2005 General News Four

Lasse Viren donates bronze statue to the IAAF

Lasse Viren donates bronze statue to the IAAF (Getty Images)Lasse Viren donates bronze statue to the IAAF (Getty Images) © Copyright

time Olympic champion and three time World record breaker Lasse Viren has agreed to donate one of the small bronze replicas of the statue of himself which stands outside the Helsinki Olympic stadium to the IAAF.

Viren's replicas are extremely rare, and only given to VIPs and real friends of Finland.

Viren set a World record over Two Miles (8:14.0) less than a month before the 1972 Olympics.

In the Olympic 10,000m final at Munich on 3 September, Viren was following a World record pace set by Dave Bedford when, in the 12th lap, he got involved in a tangle and fell down. Viren immediately got to his feet and quickly re-caught the pack. With 600 metres to go, he started a sprint for home, running away to win the gold medal in a new World record time of 27:38.4.

Viren won his second Olympic gold medal seven days later in a sprint finish at 5000m, and four days later in Helsinki established a briefly held World record for 5000m too (13:16.4).

Amazingly Viren successfully defended both his titles at the 1976 Olympic Games, and came fifth in the Marathon, the closest anyone has come to matching the 1952 Olympic feats of Emil Zatopek.

He was also European bronze medallist at 5000m in 1974 and placed 5th in the 1980 Olympic 10,000m.

At the recent World Athletics Gala held in Monaco, Viren was honoured by the IAAF and presented with the Distinguished Career Award.

Viren's bronze statue will be auctioned soon and all profits will be donated to the United Nations Associations: FAO, UNICEF and WFP.