Our next stop was the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, designed and constructed between 1934 and 1938, with the intent to host the 1940 Summer Olympics. The Games, however, were cancelled due to World War II; the Stadium hosted the 1952 Summer Olympics over a decade later instead. The stadium was completely modernized in 1990–1994 and also renovated just before the 2005 World Championships in Athletics. In 2006 the American TV series The Amazing Race had one of its episodes ending at The Olympic Stadium Tower. As a task, teams had to do a face-first rappel (known as the Angel Dive) down the Helsinki Olympic Tower.
At the entrance to the Stadium there is a statue of Paavo Johannes Nurmi, a Finnish middle and long-distance runner. He was nicknamed the “Flying Finn,” as he dominated distance running in the early 20th century. Nurmi set 22 official world records at distances between 1500 metres and 20 kilometres, and won a total of nine gold and three silver medals in his twelve events in the Olympic Games. At his peak, Nurmi was undefeated at distances from 800 m upwards for 121 races. Throughout his 14-year career, he remained unbeaten in cross country events and the 10,000 m.