1916 Ab Sportartiklar Oy establishes a small workshop in downtown Helsinki where locally sourced birch was transformed into the first products: javelins, skis and discuses. It didn’t take long to realize that Finnish birch provided a distinct advantage – its light weight and flexibility helped athletes throw and glide farther and with more efficiency. Running spikes are also developed, and land in the U.S. at the feet of Hannes Kolehmainen, the first “Flying Finn,” and Ville Ritola, the “Flying Wolf,” who raced in Berwick, PA in 1917. Below right: Hannes Kolehmainen (#33) wins in Berwick, PA.

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