Paavo Nurmi (1897–1973) was one of the greatest athletes ever, and he had the wins to show it. For some time, his name was synonymous with speed, endurance and grace – if you did something the way Nurmi ran, you did good. But Nurmi's story had its more depressing side: He was accused of violating his amateur status. He died in disgrace, if fondly remembered. PAAVO NURMI – THE MAN AND HIS TIMES is not so much a portrait of the runner as a vision of his time(s): Here, Nurmi is an icon, an epitome. More than most other works by von Bagh, this one has a strident rigor to it, a focused sense of ritual that fits the subject perfectly.