"At the glorious 1932 Olympic Game, the Finnish athlete Volmari Iso-Hollo was hot favourite to break the world record for 3,000 meter steeplechase. Roaring into the lead from the first lap, he was on target for a new time and turned the corner expecting to hear the bell for the final lap.

"At this point one of the Olympic all-time greats intervened. The official lap-counter was, in fact, looking the wrong way, being absorbed in the decathlon pole vault nearby. He failed to ring the bell, and the entire field kept on running.

"When he finally got back on the job, Iso-Hollo completed the race in 10m 33.4s. It was the slowest-ever time for the 3,000 metres steeplechase, but then they did run an extra 450 metres."

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