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Gallery: 60 years since Helsinki Olympics

This year's Olympics start in London next week, but 60 years ago on Thursday the summer sport festival opened in Helsinki.

Finnish running legend and national hero Paavo Nurmi carried the Olympic torch into the opening ceremony in front of 70,000 fans on July 19, 1952.

Athletes from 67 participating countries marched into the stadium in chilly, damp conditions before the release of 2,500 doves signalled the start of the Helsinki Olympics. The games were held 12 years late, after the 1940 Olympics were cancelled because of the Second World War.

The Helsinki games spawned an assortment of commemorative paraphernalia. Postcards, scarves, ties, knives, coffee, tea and marmalade were some of the goodies bearing the host city's name.

Olympic collector Reino Laakso's extensive assortment of memorabilia is currently on display at the Lieto Vanhalinna museum just outside Turku's city centre.

Wonder what Helsinki was like in the run-up to the 1952 Olympics? Check out this short film narrated in English from the Yle archives.

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