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Myyra adds to Finnish javelin legacy

Myyra adds to Finnish javelin legacy

10/07/1924

Look back at some of the competitors from the Olympic Games from the 1920s and 1930s, and the passage of time does not flatter. Some athletes can look pedestrian against the ultra-trained competitors of today, but the throwing action of Jonni Myyra would have been a class act in any generation.

 

Myyra arrived at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris with a fine pedigree in major international competition already under his belt.

It was a time when the Scandinavian powerhouses Finland and Sweden took it in turns to share the javelin spoils; it was a national sport in both countries.

Myyra finished eighth in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm and threw a marvellous Olympic record in Antwerp four years later to take the gold medal as Finns occupied all four top places.

That win was all the more remarkable after he was struck in the arm by a stray javelin thrown while he rested by the side of the athletics field.

Myyra easily qualified from the starting field of 29 throwers for the six-man final in Paris four years later.

The slow motion replay of Myyra’s winning throw could have been taken yesterday.

He accelerated beautifully at the end of his run-up, arching his back to a gravity-defying angle before unleashing a lightning fast throw out to the far reaches of the Olympic Stadium.

His winning throw of 62.96m was more than two metres further than any other athlete but some way short of the 65-66m of which he was capable. Second place went to Sweden’s Gunnar Lindstrom.

Lindstrom would break Myyra’s world record at a meeting in Sweden just months after his silver medal in Paris.

Discover the best photos of Paris 1924

  • Johnny Weissmuller (USA)

    A part of Hollywood legend for his role as Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller was nonetheless an accomplished swimmer. At the Paris 1924 Games, he won gold in the 100m freestyle, 400m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay. We see him here after his 400m freestyle surrounded by his fellow medal-winners, Sweden’s Arne Borg (2nd, on the right) and the USA’s Andrew Charlton (3rd, on the left)
    ©IOC

  • Paavo Nurmi (FIN)

    Finnish athlete Paavo Nurmi won five gold medals at the Paris 1924 Games. He won the individual cross country, team cross country, the 1500m, 5000m and the team 3000m events. On 10 July 1924, he won the 1500m before victoriously taking gold, 55 minutes later (!) in the 5000m

    ©IOC

  • Winner’s medal Paris 1924

    The reverse of the medal is occupied by the representation of an athlete helping one of his opponents to stand. This motif thus perfectly illustrates the solidarity that we expect from any athletes taking part in the Olympic Games. Besides this, the Olympic rings appear for the first time on a medal (they are visible here on the upper part of the medal)
    ©IOC

  • Liddell Chaired

    18th July 1924: Eric Liddell (1902 - 1945), winner of the 400 metres at the 1924 Paris Olympics, is paraded around Edinburgh University after his victory. He was known as the 'Flying Scotsman' and was immortalised in the film Chariots of Fire. (Photo by Firmin/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

  • Liddell Triumphant

    18th July 1924: Scottish athlete Eric Liddell (1902 - 1945) is paraded around Edinburgh University after winning the 400 metres at the 1924 Paris Olympics. Eric Liddell, known as the 'Flying Scotsman' went to the Paris Olympics in 1924 as the favourite t

  • Eric Liddell

    Scottish athlete and missionary, Eric Henry Liddell (1902 -1945) being carried round the streets after his Olympic victory. Eric Liddell, known as the 'Flying Scotsman' went to the Paris Olympics in 1924 as the favourite to win the 100 metres race but refused to run because he felt that running on a Sunday conflicted with his Christian beliefs. He won a bronze medal in the 200 metres event instead and then ran the 400 metre race despite having little experience at the distance. He not only won the gold medal but broke the world record by completing the race in 47.6 seconds, an achievement which is celebrated in the 1981 film 'Chariots of Fire'. Liddell gained two degrees, one in science and the other in divinity, before leaving Britain to work as a Scottish Congregational Church missionary in China as his parents had before him. Original Publication: People Disc - HG0205 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

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