Hands-on Taipale wins double discus gold
Olympic debutant Armas Taipale was another outstanding Finnish athlete to prosper in Stockholm, winning two gold medals in the discus events.
The 21-year-old, whose birthday fell just two weeks after his successes in the Olympic Stadium, made his first outing on 12 July in the single-handed discus throw event.
He competed alongside 40 others, from 15 different countries – and the standard was high throughout the day. Taipale’s final throw of 45.21m was 4.32m further than the Olympic record, set at the previous edition of the Games. In fact, the 1908 benchmark was exceeded seven times in total during the competition in Stockholm. The Finn himself set a total of three Olympic records and won gold with ease – his best mark putting him almost three metres ahead of second-placed Richard Byrd’s furthest throw.
The two-handed discus event, which was making its first and last appearance at the Olympic Games, took place the following day. This time, 20 men competed and the outcome was a Finnish one-two. Taipale’s two best marks – his further left- and right-handed throws added together – totalled 82.86m, and this was enough to secure another impressive victory, with silver medallist Elmer Niklander finishing on 77.96m.
Taipale was not finished with the Games, as he went on to take part in the single-handed discus event in Antwerp eight years later. He was to be denied gold this time, as Niklander came out on top, but he still fared well enough to add a silver to his medal collection. He also competed in the shot put, finishing 10th. He was back, too, for a final attempt at the discus at the Amsterdam Games in 1928, but could only finish 12th on that occasion. By that point, he was living in the United States; though it was back in Finland in 1976 that he died at the age of 86.