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Kustaa Pihlajamäki

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 3
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameKustaa Kustaanpoika•Pihlajamäki
Used nameKustaa•Pihlajamäki
Born7 April 1902 in Nurmo, Seinäjoki (FIN)
Died10 February 1944 in Helsinki (FIN)
Measurements169 cm / 56-66 kg
AffiliationsHKV, Helsinki (FIN) / Helsingin Poliisi-Voimailijat, Helsinki (FIN)
NOC(s) Finland


Kustaa Pihlajämaki is considered Finland’s greatest wrestler. He won three Olympic medals, including gold in 1924 freestyle bantamweight and 1936 freestyle featherweight, while taking silver in 1928 freestyle featherweight. He and Carl Westergren are the only two wrestlers to have won gold medals 12 years apart. Pihlajämaki won eight European titles, six in Greco-Roman featherweight (1930-31, 1933-34, 1937-38) and two in freestyle featherweight (1931, 1937). He also earned freestyle lightweight silver at the 1931 European Championships and freestyle featherweight silver at the 1937 European Championships, but never competed at the World Championships. Domestically, Pihlajamäki won a record 28 Finnish titles: 14 in freestyle featherweight (1924-25, 1927-28, 1930-31, 1933-34, 1935-39, 1943), 12 in Greco-Roman featherweight (1925, 1927, 1929-31, 1934, 1936-37, 1940-43) and two in freestyle lightweight (1926 and 1932). Pihlajämaki came from a family of great wrestlers. His brothers, Arvi and Paavo, won multiple Finnish championships, and his cousin Hermanni won two Olympic medals, including gold in freestyle featherweight in 1932. By profession Kustaa was a policeman, working as a sergeant with the Helsinki police force from 1925 until his untimely death in 1944, perishing during the Russian bombing raid on Helsinki in February 1944. A statue in his honor has been erected in Helsinki in 1956 and, in 2005, Pihlajamäki was the first Finnish wrestler to be elected to the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame.


Games Discipline (Sport) Event Status Team Pos Details
1924 Summer Olympics Wrestling Bantamweight, Freestyle, Men Olympic 1 Gold Representing Finland    
1928 Summer Olympics Wrestling Featherweight, Freestyle, Men Olympic 2 Silver Representing Finland    
1932 Summer Olympics Wrestling Lightweight, Freestyle, Men Olympic AC Representing Finland    
1936 Summer Olympics Wrestling Featherweight, Freestyle, Men Olympic 1 Gold Representing Finland    

Olympic family relations