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Jonni Myyrä

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameJoonas "Jonni"•Myyrä
Used nameJonni•Myyrä
Born13 July 1892 in Savitaipale (FIN)
Died22 January 1955 in San Francisco, California (USA)
Measurements186 cm / 80 kg
AffiliationsPartakosken Into, Savitaipale (FIN) / Savitaipaleen Urheilijat, Savitaipale (FIN) / Lahden Ahkera, Lahti (FIN)
NOC Finland

Biography

Jonni Myyrä, the best javelin thrower of the world in the early 1920s, made his international début before the World War I, at the 1912 Olympics, where he placed eighth. After the war, Myyrä won his only two Finnish javelin titles in 1917 and 1918. In 1919, Myyrä threw his only ratified world record 66.10 m, a mark that stood until 1924. Later, Myyrä would better his official world record several times, but they were never ratified for various reasons, including his eventual personal best of 68.55, thrown in Richmond, Virginia in 1925. At the 1920 Olympics, Myyrä was resting on the grass before the javelin competition when his left, non-throwing arm, was struck near the elbow by American James Lincoln’s warm-up throw. Despite that Myyrä managed to throw 60.63 during the first three rounds, enough to advance him to the evening final. On his fifth throw (his second throw of the final) Myyrä threw a new Olympic record of 65.78 m to win the gold. Four years later, at the 1924 Olympics, Myyrä successfully defended his title. After the 1924 Olympics, facing alleged financial irregularities in Finland, Myyrä emigrated to the United States and settled in San Francisco, where he invented a number of training methods that are still in use today. He is regarded as a pioneer of strength training and founder of the Finnish dominance in the javelin for many years.

Myyrä’s story was told in the 2001 book Sankari vai konna by Antti Arponen and Seppo Hakuli, which translates into English as Hero or Crook. They note that he was the bank manager in Savtaipale for many years before emigrating to the USA, but after his departure it was discovered that thousands of markka had disappeared, and certain of his activities had adversely affected local businesses and families with sums in excess of 1 million markka. Myyrä never returned to Finland.

Personal Bests: DT – 44.57 (1926); JT – 68.55 (1925).

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1912 Summer Olympics Athletics FIN Jonni Myyrä
Javelin Throw, Men (Olympic) 8
1920 Summer Olympics Athletics FIN Jonni Myyrä
Discus Throw, Men (Olympic) 12 r1/2
Javelin Throw, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
Pentathlon, Men (Olympic) AC
1924 Summer Olympics Athletics FIN Jonni Myyrä
Javelin Throw, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold