Janis Lusis was undefeated in the Javelin Throw in 1969 and his wins
included his third European Championships title at Athens on 19
September. At the next European Championships held in Helsinki in 1971,
he became the first athlete to win the European title four times in
the same event. His winning throw of 90.68m was more than five metres
further than his nearest opposition. Lusis had lost his World Record to
Jorma Kinnunen (Finland) in 1968, but he regained it at Stockholm on 6
July 1972 with a throw of 93.80m. He seemed ideally prepared to defend
his Olympic title at Munich on 3 September 1972.
Lusis took the lead in
the first round and extended it in round three with a throw of 89.54m.
In round five, the West German, Klaus Wolfermann, backed by enormous
home crowd support, took the lead with an Olympic Record of 90.48m.
Lusis kept his cool, and just as he had done four years earlier,
unleashed his longest throw on his last attempt. It was measured at
90.46m, just two centimetres shorter than Wolfermann's, and Lusis had to
be content with a silver medal.
Lusis continued to compete for several
more years, but his best years were behind him. He finished sixth at
Rome in 1974 when attempting to win his fifth European title, and 8th at
the 1976 Olympic Games held in Montreal. He had always supported
international matches by his active participation, and in fact had the
record for the most appearances (10) by a male athlete in USSR v USA
matches. In a UK v USSR match at Crystal Palace, London on 25 August
1975 he finished second with a throw of 77.02m (see photo above) behind countryman Nikolay Grebnyev. (Ron Casey).
He married to Elvīra Ozoliņa, the 1960 Olympic javelin champion. Their son, Voldemārs Lūsis, was also a javelin thrower who competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics and 2004 Summer Olympics.