Janis Lusis - U.S.S.R. - 1968 Olympic Games javelin Champion & four European wins.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 25 August 1975

Click on image to enlarge

      Friday, 19 May 1939
      Yelgava, Latvia. Died 29th April 2020 aged 80.
  • U.S.S.R.
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Janis LUSIS - U.S.S.R. - 1968 Olympic Games javelin Champion & four European wins.

 Janis Lusis died on 29th April 2020 aged 80.


Jānis Lūsis

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.