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Yrjö Saarela

Full name: Yrjö Erik Mikael Saarela
Gender: Male
Height: 5-10.5 (180 cm)
Weight: 82-86 kg
Born: July 13, 1882 in Oulujoki, Oulu, Pohjois-Pohjanmaa, Finland
Died: June 30, 1951 in Liminka, Pohjois-Pohjanmaa, Finland
Affiliations: Oulunsuun Pohja, (FIN)
Country: FIN Finland
Sport: Wrestling

Medals: 1 Gold, 1 Silver (2 Total)

Biography

Yrjö Saarela went to the 1908 Olympics as one of the main favorites for the Olympic light-heavyweight gold medal and, after defeating four of his opponents by fall, lost the final by fall to Verner Weckman and had to settle for silver. By winning heavyweight titles at both the 1911 World Championships and 1912 Olympic Games, Saarela established himself as the world’s best amateur heavyweight wrestler at the start of the 1910s. Saarela also won Finnish heavyweight titles in 1908 and 1909, but then turned professional after the 1912 Olympics. Saarela's brief professional career was interrupted by World War I and, after the conflict, he moved back to his family farm and worked the rest of his life as a farmer. In the 1920s he also acted as a wrestling coach with Oulun Pyrintö and the Finnish national wrestling team.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1908 Summer 25 London Wrestling Men's Light-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman Finland FIN 2 Silver
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Wrestling Men's Heavyweight, Greco-Roman Finland FIN 1 Gold

Men's Light-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank Date Result
1908 Summer 25 London Wrestling Finland FIN Final Round Match 1/2 2 1908-07-22 Weckman (FIN) 2-1 (fall by (4:22)/fall (5:07)/fall (16:10)), Saarela (FIN)
1908 Summer 25 London Wrestling Finland FIN Semi-Finals Match #1 1 1908-07-22 Saarela (FIN) fall (11:36), Jensen (DEN)
1908 Summer 25 London Wrestling Finland FIN Quarter-Finals Match #3 1 1908-07-22 Saarela (FIN) fall (12:24), Dubois (BEL)
1908 Summer 25 London Wrestling Finland FIN Round Two Match #5 1 1908-07-22 Saarela (FIN) fall (2:31), Nixson (GBR)
1908 Summer 25 London Wrestling Finland FIN Round One Match #9 1 1908-07-22 Saarela (FIN) fall (3:50), Nielsen (DEN)

Men's Heavyweight, Greco-Roman

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank Date Result
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Wrestling Finland FIN Final Round One Match #1 1 1912-07-14 Saarela (FIN) fall (3-16), Jensen (DEN)
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Wrestling Finland FIN Final Round Two Match #2 AC 1912-07-14 Saarela (FIN)
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Wrestling Finland FIN Final Round Three Match #1 1 1912-07-14 Saarela (FIN) fall (9:00), Olin (FIN)
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Wrestling Finland FIN Round Six Match #1 1 1912-07-12 Saarela (FIN) fall (6:00), Neser (GER)
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Wrestling Finland FIN Round Five Match #1 2 1912-07-12 Olin (FIN) retired (6:00), Saarela (FIN)
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Wrestling Finland FIN Round Four Match #2 1 1912-07-12 Saarela (FIN) fall (3:36), Jensen (DEN)
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Wrestling Finland FIN Round Three Match #1 1 1912-07-12 Saarela (FIN) fall (6:12), Lindstrand (SWE)
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Wrestling Finland FIN Round Two Match #2 AC 1912-07-09 Saarela (FIN)
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Wrestling Finland FIN Round One Match #1 1 1912-07-07 Saarela (FIN) fall (32:37), Karlsson (SWE)
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