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Jānis Dāliņš

Full name: Jānis Dāliņš
Gender: Male
Height: 5-10.5 (180 cm)
Born: November 5, 1904 in Valmiera, Valmiera, Latvia
Died: June 11, 1978 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Affiliations: Valmieras Sporta Biedrība
Country: LAT Latvia
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 1 Silver (1 Total)


Jānis Dāliņš started quite late with his sport, participating in his first race at the age of 22, but much to everybody’s surprise, he won the race beating the Latvian record holder. Only a few months later he set his first Latvian record over the 5K distance. He competed in his first international race in 1929 in Berlin. Thanks to his international success, race walking became quite popular in Latvia. In a track race in Rīga in June 1932, he set his first world record in a 25-mile race. In Los Angeles, he was one of only two athletes from the country, and Dāliņš was the first Latvian to win an Olympic medal for his country. His second major success came in 1934 at the first European Athletics Championships in Torino, where he won the title by a great margin. In 1936 he was a heavy favorite in the Olympic 50 km, and led the race at 30 km, but had to abandon the race at 35 km due to problems with his legs.

After the Berlin Olympics Dāliņš focused more on his farm and family but was still planning to participate in the 1940 Helsinki Games. In 1942, he won his last Latvian title during the German occupation. In 1944, he fled with his family from the Soviet invasion to Germany, and won his last race in 1947 in Nürnberg. Five years later he went to Australia, where he worked as a carpenter first in the rural town of Benalla and later in Melbourne. Even before the restoration of Latvian independence in 1991, the stadium in his hometown of Valmiera as well as the street running along the stadium was named after him.

Personal Best\: 50kmW – 4-37:50 (1939).


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1932 Summer 27 Los Angeles Athletics Men's 50 kilometres Walk Latvia LAT 2 Silver
1936 Summer 31 Berlin Athletics Men's 50 kilometres Walk Latvia LAT AC DNF

Men's 50 kilometres Walk

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(H)
1932 Summer 27 Los Angeles Athletics Latvia Final Standings 2 4-57:20
1936 Summer 31 Berlin Athletics Latvia Final Standings AC DNF
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