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Paavo Yrjölä

Full name: Paavo Ilmari Yrjölä
Gender: Male
Height: 6-0 (183 cm)
Weight: 181 lbs (82 kg)
Born: June 18, 1902 in Hämeenkyrö, Pirkanmaa, Finland
Died: February 11, 1980 in Hämeenkyrö, Pirkanmaa, Finland
Affiliations: Tampereen Pyrintö, Tampere (FIN)
Country: FIN Finland
Sport: Athletics

Related Olympians: Brother of Iivari Yrjölä.

Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)

Biography

Known as the Bear of Hämeenkyrö (Hämeenkyrön karhu), Paavo Yrjölä was the son of a farmer and trained his whole career on the family farm with self-made equipment. Despite this, Yrjölä was the world’s top decathlete in the late 1920s. After finishing ninth in decathlon at the 1924 Olympics, Yrjölä set two decathlon world records – 7,820.93 (6,460) in 1926 and 7,995.19 (6,566) in 1927 – before the 1928 Olympics and was considered the clear favorite for Olympic decathlon gold. At the Olympics, Yrjölä did not disappoint, winning the Olympic gold with a world record of 8,053.29 (6,587), being the first man to better the mark of [Jim Thorpe] from the 1912 Olympics, and the first decathlete over 8,000 points on the 1912B tables. Yrjölä also competed in high jump and shot put at the Amsterdam Olympics, finishing 19th and 9th, respectively.

In 1930, Yrjölä almost set one more world record of 8,117.30 (6,700), but this was not officially ratified. It would have been a short-lived record anyway, as [Akilles Järvinen] set a world record of 8,255.475 (6,865) only 10 days later. Yrjölä retired from athletics after finishing sixth in decathlon at the 1932 Olympics. Domestically he won 11 Finnish titles – in 1925-26 in shot put, decathlon and pentathlon, in 1927 in decathlon and pentathlon, in 1928 in high jump and decathlon, and in 1929 in decathlon.

After retirement from Olympics, Yrjölä managed his family farm until his death in 1980. His older brother [Iivari] was also an international level decathlete who competed at the 1924 Olympics and was Finnish decathlon champion in 1923-24, and Paavo’s son Matti was an international level shot putter who competed at three European Championships, but never at the Olympics.

Personal Bests: HJ – 1.87 (1928); SP – 14.72 (1930); Dec – 6700 (1930).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Men's Decathlon Finland FIN 9
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Men's High Jump Finland FIN 19T QR
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Men's Shot Put Finland FIN 9 QR
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Men's Decathlon Finland FIN 1 Gold OR
1932 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Men's Decathlon Finland FIN 6

Men's High Jump

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank H
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Qualifying Round 19T 1.77
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Qualifying Round Group D 5T 1.77

Men's Shot Put

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank D
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Qualifying Round 9 14.01
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Qualifying Round Group B 5 14.01

Men's Decathlon

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank P(1912BT) P(1985T) T D H
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland Final Standings 9 6,548.5250 5.547
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland 100 metres 20T 714.4 643 11.8
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland 100 metres Heat Two 3 714.4 643 11.8
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland Long jump 17T 683.950 655 6.310
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland Shot put 1 OB 794.0 684 13.280
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland High jump 21T 538 464 1.60
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland 400 metres 18T 759.36 609 54.6
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland 400 metres Heat Four 2 759.36 609 54.6
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland 110 metre hurdles 22 639 429 18.8
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland 110 metre hurdles Heat Six 3 639 429 18.8
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland Discus throw 2 731.34 627 38.140
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland Pole vault 21T 341.2 293 2.73
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland Javelin throw 4 778.0750 632 52.930
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland 1,500 metres 14 569.2 511 5:08.6
1924 Summer 21 Paris Athletics Finland 1,500 metres Heat Four 2 569.2 511 5:08.6
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Final Standings 1 OR 8,053.290 6.587
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland 100 metres 16T 714.4 643 11.8
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland 100 metres Heat One 2 714.4 643 11.8
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Long jump 11 784.40 748 6.72
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Shot put 1 OB 877 735 14.11
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland High jump 1T 916 687 1.87
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland 400 metres 14T 812 667 53.2
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland 110 metre hurdles 8T 848 641 16.6
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Discus throw 1 OB 881.44 707 42.09
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Pole vault 5T 649 431 3.30
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland Javelin throw 3 854.250 673 55.70
1928 Summer 25 Amsterdam Athletics Finland 1,500 metres 4 716.8 655 4:44.0
1932 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Finland Final Standings 6 7,687.990 6.385
1932 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Finland 100 metres 13 714.4 643 11.8
1932 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Finland Long jump 11 752.55 718 6.59
1932 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Finland Shot put 4 834 709 13.68
1932 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Finland High jump 4T 748 585 1.75
1932 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Finland 400 metres 7 834.56 693 52.6
1932 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Finland 110 metre hurdles 10T 810.0 599 17.0
1932 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Finland 110 metre hurdles Heat One 3 810.0 599 17.0
1932 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Finland Discus throw 5 831.28 680 40.77
1932 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Finland Pole vault 10T 541 381 3.10
1932 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Finland Javelin throw 4 865.800 680 56.12
1932 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Finland 1,500 metres 3 756.4 697 4:37.4
1932 Summer 30 Los Angeles Athletics Finland 1,500 metres Heat One 1 756.4 697 4:37.4
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