Béla Szepes, or Vojtech Strauch to give him his original Slovak name, was a pioneer in Hungarian winter sports but later became better known as one of the world’s top javelin throwers. He first came to prominence as the winner of the inaugural Hungarian national ski jumping championship, a title he won five times in all, and went on to complete in that discipline at the 1924 Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix. In truth his first Olympic experience was underwhelming as he failed to finish the 18 km cross-country skiing event and was a lowly 23rd of 25 in the ski jumping portion of Nordic combination. From then on his career as a javelin thrower took precedence and he won the first of his five national titles in 1925. Szepes was ranked in the world’s top 10 from 1926 to 1930 with a personal best of 66.70m recorded at a time when he was based in Berlin. As well as his Olympic silver medal from 1928 he also won three AAA javelin championships (1925, 1927, 1929) on visits to Great Britain. Following his return to Hungary in 1933 he worked as a ski instructor, as a journalist and cartoonist with a variety of newspapers and, from 1938, as coach to the national athletics team. After the Second World War he concentrated on his career as a graphic artist and his cartoons and caricatures were very popular in his home country. He later branched out into designing sporting trophies including the original trophy for the Europa Cup athletics competition.
Personal Best: JT – 66.70 (1929).
Athlete Olympic Results Content
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