Swede smell of success for Lundqvist in javelin

Scandinavian dominance in the javelin has long been the preserve of the Finns yet at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam it was an agile Swede who took the plaudits.

Using an explosive run-up and whiplash action not dissimilar to the leading throwers of today, Erik Lundqvist looked full of confidence in the competition’s four-group format. Favourite for the event had been Finn Eino Penttila but the occasion got to him and all he could muster was a throw good enough for sixth place. A sign painter by trade, Lundqvist sent the javelin out to an Olympic record distance of 66.60m, well over a metre clear of his nearest rival, the Hungarian Bela Szepes.

With the neat touch of miniature national flags marking the competitors’ best throws, the blue and yellow of Sweden stood some distance ahead of its rivals. The versatile Szepes had represented Hungary at the Winter Olympics in Chamonix four years earlier but had failed to win a medal in the Nordic Combined.

Lundqvist won gold at the age of 20 years and a month to become the youngest person to ever win gold in the event. Thirteen days later he became the first man in history to break the 70m landmark when he threw 71.01m, breaking the record set by Penttila. His was one of seven Swedish golds in Amsterdam, leaving them fifth in the overall medals table.