Matti Järvinen, Finland

Matti Järvinen

World Records: 71.57m (234’ 9”)         Viipuri, Finland          8 Aug 1930

71.70m (235’ 3”)         Tempere, Finland       17 Aug 1930

71.88m (235’ 10”)       Vaasa, Finland            31 Aug 1930

72.93m (239’ 3”)         Viipuri, Finland          14 Sep 1930

74.02m (242’ 10”)       Turku, Finland            27 Jun 1932

74.28m (243’ 8”)         Mikkeli, Finland         25 May 1933

74.61m (244’ 9”)         Vaasa, Finland            7 Jun 1933

76.10m (249’ 8”)         Helsinki, Finland        15 Jun 1933

76.66m (251’ 6”)         Turin, Italy                  7 Sep 1934

77.23m (253’ 4”)         Helsinki, Finland        18 Jun 1936

Matti Järvinen dominated javelin throwing throughout the 1930s. His first interest was baseball, but tried the javelin at age 17 and set the first of 10 world records in 1930, when he was 21. He came from a famous athletic family. His father, Verner – known in Finland as „Isa” (father) Järvinen – won the discus (Greek-style) gold medal at the 1906 interim Olympic games in Athens.

Verner Järvinen had very strong views on sport. The household was run along military lines to develop his sons’ sporting talents. It appeared to work. The eldest son, Yrjo, became a top javelin thrower and was third in the 1924 Finnish championships. The second son, Kalle, was ninth in the shot put at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. The third son, Akilles, became the world record holder in the decathlon. And the youngest son, Matti, was Olympic champion and multiple world record holder in the javelin.

After Matti Järvinen set four world records in 1930, his career had a glitch in 1931, when the Finnish Athletic Union suspended him for two months for „behavior unsuited to an athlete” on a trip to Helsinki. It is not clear what his crime was.

He traveled to Los Angeles in 1932 and comfortably won the gold medal, leading a Finnish sweep of the javelin medals. He also won the European Championship in 1934 and again in 1938. He was of course the overwhelming favorite for the 1936 Berlin Olympics but sustained a major back injury shortly before the Games commenced. He competed anyway, finishing fifth with 69.18 meters (227’ 0”). The event was won by the German Gerhard Stock with 71.84 meters (235’ 8”).

Järvinen won his last Finnish javelin title in 1942, at the age of 33. His hobbies were boxing and playing the violin.

source: World Record Breakers in Track & Field Athletics

Go back