Janis Lusis, one of the world’s best javelin throwers of all time, succumbed to cancer aged 80 on Wednesday April 29.
Born in the Latvian city of Jelgava in 1939, he competed in four Olympic Games for the Soviet Union, which occupied his native Latvia in 1940.
Lusis is the only Latvian who have won a complete set of Olympic medals, winning gold in 1968, silver in 1972 and bronze in 1964.
In the final of the 1972 Games held in Munich, Lusis was the favourite having set a world record of 93.80 earlier in the year. The final was exceptionally closely fought. In the fifth round native West German, Klaus Wolfermann launched the javelin 90.48 meters. Janis Lusis fought back with a superb 6th and final effort, but came up a mere two centimeters short with 90.46.
Janis Lusis was the European Championship four times, 1962 Belgrade, 1966 Budapest, 1969 Athens and 1971 Helsinki.
The then IAAF, now World Athletics names him the greatest javelin thrower of all time in 1987 and he was inducted in IAAF Hall of Fame in 2014.