FILE PHOTO: Janis Lusis, Latvia’s 1968 Summer Olympics gold medallist in javelin throw, runs in a relay race during an attempt to break the Guinness world record for “the most participants taking part in a 100 meter relay over 24 hours” in Riga October 18, 2008. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins (LATVIA)
(Reuters) – Latvia’s former Olympic javelin champion Janis Lusis has died of cancer at the age of 80, the global governing body of athletics said in a statement here
Lusis, who competed in four Olympic Games between 1964 and 1976 representing the Soviet Union, won a bronze medal in Tokyo 1964 before clinching gold in Mexico City four years later.
Considered one of the greatest javelin throwers of all time, Lusis earned a full set of Olympic medals by winning the silver in the Munich Games in 1972.
He also won four European titles and set two world records – 91.98m in 1968 and 93.80m in 1972 – during an international career that spanned 15 years, following which he worked as a coach and official in Latvia.
A four-times European champion, Lusis set two world records in his 15-year international career and in 2014 was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the International Association of Athletics Federations – now World Athletics.
He married 1960 Olympic champion Elvira Ozolina in 1969 and their son Voldermars is also an international javelin thrower who competed at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.
Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar