Heikki Savolainen (gymnast)

Heikki Ilmari Savolainen (28 September 1907 – 29 November 1997) was a Finnish artistic gymnast. He competed in five consecutive Olympics from 1928 to 1952 and won at least one medal in each of them.[1] In 1928, he won a bronze on pommel horse, which was the first-ever medal in gymnastics for Finland. Winning his last medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, he became the oldest gymnastics medalist, at 44 years old; he delivered the Olympic Oath in the opening ceremony of the 1952 games.[2] In 1932, Savolainen and his teammate Einari Teräsvirta had the same score on horizontal bar, but the Finnish team voted to give the silver medal to Savolainen. In 1948, he again had the same score as teammates Veikko Huhtanen and Paavo Aaltonen on pommel horse, and the gold medal was shared among the three.[3]

Heikki Savolainen
Savolainen at the 1932 Olympics
Personal information
Full nameHeikki Ilmari Savolainen
Country represented Finland
Born(1907-09-28)28 September 1907
Joensuu, Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire
Died29 November 1997(1997-11-29) (aged 90)
Kajaani, Finland
Height172 cm (5 ft 8 in)
Weight62–66 kg (137–146 lb)
DisciplineMen's artistic gymnastics
Medal record

Additionally, he competed at the 1931 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships where, although he was the first-place finisher in the all-around combined exercises, he was not termed "world champion" because there was a special clause to the rules that in order for any individual to be properly termed 'World Champion', they had to demonstrate a certain level of competency among all 14 events, scoring at least 60% of all of the points that could be possibly awarded on each event, which he did not do. Nevertheless, he did win an individual gold medal at those 1931 Worlds on the horizontal bar apparatus.[4]

At the world championships, Savolainen won only one medal, a team silver in 1950. Domestically, he collected 20 titles between 1928 and 1950, including six individual all-around titles in 1928–37.[3]

Savolainen at a field hospital in his wartime duties as a physician with the rank of major

Savolainen graduated as a physical education teacher in 1931, and a Doctor of Medicine in 1939, after which he started working as a doctor in his hometown Kajaani, Finland. During the Winter War he served with the rank of lieutenant colonel as the head doctor in a military hospital. In parallel, Savolainen worked for the Finnish sports magazine Urheilulehti in 1932–37. From 1946 to 1959, he served as vice-president of the Finnish Gymnastics Federation, and in 1946–56 as president of gymnastics federation of Kajaani, the town where he lived most of his later life.[3]

Savolainen is the only Finnish gymnast inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame (2004).[5]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Heikki Savolainen at the International Gymnastics Federation
  2. ^ IOC 1952 Summer Olympics. olympic.org
  3. ^ a b c Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Heikki Savolainen". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  4. ^ Huguenin, Andre. 100 Years of the International Gymnastics Federation: 1881-1981 (PDF). Translated by Unger, Beatrice. International Gymnastics Federation. pp. 84–85.
  5. ^ "HEIKKI SAVOLAINEN". International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Retrieved 12 May 2007.

External links edit