Jānis Daliņš (5 November 1904 in Valmiera, Livonian Governorate – 11 June 1978 in Melbourne, Australia) was a Latvian athlete who competed in race walking.
Jānis Daliņš was the first Latvian to win a medal at the
Olympic Games, he won silver in the 50 km race walk at the 1932 Summer Olympics. He also won the European Championships in the same distance in 1934 and set world records in several race walking distances. Daliņš' success made race walking one of the most popular athletics disciplines in Latvia, with two more Latvians winning Olympic medals: Adalberts Bubenko at the 1936 Summer Olympics and Aigars Fadejevs at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Daliņš is regarded as the best athlete of pre-
World War II Latvia. A phrase: " Ak, kaut man Daliņa kājas būtu" (" Oh, if only I had Dalins' legs", originally the title of a 1930s song) remains widely known in Latvia. Daliņš continues to remain a well known name in Latvia, with the stadium and a street in Valmiera retaining his name to this day. [1 ]
In fleeing the
Soviet Union's invasion of Latvia, Daliņš took his young family (wife Ella, sons Ivars and Jānis, daughter Rudite) to Australia, arriving on SS Skaugum in August 1949. He was initially placed in the [2 ] Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre in north east Victoria. Jānis worked as a carpenter in the rural town of Benalla building many homes in post-war Australia. After completing his contracted time working in Benalla, he moved his family to Melbourne. There he raised his children, enjoyed his favourite hobby (fishing) and saw 7 grandchildren born.
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