Athletics at the 1980 Summer Olympics – Men's javelin throw

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Men's javelin throw
at the Games of the XXII Olympiad
Venue Lenin Stadium
Dates July 26-27
Competitors 18 from 11 nations
Winning distance 91.20
1st, gold medalist(s) Dainis Kūla
2nd, silver medalist(s) Aleksandr Makarov
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Wolfgang Hanisch
← 1976
1984 →
Athletics at the
1980 Summer Olympics
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The men's javelin throw event at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Soviet Union had 18 competitors in one qualifying group. The qualifying round was staged on July 26, with the automatic qualifying mark set at 80.00 metres (262.47 ft). Twelve advanced to the final, which took place the following day.

The Soviet Union's Dainis Kūla and Aleksandr Makarov won gold and silver, amid allegations that Soviet officials had favored their own athletes.



The qualification was held in rainy conditions, and several favorites had difficulties getting through.[1] All three Soviet throwers and Hungary's defending champion Miklós Németh reached the automatic qualifying mark (80.00 m) in the first round, but the other Hungarian, Ferenc Paragi, who had broken the world record earlier in 1980, only got a good throw in the third and final qualification round,[1] and East Germany's Detlef Michel, who was one of the favorites and would win the World Championship in 1983, failed to qualify.[1]

Only ten athletes reached the automatic qualification mark, so Detlef Fuhrmann and Stefan Stoykov qualified despite not reaching the mark.[1]


The favorites in the final were Paragi, the three Soviets and East Germany's Wolfgang Hanisch, a three-time medalist at European Championships.[1] Hanisch was an early leader after throwing 86.72 m in the first round, closely followed by two Soviets, Heino Puuste and Makarov, and Finland's Antero Puranen. Paragi had problems with his technique and failed to get a good throw, and the third Soviet thrower, Dainis Kūla, had no valid mark after two rounds.[1]

In the third round Paragi got his best throw, 79.52 m, but it wasn't enough to move him to the top eight that would qualify for rounds four to six. Kūla, on the other hand, stayed in the competition as his third throw was measured as 88.88 m and he took the lead.[1]

In round four Kūla improved further to 91.20 m, the eventual winning distance. Makarov got his best throws in rounds five and six and took silver ahead of Hanisch.[1]


Kūla's third throw[edit]

Dainis Kūla's third throw immediately became controversial as it landed almost completely flat (rather than point first), and a flat throw should have been ruled illegal; had that ruling been made, Kūla would have been out of the last three rounds. It was also claimed the throw's distance had been exaggerated, with the actual distance being around 87 m.[1][2]

Flat or ambiguously flat throws were not uncommon with the old javelin designs then used, nor were "generous" judgments by officials.[3] Kūla's case, however, gained much notoriety as it not only secured him Olympic gold, but fit into a wider pattern of Soviet officials favoring their own athletes at the 1980 Olympics.[2]

Opening the gates[edit]

Another controversy surrounded Soviet officials opening the stadium's gates when Soviet athletes were throwing, letting more wind in to aid the throws.[1][2][4] In Finland (which had three athletes in the final), the gate issue spurred much discussion and lived on in public memory for a long time;[4] Kūla was greeted with shouts of "open the gates!" when he competed in the 1983 World Championships in the Finnish capital, Helsinki,[5] and when the 2013 World Championships were held in Moscow the gate controversy again became a talking point.[4][6]


In the media of javelin-crazy Finland, the usually friendly attitude towards the Soviet Union was seriously dented by the javelin final as mainstream newspapers criticized the officials.[2] Jim Dunaway, writing for the American magazine Track & Field News, was even more negative in opining that "the competition should be voided by the IAAF and either held again at some future date, or removed from the Olympic records."[7] However, no official complaints or protests were filed, and the original results were allowed to stand.[1][2]


Gold Dainis Kūla
 Soviet Union
Silver Aleksandr Makarov
 Soviet Union
Bronze Wolfgang Hanisch
 East Germany


Qualification Round
26.07.1980 – 12:25h
Final Round
27.07.1980 – 17:15h


  • All results shown are in metres
Q automatic qualification
q qualification by rank
DNS did not start
NM no mark
OR olympic record
WR world record
AR area record
NR national record
PB personal best
SB season best


Standing records prior to the 1980 Summer Olympics
World Record  Ferenc Paragi (HUN) 96.72 m April 23, 1980 Hungary Tata, Hungary
Olympic Record  Miklós Németh (HUN) 94.58 m July 25, 1976 Canada Montreal, Canada


Rank Athlete Attempts Distance
1 2 3
1  Ferenc Paragi (HUN) X 72.60 88.76 88.76 m
2  Wolfgang Hanisch (GDR) 75.24 85.82 85.82 m
3  Dainis Kūla (URS) 85.76 85.76 m
4  Miklós Németh (HUN) 84.84 84.84 m
5  Antero Puranen (FIN) 74.78 84.02 84.02 m
6  Aleksandr Makarov (URS) 83.32 83.32 m
7  Heino Puuste (URS) 82.96 82.96 m
8  Justin Arop (UGA) 63.02 76.64 82.68 82.68 m
9  Aimo Aho (FIN) 70.84 78.50 82.12 82.12 m
10  Pentti Sinersaari (FIN) X 80.30 80.30 m
11  Detlef Fuhrmann (GDR) 72.12 X 78.80 78.80 m
12  Stefan Stoykov (BUL) 70.62 78.74 71.00 78.74 m
13  Detlef Michel (GDR) 73.30 78.34 X 78.34 m
14  David Ottley (GBR) X 77.20 71.94 77.20 m
15  Dariusz Adamus (POL) 69.68 75.72 76.82 76.82 m
16  Zakayo Malekwa (TAN) 71.58 X 61.66 71.58 m
17  Inoussa Dangou (BEN) 54.20 63.56 X 63.56 m
18  Milkessa Chalchisa (ETH) X 51.04 47.68 51.04 m


Rank Athlete Attempts Distance
1 2 3 4 5 6
1st, gold medalist(s)  Dainis Kūla (URS) X X 88.88 91.20 X X 91.20 m
2nd, silver medalist(s)  Aleksandr Makarov (URS) 85.84 83.48 X 84.40 88.04 89.64 89.64 m
3rd, bronze medalist(s)  Wolfgang Hanisch (GDR) 86.72 73.74 84.04 X X X 86.72 m
4  Heino Puuste (URS) 86.10 X X X 86.10 m
5  Antero Puranen (FIN) 85.12 X X 78.14 X 82.94 85.12 m
6  Pentti Sinersaari (FIN) 75.08 84.34 82.86 X X X 84.34 m
7  Detlef Fuhrmann (GDR) 68.44 81.02 81.44 83.50 80.42 80.96 83.50 m
8  Miklós Németh (HUN) 76.60 74.06 81.46 81.38 82.40 76.22 82.40 m
9  Aimo Aho (FIN) 75.82 80.58 78.86 80.58 m
10  Ferenc Paragi (HUN) X 75.46 79.52 79.52 m
11  Stefan Stoykov (BUL) 77.32 74.38 79.04 79.04 m
12  Justin Arop (UGA) 53.56 77.34 X 77.34 m

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Siukonen, Markku; et al. (1980). Urheilutieto 5 (in Finnish). Oy Scandia Kirjat Ab. ISBN 951-9466-20-7. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Suomalainen näkökulma Moskovan olympiakisoihin sanomalehdistössä kesällä 1980" (PDF) (in Finnish). Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  3. ^ Erich Bremicker. "Why did the senior javelin specification have to be changed?". Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Vares, Vesa (August 9, 2013). "Kun Moskovan stadionin portit olivat auki: ”Olympialaiset, joilla Neuvostoliitto pelasti maailman”" (in Finnish). Suomen Kuvalehti. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  5. ^ Pekola, Tapio; et al. (1983). Yleisurheilun MM-kisakirja Helsinki '83 (in Finnish). Juoksija. ISBN 951-9465-05-7. 
  6. ^ "Tämä on keihäshistorian kuuluisin portti" (in Finnish). Iltalehti. August 15, 2013. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Athletics at the 1980 Moskva Summer Games: Men's Javelin Throw". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved May 8, 2014.