Lauri Pihkala

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Lauri Pihkala
Lauri Pihkala 2.jpg
Personal information
Born 5 January 1888
Pihtipudas, Finland
Died 20 May 1981 (aged 93)
Helsinki, Finland
Height 179 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 79 kg (174 lb)
Sport Athletics
Event(s) 800 m, high jump, discus throw
Club HKV, Helsinki
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 800 m – 1:58.1 (1911)
HJ – 1.75 m (1909)
DT – 31.40 m (1906)[1]
A 1988 postage stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lauri "Tahko" Pihkala.

Lauri "Tahko" Pihkala (born Gummerus, 5 January 1888 – 20 May 1981) was the inventor of pesäpallo, the Finnish variant of baseball.[2] In 1969 he became one of the first persons to receive an honorary doctorate in Sport Sciences from the University of Jyväskylä, together with president Urho Kekkonen and Professor Kaarina Kari.

Pihkala competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics and ranked 16th in the high jump. He also participated in the discus throw event but his result is unknown. At the 1912 Summer Olympics he was eliminated in the first round of the 800 m competition.[1] In the 1910s he became the first Finnish professional coach in athletics, and also worked as a physical education instructor with the Finnish Army.[2]

Pihkala was known for being an avid sports fan, and he developed several outdoor games.

During the Finnish Civil War he was responsible for propaganda in the White Guard flying unit "Devils of Kuhmoinen" of major Hans Kalm.

Pihkala was also a right-wing political activist. He supported eugenics as a means to improve the military prowess of the Finnish people.


  1. ^ a b Lauri Pihkala.
  2. ^ a b Lauri Pihkala (1888-1981). Suomen urheilun Hall of Fame

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