Yrjö Saarela

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Yrjö Saarela
Yrjo Saarela.jpg
Personal information
Birth nameYrjö Erik Mikael Sarkkinen
Full nameYrjö Erik Mikael Saarela
National teamFinland
Born(1884-07-13)13 July 1884
Oulujoki, Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire
Died30 June 1951(1951-06-30) (aged 66)
Liminka, Finland
Resting placeOulujoki parish church cemetery
OccupationFarmer
Height180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight82–86 kg (181–190 lb)
Spouse(s)Ester Elisabeth Markuksela
Sport
SportGreco-Roman wrestling
Weight classHeavyweight
Club
  • Oulunsuun Pohja (1906–1912)
  • Oulun Pyrintö (1924–)
Turned pro1912
Coached by Carl Allén

Yrjö Erik Mikael Saarela (13 July 1884 – 30 June 1951) was a Finnish wrestler, who won an Olympic gold and a world championship.

Contents

Wrestling

Saarela began wrestling in 1906, coached by Carl Allén. [1]

By 1908 he was a well-established wrestler and was nominated into the Finnish Olympic team without trials. [2]

He won silver at the 1908 Olympics, which was a single-elimination tournament:

Yrjö Saarela at the 1908 Summer Olympics Greco-Roman light heavyweight [3]
RoundOpponentResult
First roundFlag of Denmark.svg  Henri Nielsen  (DEN)Win by fall at 3:50
Second roundFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  Edward Nixson  (GBR)Win by fall at 2:31
Quarter-finalsFlag of Belgium (civil).svg  Marcel Dubois  (BEL)Win by fall at 12:24
Semi-finalsFlag of Denmark.svg  Carl Jensen  (DEN)Win by fall at 11:36
Final (best out of three)Flag of Russia.svg  Verner Weckman  (FIN)Win by fall at 4:22
Loss by fall at 5:07
Loss by fall at 16:10 Silver medal.svg

According to rumours, Weckman bribed Saarela to throw the final. [2] Modern sportswriters Arto Teronen and Jouko Vuolle consider that there is plenty of circumstantial evidence in favour. [4]

He won the Finnish national heavyweight championship in 1908 and 1909. [5] [6]

He won the over 83 kg class at the 1911 World Wrestling Championships. [7] [8]

Yrjö Saarela in the over 83 kg class at the 1911 World Wrestling Championships [9] [10]
OpponentResult
Flag of Russia.svg  Emil Backenius  (FIN)Undecided
Flag of Russia.svg  Alex Järvinen  (FIN)Win by fall at 2:34
Flag of Russia.svg  Adolf Lindfors  (FIN)Win by fall at 4:25
Flag of Russia.svg  Johan Olin  (FIN)Win by points

He won the Olympic gold at the 1912 Games, which was a double-elimination tournament:

Yrjö Saarela at the 1912 Summer Olympics Greco-Roman heavyweight
RoundOpponentResult
First roundFlag of Sweden.svg  David Karlsson  (SWE)Win by fall at 32:37
Second roundFlag of the German Empire.svg  Jean Hauptmanns  (GER)Win by walkover
Third roundFlag of Sweden.svg  Gustaf Lindstrand  (SWE)Win by fall at 6:12
Fourth roundFlag of Denmark.svg  Søren Marinus Jensen  (DEN)Win by fall at 3:36
Fifth roundFlag of Russia.svg  Johan Olin  (FIN)Loss by withdrawal at 6:00
Sixth roundFlag of the German Empire.svg  Jakob Neser  (GER)Win by fall at 6:00
Final roundFlag of Denmark.svg  Søren Marinus Jensen  (DEN)Win by withdrawal at 3:16:00
Flag of Russia.svg  Johan Olin  (FIN)Win by fall at 9:00 Gold medal.svg

The fifth round loss was a favour to Olin, who would've been eliminated otherwise. Saarela withdrew faking a knee injury. Olin returned the favour by letting him win the gold medal match, even though Saarela was exhausted after a three-hour bout against Jensen. [11] [12]

He began a brief professional career after the 1912 games, wrestling mostly in international circuses touring in Finland. [13] [14]

His amateur status was reinstated in 1924. [1] He returned to form at the age of 44, when he won Finnish national heavyweight championship bronze in 1929. [15] He was a regional coaching consultant in the Finnish Wrestling Federation in the 1930s. [16]

He received the Cross of Merit, in gold, of the Finnish Sports from the Ministry of Education in 1948. [17]

His Olympic medals are in the collection of the Sports Museum of Finland. [18]

Biography

His parents were Jaakko Sarkkinen and Maria Sunila, and he was born Yrjö Sarkkinen. They switched the last name after buying and moving to a farm named Saarela. He eventually inherited two thirds of the farm. [19]

He married Ester Elisabeth Markuksela in 1910. They had children: [20]

  1. Aino Kyllikki (1910–1972)
  2. Ahti Johannes (1912–1913)
  3. Erkko Olavi (1913–1972)
  4. Marja-Liisa (1915–1953)
  5. Yrjö Eino Mikael (1920–1940)
  6. Pentti Johannes (1922–1942)
  7. Pirkko Kaarina (1927–). She married economist Kaarlo Larna.

His personal economy suffered when had acted as a surety to loans that defaulted during the Great Depression. His farm bankrupted in 1931. However, thanks to an inheritance, he recovered quickly and returned to farming. [21]

He suffered a stroke in 1944 and was paralyzed. [21]

After he died, he was buried in his family plot. His name on the gravestone has an engraving of the Olympic rings. Saarela is the only Olympic winner from North Ostrobothnia. [22]

Sources

Literature

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References

  1. 1 2 Järvinen, Eino (1977). 70 vuotta suomalaista painia 1906–1976 (in Finnish). Helsinki: Finnish Wrestling Federation. p. 73.
  2. 1 2 Lintala, Esko (1984). Yrjö Saarela — painimattojen aristokraatti (in Finnish). Oulu: Lions Club Oulu-Oulujoki. pp. 45–46. ISBN   951-99570-3-0.
  3. Cook, Theodore Andrea (1909). The Fourth Olympiad London 1908 Official Report (PDF). London: British Olympic Association. pp. 335–337. Retrieved 26 March 2019 via LA84 Foundation.
  4. Teronen, Arto; Vuolle, Jouko (2013). Urheilun tunteita ja tarinoita. Kiveen hakatut (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kirjapaja. pp. 212–213. ISBN   978-952-247-437-7.
  5. Virtamo, Keijo; et al., eds. (1976). Fokus urheilu 2 (in Finnish) (4th ed.). Helsinki: Otava Publishing Company. p. 276. ISBN   951-1-00331-3.
  6. "1905–1909" (PDF). Suomen Painiliitto. Miesten kreikkalais-roomalaisen painin SM-kisojen tulokset 1898 - 2019 (in Finnish). Helsinki. p. 2. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  7. "World Championship Greco-Roman Seniors 1911-03-25 Helsinki (FIN) > 83.0 kg". Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland: United World Wrestling. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  8. Järvinen, Eino (1977). 70 vuotta suomalaista painia 1906–1976 (in Finnish). Helsinki: Finnish Wrestling Federation. p. 107.
  9. V. E. T. (April 1911). "Amatööri maailmanmestaruus painikilpailut Helsingissä maaliskuun 25, 26, 27 ja 28 p:nä 1911". Suomen Urheilulehti (in Finnish) (4/1911). Helsinki. p. 113. ISSN   0355-6085 . Retrieved 29 March 2019 via Digital Collections of National Library of Finland.
  10. Lintala, Esko (1984). Yrjö Saarela — painimattojen aristokraatti (in Finnish). Oulu: Lions Club Oulu-Oulujoki. p. 74. ISBN   951-99570-3-0.
  11. Erola, Lasse (2016). Suomalaisten olympiavoittojen tarinat (in Finnish). Helsinki: Paasilinna. pp. 18–19. ISBN   978-952-299-110-2.
  12. Teronen, Arto; Vuolle, Jouko (2011). Urheilijat maineen poluilla. Kiveen hakatut (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kirjapaja. pp. 244–245. ISBN   978-952-247-223-6.
  13. M-o-n-i (1939). Suomalaisia mestaripainijoita (in Finnish). Porvoo: Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö. p. 96.
  14. Lintala, Esko (1984). Yrjö Saarela — painimattojen aristokraatti (in Finnish). Oulu: Lions Club Oulu-Oulujoki. pp. 103–106. ISBN   951-99570-3-0.
  15. "1925–1929" (PDF). Suomen Painiliitto. Miesten kreikkalais-roomalaisen painin SM-kisojen tulokset 1898 - 2019 (in Finnish). Helsinki. p. 4. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  16. Lintala, Esko (1984). Yrjö Saarela — painimattojen aristokraatti (in Finnish). Oulu: Lions Club Oulu-Oulujoki. pp. 99–102. ISBN   951-99570-3-0.
  17. Lintala, Esko (1984). Yrjö Saarela — painimattojen aristokraatti (in Finnish). Oulu: Lions Club Oulu-Oulujoki. pp. 107–108. ISBN   951-99570-3-0.
  18. Teronen, Arto; Vuolle, Jouko (2011). Urheilijat maineen poluilla. Kiveen hakatut (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kirjapaja. p. 246. ISBN   978-952-247-223-6.
  19. Lintala, Esko (1984). Yrjö Saarela — painimattojen aristokraatti (in Finnish). Oulu: Lions Club Oulu-Oulujoki. pp. 8–9. ISBN   951-99570-3-0.
  20. Lintala, Esko (1984). Yrjö Saarela — painimattojen aristokraatti (in Finnish). Oulu: Lions Club Oulu-Oulujoki. pp. 111–112. ISBN   951-99570-3-0.
  21. 1 2 Teronen, Arto; Vuolle, Jouko (2011). Urheilijat maineen poluilla. Kiveen hakatut (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kirjapaja. p. 248. ISBN   978-952-247-223-6.
  22. Portaankorva, Juha (6 October 2009). "Painijalegenda sai renkaansa". Kaleva (in Finnish). Oulu. ISSN   0356-1356 . Retrieved 2 April 2019.