The first two names that come to mind when you think about Soviet hammer throwing are Yuriy Sedykh, and Sergey Litvinov. Often overlooked on the podium is Jüri Tamm. Tamm, who also briefly held the world record, won the bronze medal at both the 1980 and 1988 Olympics and the silver at the 1987 World Championships. His personal best of 84.40 meters ranked third all-time during most of his career and still ranks in the top eight and is the Estonian national record nearly 30 years later. In summary, there is no reason he should be overlooked. If he threw in any other era he would have more gold medals and accolades than anyone in history.
Unlike Bondarchuk and Sedykh, who remain active as coaches, Tamm has drifted away from hammer throwing. Since retirement he has found success in business, politics, and sports administration. He served in the Estonian parliment for 12 years and also previously served as the vice president of the Estonian Olympic Committee. This year he began a new role as the chief of staff for world pole vault record holder Sergey Bubka. Bubka is the president of the Ukranian Olympic Committee, a vice president of the IAAF, and a member of the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board. Tamm travelled with Bubka to a recent IOC meeting in Lausanne, where I had the chance to meet the legend in person and get him talking about the glory days for a few hours. The first part of the edited interview is below. Visit later in the week to read the rest.