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The Most Famous

ATHLETES from Estonia

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This page contains a list of the greatest Estonian Athletes. The pantheon dataset contains 3,059 Athletes, 28 of which were born in Estonia. This makes Estonia the birth place of the 37th most number of Athletes behind Latvia and New Zealand.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Estonian Athletes of all time. This list of famous Estonian Athletes is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Estonian Athletes.

Photo of Jüri Lossmann

1. Jüri Lossmann (1891 - 1984)

With an HPI of 54.79, Jüri Lossmann is the most famous Estonian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages on wikipedia.

Jüri Lossmann (4 February [O.S. 23 January] 1891 – 1 May 1984) was an Estonian long distance runner. He finished second in the marathon at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, at 2:32:48.6, trailing Hannes Kolehmainen by 13 seconds, but beating the third-placed Valerio Arri by almost 4 minutes. At the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris he was the flag bearer for Estonia and finished tenth in the marathon.

Photo of Alfred Schmidt

2. Alfred Schmidt (1898 - 1972)

With an HPI of 54.51, Alfred Schmidt is the 2nd most famous Estonian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Alfred Schmidt (from 1936 Ain Sillak, 1 May 1898 – 5 November 1972) was an Estonian featherweight weightlifter who won a silver medal at the 1920 Summer Olympics.Schmidt first trained in long-distance running, and took up weightlifting in 1919 while serving in the Estonian Army. Next year he won an Olympic silver medal, and in 1922 a national title. At the 1922 World Championships he was not allowed to compete, as he surpassed the body weight limit of his division, and hence acted as an official and referee. He continued to act in this capacity after retiring from competitions in 1923. He also refereed wrestling competitions and was a board member of the Estonian Sports Union. Later he became known as a trap shooter and referee, and headed the Estonian Trap Shooting Federation.

Photo of Jüri Tamm

3. Jüri Tamm (1957 - 2021)

With an HPI of 54.22, Jüri Tamm is the 3rd most famous Estonian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Jüri Tamm (5 February 1957 – 22 September 2021) was an Estonian hammer thrower and politician. Representing the USSR, he won a bronze medal in the 1980 and 1988 Summer Olympics and a silver medal at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics. He set the world record for the hammer in 1980.

Photo of Aleksander Klumberg

4. Aleksander Klumberg (1899 - 1958)

With an HPI of 53.34, Aleksander Klumberg is the 4th most famous Estonian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Aleksander Klumberg (since 1936 Kolmpere; 17 April 1899 – 10 February 1958) was an Estonian decathlete. He competed in several events at the 1920 and 1924 Olympics and won a bronze medal in the decathlon in 1924. In 1922 he became the first official world record holder in the decathlon, albeit with a performance inferior to the Stockholm 1912 series of Jim Thorpe.Klumberg took up athletics around 1912, and in 1915–17 held Russian records in several jumping and throwing events. Besides athletics he won three Estonian titles in bandy. In 1918–19 he fought in the Estonian War of Independence as a volunteer, and after that worked as a physical education instructor with the Estonian army (1919–20), military schools (1924–26) and police schools (1927 and 1942–44). He also trained the national athletics teams of Poland (1927–32) and Estonia, and in this capacity attended the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics. He was arrested by NKVD in 1944 and kept in a prison camp in the Soviet Far East until 1956. He is buried at the Rahumäe cemetery in Tallinn.

Photo of Harald Tammer

5. Harald Tammer (1899 - 1942)

With an HPI of 49.98, Harald Tammer is the 5th most famous Estonian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Harald Tammer (9 January 1899 – 6 June 1942) was an Estonian journalist, athlete and weightlifter. As a heavyweight weightlifter he won a world title in 1922 and a bronze medal at the 1924 Olympics. As an athlete he competed in the shot put at the 1920 and 1924 Olympics and came sixth and twelfth, respectively. He served as the Olympic flag bearer for Estonia in 1920, and as a representative of the Estonian Olympic team in 1928 and 1936.

Photo of Jaak Uudmäe

6. Jaak Uudmäe (1954 - )

With an HPI of 48.70, Jaak Uudmäe is the 6th most famous Estonian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Jaak Uudmäe (born 3 September 1954) is an Estonian former triple jumper and long jumper who competed for the Soviet Union. He was the gold medalist at the 1980 Summer Olympics. He set a personal best of 17.35 m (56 ft 11 in) in his Olympic victory – a mark which remains the Estonian record.In 1979 and 1980 Uudmäe was acknowledged as Estonia's Sportsman of the Year. In 1980 Uudmäe's coach Jaan Jürgenson was nominated as the USSR Coach of the Year and Jaak himself as USSR Master Sportsman of the Year. He was the runner-up at the 1979 Soviet Spartakiad, behind Gennadiy Valyukevich.His sons Jaanus Uudmäe and Jaak Joonas Uudmäe are also both long/triple jumpers.

Photo of Jaan Kikkas

7. Jaan Kikkas (1892 - 1944)

With an HPI of 48.46, Jaan Kikkas is the 7th most famous Estonian Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Juhan "Jaan" Kikkas (5 June 1892 – 9 March 1944) was an Estonian middleweight weightlifter. He won a bronze medal at the 1924 Summer Olympics, setting a world record in the snatch.Kikkas first trained as a cyclist, and changed to weightlifting in 1921, aged 29. Next year he placed fourth at the world championships. In 1925 he won his only national weightlifting title. After retiring from competitions he ran his metal workshop in Tallinn. He died there in 1944 during a Soviet air raid.

Photo of Jüri Tarmak

8. Jüri Tarmak (1946 - )

With an HPI of 47.15, Jüri Tarmak is the 8th most famous Estonian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Jüri Tarmak (21 July 1946 – 22 June 2022) was an Estonian high jumper who competed for the Soviet Union.

Photo of Arnold Luhaäär

9. Arnold Luhaäär (1905 - 1965)

With an HPI of 46.14, Arnold Luhaäär is the 9th most famous Estonian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Arnold Luhaäär (20 October 1905 – 19 January 1965) was an Estonian heavyweight weightlifter. He competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics and 1936 Summer Olympics and won a silver and a bronze medal, respectively. He missed the 1932 games because Estonia could not afford sending a full team to Los Angeles during the Great Depression.Luhaäär took up weightlifting in 1919 and won the national title in 1926, 1928, 1932–34 and 1936–38. In 1931 he also won the national Greco-Roman wrestling championships. Besides his Olympic medals he placed third at the 1938 World Championships and set a world record in the clean and jerk in 1937. After retiring from competitions he worked as a sports official and referee. In 1935–40 and 1945–52 he was a board member of the Estonian Weightlifting Federation, and in 1946–48 headed sport club Spartak Tallinn. Since 1992 an annual weightlifting tournament has been held in his hometown of Mõisaküla in his honor.

Photo of Ilmar Kullam

10. Ilmar Kullam (1922 - 2011)

With an HPI of 45.91, Ilmar Kullam is the 10th most famous Estonian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Ilmar Kullam (15 June 1922 in Tartu – 2 November 2011 in Tartu) was an Estonian basketball player who competed for the Soviet Union in the 1952 Summer Olympics. He trained at VSS Kalev in Tartu.He was a member of the Soviet team, which won the silver medal. He played all eight matches.

Pantheon has 28 people classified as athletes born between 1891 and 1990. Of these 28, 17 (60.71%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living athletes include Jaak Uudmäe, Jüri Tarmak, and Jaan Talts. The most famous deceased athletes include Jüri Lossmann, Alfred Schmidt, and Jüri Tamm. As of April 2022, 2 new athletes have been added to Pantheon including Jaan Talts and Kalevi Kotkas.

Living Athletes

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Deceased Athletes

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Newly Added Athletes (2022)

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Which Athletes were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 10 most globally memorable Athletes since 1700.