Bengt Sjöstedt

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Bengt Sjöstedt
Bengt Sjöstedt 1932.jpg
Sjöstedt in 1932
Personal information
Born2 November 1906
Tenala, Finland
Died16 July 1981 (aged 74)
Porvoon maalaiskunta, Finland
Height182 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight73 kg (161 lb)
Sport
SportAthletics
Event(s)Hurdles
ClubHIFK, Helsinki
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)110 mH – 14.4 (1931)[1]

Bengt Olof Albert "Benkku" Sjöstedt (2 November 1906 – 16 July 1981)[2] was a Finnish hurdler. He equalled the world record for 110 m hurdles in 1931 and competed at the 1928 and 1932 Summer Olympics.

Career[edit]

Sjöstedt was Finland's first international-level 110 m hurdler.[3] He had a habit of toppling one or two hurdles in most races, which cost him several Finnish records; the rules at the time stated a time was invalid for record purposes if any hurdles were knocked down, although disqualification from the race itself wouldn't result unless three or more hurdles were knocked down.[3]

In 1926 Sjöstedt placed a close second to Erik Wilén at the Finnish championships; later that year he beat Wilén in a time of 15.3, under Wilén's Finnish record of 15.5, but he knocked down hurdles and thus missed out on a new record.[3] In 1927 he won his first national title and placed a close third behind two Swedes, Sten Pettersson and Carl-Axel Christiernsson, at the Finland-Sweden Athletics International; the Swedes were both Olympic finalists from 1924.[3] Sjöstedt's time in that race was 15.0,[4] but again the knock-down rule cost him the Finnish record.[3]

Sjöstedt ran a wind-aided 14.9 at the Finnish tryouts for the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam and was accordingly selected.[3] At the Olympics he ran 15.0 in his heat and 15.1 in his semi-final; he failed to qualify for the final.[2] Later that year he ran 15.4 in Tampere without knocking down a hurdle, his first official Finnish record.[3]

Sjöstedt stayed in consistent form in 1929 and 1930 before reaching his peak in 1931.[3] He ran 14.6 without toppling hurdles twice that summer, but at the Finland-Sweden International he knocked down three hurdles and was disqualified, leaving the victory for Pettersson.[3] He defeated Pettersson by more than three metres in a rematch at Helsinki on 5 September, equalling the world record with his time of 14.4.[3]

At the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles Sjöstedt again failed to make the final, placing second in his heat with a time of 14.9 and fifth in his semi-final.[2][4] He was no longer in his 1931 shape, lacked the consistency of the winning Americans and suffered from sciatica at the Olympics.[3]

Sjöstedt stayed in good shape for several more years after Los Angeles, running 14.6 to defeat Germany's Erwin Wegner and Willi Welscher in a dual meet in 1935.[3][4] His 1931 time of 14.4 remained the world record until 1934[5] and the Finnish national record until 1967, when Matti Harri and Antti Lanamäki both ran 14.3.[6] Sjöstedt is the only Finn to have held a world record in a hurdling event.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bengt Sjöstedt. trackfield.brinkster.net
  2. ^ a b c "Bengt Sjöstedt". Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Jukola, Martti (1935). Huippu-urheilun historia (in Finnish). Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö.
  4. ^ a b c Bengt Sjöstedt at Tilastopaja (in Finnish) (registration required)
  5. ^ Butler, Mark; IAAF Media & Public Relations Department (2011). IAAF Statistics Handbook Daegu 2011. International Association of Athletics Federations.
  6. ^ a b "Löpning" (in Swedish). Uppslagsverket Finland. Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014.