July 5, 2022
Jiri Tarmak (est. Jüri Tarmak, Tallinn, July 21, 1946 — June 22, 2022) was an Estonian athlete who competed for the USSR. He was a high jump specialist and gold medalist at the 1972 Summer Olympics. His father Adu Tarmak was the national discus champion in 1943/1944. In the beginning, Tarmak played basketball and volleyball, and by the way, he also sometimes practiced athletics. He was tall and slender, which were the right predispositions for a high jump. The beginning was humble. As a 17-year-old, he jumped only 1.75 m. Two years later, he managed to reach 2 m, but he still needed 20 cm to become one of the world leaders. In 1966, as a 20-year-old, he achieved his first success with a jump of 2.10 m at the Soviet Junior Championship. In 1970, he became a member of the Soviet athletics team. His coaches were Viktor Vaiksar in Tallinn and Pavel Gojtsman in Leningrad, where he studied and was a member of AK Dinamo from Leningrad. In 1971, he won a silver medal at the European Indoor Championships in Sofia, and the following year at the same competition, a bronze in Grenoble. He experienced the pinnacle of his career in 1972, winning the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Munich. He was the last Olympic winner, who used the then outdated straddle jumping technique. Tarmak showed a great interest in astronomy in his youth. In Leningrad, he studied at the State Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics and theoretical astronomy at the local university. However, he interrupted these studies in order to devote himself to a newly developed interest in social-scientific issues. He received his doctorate and worked as a lecturer in political economy with the title of associate professor.