After regaining its independence, Estonia has participated in all ten Olympic Games which took place in the period between 1992 and 2012, winning seven gold, four silver and seven bronze medals. We are proud of our achievements.
Sports idols were born on the sporting mat and weightlifting floor As known from the history, a fencing teacher worked in Tartu University already about 400 years ago. In 1802, horse riding and swimming were switched into the study program besides fencing.
The turn of the century brought a series of new sport events to Estonia like cycling, rowing, chess, weightlifting, tennis, athletics. Competitions, gymnastics festivals and tournaments for professional wrestlers were set in motion.
The first sports idols become professional wrestlers Georg Lurich, Georg Hackenschmidt and Aleksander Aberg. At the turn of the century when Estonia was under the rule of the Russian Empire and political organizations were prohibited, sport clubs served as undercover places, where nationally spirited Estonians dreamed of independence and started to act on behalf of realizing their ideas.
The first Olympic gold medal that Estonia considers their own was brought home by Martin Klein in 1912 from Stockholm. Representing the Russian team, Klein competed in Greco-Roman style in middle weight at a match which was the longest in the Olympic history ever – 11 hours and 40 minutes. Klein won it an received a silver medal.
Sports hero Palusalu received farm – an award from President At the end of World War I, on February 24, 1918 Estonia became independent and on November 30, 1919 the first Estonian Sports Congress was held. The Estonian Olympic Committee was established and application was sent to the International Olympic Committee with a wish to participate in the Antverp Olympic Games 1920 with an independent Estonian delegation. The Estonians’ wish was realized, and the weightlifter Alfred Neuland brought the first Olympic medal to Estonia.
The birth of the Estonian Olympic Committee was officially founded on December 8, 1923, and in the same month it became a member of the IOC. According to statistics there were 11 active sports associations which joined together different fields of sports, and about 320 sports clubs.
At the Olympic Games Estonia took six gold, six silver and nine bronze medals. The most eminent sportsman was Kristjan Palusalu, the heavy-weight wrestler who won both in Greco-Roman and free style in 1936 Berlin Olympics. For this achievement Palusalu received a farmhouse from the President of Estonia.
Soviet occupation could not break the sporting spirit of Estonians In 1940 Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union. Estonian leading sports figures were liquidated. The Chairman of the EOC Johan Laidoner died in prison in Russia.
Voluntary sports clubs were closed down and replaced by Soviet sports associations. The Estonian delecation was not allowed to participate in the Olympics. Sports in general, however, remained in important means of carrying the national spirit; youth sports even expanded.
Estonian sports in the forefront of the struggle for independence In the end of 80s, Estonian athletes were on the forefront of the struggle for independence. Even before Estonia became free from occupation, several national sports sub-associations and clubs were initiated.
On January 14, 1989 the Estonian Olympic Committee was re-established.
On August 20, 1991 the Republic of Estonian declares herself an independent state and in less than a month, on September 18, the EOC restored Estonia’s place in the Olympic movement. And the year after that, the track cyclist Erika Salumäe brought an Olympic gold for the reindependent Estonia.
Up to now there are thousands of active sports clubs in Estonia and different sports associations united under the flag of the EOC.