- 03 Aug 1952
- Helsinki 1952
Weightlifter Davis continues 14-year winning streak
Some athletes come to Olympic Games on a surge of form, hitting their peak at the perfect moment. A few suddenly emerge on the greatest stage of all. And then there are those who come to the Games burdened by the weight of expectation that comes with being a hot favourite.
The USA’s super-heavyweight weightlifter John Davis, who landed in Helsinki having not lost a contest for 14 years, belonged firmly in the third category.
Having won his first world title at the age of 17 back in 1938, Davis – now well into his 30s - hadn't been beaten since. Four years earlier he had won the Olympic title in London by setting Olympic records in the press, snatch and jerk. By the time he arrived in Helsinki, he had been world champion for six years in row.
Could anything stop him?
The answer was a resounding ‘no’. He smashed his own Olympic records in the press and snatch, but fell short in the jerk. Overall, though, his total score of 460 was enough to break his own Olympic record for the category and earn him another gold medal.
His winning run came to an end at the following year's world championships where, struggling with a thigh injury, he had to be content with a silver medal. After that, he called time on a career which had seen him completely dominate his event for a decade and a half.