Sergey Litvinov winning the 1987 world title in Helsinki (Getty Images) © Copyright

Litvinov, former world and Olympic hammer champion, dies

The IAAF is deeply saddened by the news that Sergey Litvinov of Russia, a former world and Olympic champion in the hammer, died on Monday (19) in Sochi. He was 60.

Litvinov, whose fierce rivalry with Yuriy Sedykh during the waning years of the Soviet Union in the 1980s helped rewrite the record books in the event, made his first major championships appearance at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow at 22, taking silver. He then captured back-to-back world titles at the first two editions of the IAAF World Championships in 1983 and 1987, before taking Olympic gold in Seoul the following year. His 84.80m winning effort in 1988 is still the Olympic record, the second oldest on the men's programme.

Litvinov set three world records during his career, the first when was just 22, throwing 81.66m in Sochi on 24 May 1980, breaking the previous mark set by Sedykh by 1.02m. Sedykh reclaimed the record later that year but Litvinov retook it two years later with an 83.98m throw in Moscow on 4 June 1982 to become the first man to break both the 82 and 83-metre barriers. He extended it to 84.14m, again in Moscow, the following year.

He ended his career with an 86.04m lifetime best set in 1986, still the second farthest throw of all time.

Upon retirement Litvinov turned to coaching. Among his charges was his son Sergey Litvinov junior, who won bronze at the 2014 European Championships.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF