Kuvalähde: Keski-Suomen museon kuva-arkisto.
(1888 - 1981)
pioneer of Finnish sports and physical education

Lauri "Tahko" (Grindstone) Pihkala (1888-1981) was born in Pihtipudas. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in 1912, became a Professor in 1948 and an Honorary Doctor of Physical Education in 1969. During his career he served as an adviser to the predecessor of the present Finnish Sports Federation, chief of bureau at the War Department and chief of bureau for sports matters at Military Headquarters, sports inspector to the General Staff of the Defence Corps, extraordinary officer at the Defence Ministry and as chief of bureau of the General Staff of the Defence Corps. He also served as managing director of the Employers Union of the Finnish Wood Processing Industry. In terms of military rank Pihkala was a major. Pihkala is also regarded as the father of our national game, 'pesäpallo'. He developed the game on the basis of old bat and ball games with influences from baseball.

Pihkala also participated in the work of sports and physical education organisations. Among other things he chaired the Sports Division of the predecessor of the Finnish Sports Federation and joined in the establishment of both Suomen Latu (Finland's Ski Trail) and the Finnish Pesäpallo Union. Later on he was the honorary chairman of these organisations. Pihkala's numerous hobbies included writing. He published many articles in papers and magazines.

"Tahko" Pihkala's statue is located in Pihtipudas, the municipality where he was born. "Tahko" Pihkala's workroom, now a museum, can be found at the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences of the University of Jyväskylä.

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