José María Yermo was a total athlete. No other Spanish athlete has participated in two sports as different as football and cycling in the same Olympic Games. He did it in 1928, in Amsterdam. Yermo, born in Getxo, Arenas player, twice finalist in the Copa del Rey and Spanish track cycling record holder, wearing the same red and black colors of the Basque club, was also one step away from becoming a unique case in the World sport, because in the previous Games, those of Paris in 1924, he was registered to take part, on July 8 and 12, in the long jump and triple events at the Colombes stadium, although he did not finally travel.
Wasteland was a colossus. He was born in the Getxo neighborhood of Las Arenas in 1903, and when he began to practice various sports disciplines he was already over 1.80m, a considerable height in those days. He started out in athletics. He achieved the Spanish long and triple jump records. On April 6, 1924, he broke the triple mark with 13.48 meters, won the pre-Olympic tournament and was selected and entered in the Games in that test and in the length test, in which he established a better Spanish mark with 6.23 meters.
By then he was already playing for the Arenas de los tiempo glorioso. He did it as a center forward and stood out for his spectacular headers. In 1925 he played his first Cup final, in Seville and against Barcelona, who beat the Basques with goals from Samitier and Sancho. Two years later, in 1927, Yermo took revenge with a triplet in the one-game semifinals that were played in Zaragoza. Arenas beat Barcelona (4-3) and then lost the final against Real Unión (1-0), who scored in the 117th minute of extra time.
Five days after the defeat, Yermo made his debut for the Spanish team at the Parisian stadium in Colombes against France. Spain won 1-4 and scored the second goal in the 37th minute. They then played a friendly against Italy and in 1928 was selected at the last minute to complete the Olympic team that had to play in Amsterdam.
He was not on the initial list of travelers, and not even in the lineup that was announced in the newspapers the day before the game against Mexico (7-1), Spain’s first rival. But he played on May 30 at the Olympic stadium in Amsterdam and scored three of the seven Spanish goals that meant the passage to the quarterfinals.
Against Italy, Spain, with Yermo in the team, tied at one point on June 1, and three days later a tiebreaker was played. It was the best Spanish match in the Olympic tournament, according to the chronicles, but the result in favor of Italy was overwhelming: 7-1. The lone Hispanic goal was achieved by Yermo, who left Amsterdam with four goals and the only triplet by a Spanish footballer in the history of the Olympic Games.
He returned home, because cycling was not contested until two months later. On June 10 he was part of the Arenas team that defeated Logroñés (3-1) in a friendly match. He scored the first goal for his team. In mid-June, after thinking about it for a few days, he decided to accept the offer of the Velocipédica Union to attend the Games in the track events. However, his participation was on the air for several weeks. On the 19th the newspapers announced that the registration was already underway, but the next day, the Spanish Olympic Committee wrote to the Spanish Velocipédica Union to deny the registration of Yermo, “because you do not give data on the number and kind of tests in those that may eventually participate said broker ”.
The mess was huge, because the COE also stated that it could not ensure the payment of the expenses of the cyclists, when shortly before it had issued an official note in which the amount of 1,850 pesetas was consigned for the trips. Things got more complicated for Yermo after a fall during the Bizkaia Speed Championship. Despite this, on July 5, the athlete received a telegram in which the COE declined and assured that he had been registered since the 19th of the previous month. In mid-July, now recovered, he began training on the roller again. After carrying out several tests at the Vitoria velodrome, on the 30th he left for Amsterdam.
Yermo competed in the 1,000 meter test. He was 12th out of 16 participants, but he went down in history.
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