Esko Mikkola had come to The University of Arizona fresh out of the Finnish army. His athletic achievements had been in wrestling, not javelin. After only eight months of training, eight months in the United States, Esko won the NCAA javelin championship by more that 17 feet. At the time, his throw was the fifth best throw in collegiate history.
Esko was a three time Pac-10 champion in the javelin and a three time All-American. When Esko won his second NCAA javelin title in 2000, he became the ninth athlete in NCAA history to win multiple men’s javelin titles and he was the third Wildcat to the win the javelin championship. At the time of his induction, Esko’s throw from his 1998 season was still a school record.
Esko competed for his native country of Finland in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Greece.