Ivan Patzaichin is arguably one of the top Romanian sports figures in history and definitely the best canoeist in the world … he’s way up there, with Nadia Comăneci, Gică Hagi and Ilie Năstase.
[adsense]He compeeted in five Summer Olympic games where he won seven medals: four gold and three silver.
His biggest successes in the career took place in Mexico City (1968), Munich (1972), Moscow (1980) and Los Angeles (1984) from where he brought home the gold.
In the qualifications of one of these competition, his row broke and the referee didn’t see this. He kept on going, finishing three minutes after the second to last competitor. He was disqualified, but after appeals from the trainers, he was allowed to participate in the next phases. Of course, this time he killed!
From 1985 he’s been a trainer at Dinamo Bucharest sports club and together with his students, he participated in five Summer Olympics competitons.
Here’s a video of his 1972 Munich performance:
Ivan Patzaichin’s day to day life
[adsense]These days he goes about his life between his old village, Tulcea and Bucharest.
He actively takes part in events concerning the lipovan comunity in Romania. Actually, my mother was singing with the Tulcea lipovan community coire at a festival in Uzlina a couple of months ago where she met mister Patzaichin and took a few pictures with him.
He is also frequenly taking part in sporting events all over the country, particularrly water sports. He’s actually launched a new project called Rowmania through which he tries to identify sustainable ways to practice tourism in the Danube Delta.
The International Rowing Boats Festival
As part of the project, he’s organizing „Festivalul bărcilor cu vâsle”, or the “International Rowboat Festival”, which is going to be a two day competition in which participants will race from Tulcea to Sfantu Gheorghe with classics rowboats.
The goal of this is turn people’s attention to these old traditional boats called “lotcă”, used for centuries by the fishermen in these waters. The last few years we’ve seen them loose ground in favor of the new boats made of fiber glass.
Working with one of the last few craftsmen in Tulcea who knows the trade of building traditional lotcas, he’s designed a new boat called “Canotca”, which puts together the ancient craftsmanship with modern design lines borrowed from canoe and other sporting boats.