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Ivan Patzaichin

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!

Ivan PatzaichinFrom 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

Ivan was born in the village of Mila 23 in 1949 and he spent most of his childhood in the Delta, between his village and Sulina where he visited his grandparents.

[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.

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People

Jean Bart

If you ask anybody in Sulina who’s the most popular person who ever lived here, you’ll get only one answer: Jean Bart. That is the pseudonym that writer Eugeniu P. Botez took when he published his works in the early twentieth century.

[adsense]He is best known for writing the novel Europolis which documents the cosmopolite life that Sulina had in its day as a free port (porto Franco), during the command of the European Commission of the Danube.

Throughout his career, he took many positions in the navy and for many years he even became the commander of the port of Sulina. At the time, the city was flooded with people of all nationalities. It was a fantastic place to live in and every time he had some spare time he would jot down notes which he would later use to write his novels.

Here are the novels he wrote

  • 1901 – Jurnal de bord
  • 1916 – Datorii uitate
  • 1916 – În cuşca leului
  • 1923 – Prinţesa Bibiţa
  • 1925 – În Deltă…
  • 1931 – Pe drumuri de apă
  • 1933 – Europolis

His final and best known novel is Europolis. Although all of his works have something to do with Sulina, Europolis is his masterpiece and was quoted times and times again over the years. He really helps you get a sense of how the city used to look like.

Because of the popularity of the novel, there’s even a hotel in Tulcea called Europolis. The highschool in Sulina also took the name of Jean Bart.

Jean BartIn my recent trip to Sulina, I finally decided to visit the lighthouse (the one next to the camp site) and see what the whole thing is all about. (This was about 7 years overdue  🙂 )

Well, when we got in there, there was a nice old man playing the guitar and reading something from a book. Turns out it was a book written by Jean Bart. He then proceeded to tell us more about Sulina, about Jean Bart and his duties as captain of the port. It was interesting to hear how the port used to be run years ago.