Romania's multiple Olympic canoeing medallist Ivan Patzaichin has died at the age of 71, the Romanian Olympic Committee (COSR) announced on its Facebook page on Sunday.
"He's a legend ... a champion has turned into a star. Ivan Patzaichin has left us. His story is the story of success, common sense and fine character. It is the story of a son of the Danube Delta who gave back tenfold and inspired people to live beautifully. Beyond the brilliant medals, 7 Olympic (4 gold), 21 world (8 gold), he was a gifted and generous man. Smooth flow, Ivan! Forever in our hearts! Condolences to your family! May God forgive you and rest you in peace! " reads the COSR message.
Born on November 26, 1949, at Mila 23 in the Danube Delta, Patzaichin won four gold medals at the Olympic Games, in the C1-1,000 m race, in 1972 (Munich) and in C2-1,000 m race in 1968 (Ciudad de Mexico), 1980 (Moscow) and 1984 (Los Angeles), as well as three silver medals, in the C-2 500 m race in 1980 (Moscow) and 1984 (Los Angeles) and in C2-1,000 m racein 1972 (Munich) ).
He also won 22 medals, including nine gold medals, at world championships.
In 1984 he retired and became a coach at the Dinamo Sports Club. In 1986 he was promoted to coach of the national team, and in 1995 he was appointed coordinating coach of the national Olympic team. He managed to win over 100 medals as coach with the national and Olympic canoe kayak team, a capacity in which he attended the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, 1996 in Atlanta, 2000 in Sydney, 2004 in Athens, and 2008 in Beijing. He was vice-president of the Romanian Canoe Kayak Federation and vice-president of the Romanian Olympic Committee, elected in 1990.
In September 2009, Patzaichin announced that he was resigning from the national canoe kayak team.
Late International Olympic Committee Chairman Juan Antonio Samaranch awarded him the Silver Olympic Order in 1990, and in 2000 he was made an officer of Romania's Faithful Service National Order .
In April 2019, he received the Gold Order, the highest distinction of the Romanian Olympic Committee.
On November 26, 2019, when he turned 70, he was made a knight of the Star of Romania National Order by President Klaus Iohannis. AGERPRES (RO - editor: Mihai Tenea; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu)