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.
Paralympic cyclist Novak dedicates silver medal to late canoeing great Patzaichin
Romanian Paralympic cyclist Eduard Novak said on Sunday in Bucharest, on his return from the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, that he dedicates his silver medal to Ivan Patzaichin, multiple Olympic canoeing medallist dead at 71 on Sunday.
“I really wanted to get home and celebrate, but I am very sad because today one of my idols, who motivated me as a child and showed me that you can do it in Romania as well, Ivan Patzaichin, is no longer with us. Once again, he was an idol to me … we weren’t friends talking every day, but every time we saw each other he would say, ‘I appreciate you so much.’ And each time I would be very proud as the champion of my childhood would tell me that he appreciated me; it was an extraordinary thing. He competed in five editions of the summer Olympic Games and won four titles … Today I am returning from the fifth edition of the Games and Ivan has left us. That’s why I want to dedicate this medal to Ivan Patzaichin. It’s not gold, but I know that white gold never goes out of style,” said Novak.
“Thank you, Ivan, thank you for showing me the way and for showing me that I cand do it. I hope that in 20-30 years’ time another athlete will say that I was the one to show the way. And I think that’s the natural thing to do, we all have to think like that. I didn’t talk to Ivan weekly or daily, but when we saw each other after a while I would immediately feel that vibration … My feet would start shaking because he was a god to me. I would be so proud when he would tell me he was watching me and appreciating me. I called him before I went to the Games and he was in hospital. I remember he was very happy to hear my voice … And I felt then that it was a goodbye call,” added Novak.
Novak held a moment of silence, also mentioning the death of rally driver Adrian Raspopa during the Iasi Rally. “And to make this moment even harder, pilot Adrian Raspopa also left us. He was an athlete and a friend … These tragedies came in succession, but such is life,” Novak said.
Cyclist Eduard Novak, Romania’s incumbent minister of youth and sports, won the silver medal in track cycling, men’s C4 4000m individual pursuit race on August 27, on the Izu Velodrome, at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
On his return from Tokyo on Sunday, Novak was greeted at the Official Lounge of the Henri Coanda Airport, by former Minister of Youth and Sports Ionut Stroe; Secretary General of the Romanian Olympic Committee (COSR) Gheorghe Boroi, Chairman of the Romanian Rugby Federation Alin Petrache, friends and family.
Compiled from Agerpres