Ivan Patzaichin

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Ivan Patzaichin
Ivan Patzaichin 1990cr.jpg
Patzaichin with the Olympic Order in 1990
Personal information
Born(1949-11-26)26 November 1949
Crișan, Romania[1][2]
Died5 September 2021(2021-09-05) (aged 71)
Bucharest, Romania
Resting placeBellu Cemetery
Height176 cm (5 ft 9 in)[1]
Weight79 kg (174 lb)
SportCanoe sprint
ClubCS Dinamo București[3]
Coached bySimion Ismailciuc[4]

Ivan Patzaichin (Romanian pronunciation: [iˈvan paˈt͡sajkin]; 26 November 1949 – 5 September 2021)[5] was a Romanian canoe racing coach and sprint canoeist. He took part in all major competitions between 1968 and 1984, including five consecutive Olympics, and won seven Olympic and 22 world championship medals, including four Olympic gold medals. This makes him the most decorated Romanian canoeist of all time.[1]

He later worked as a canoeing coach, attending five more Olympics in this capacity.[4] In 1990 he was awarded the Olympic Order, and in 2006 a nationwide poll included him on the list 100 Greatest Romanians of all time.[6][7]


Patzaichin giving an interview alongside his daughter after the 1984 Olympics

Patzaichin was born in a Russian Lipovan family in the village Mila 23, Tulcea County. His father Vicol was a fisherman and his mother Alexandra was a dressmaker. He took up canoeing at an early age inspired by his grandfather,[8] and decided to pursue a canoeing career after watching a television broadcast of two canoers from his village, more specifically Vicol Calabiciov and Serghei Covaliov, winning the 1966 world title in doubles. In 1967, aged 18, he moved to the Romanian capital Bucharest, where he joined the club Dinamo.[7] One year later, in 1968, he was included in the national team and won an Olympic gold medal, rowing with Covaliov.[9]

At the 1972 Olympics, Patzaichin broke his oar and placed last in the singles heats. Yet he managed to finish the race,[10] paddling with a piece of wood that he removed from the floor of his canoe, and was included in the repechage.[11] He eventually won the repechage and the final race. In the doubles, he again teamed with Covaliov and placed second, just 0.03 seconds behind the winners.[12]

Patzaichin spent his entire career with Dinamo, first as a trainee and competitor, rowing 4,000–5,000 km per year in his prime,[4] and then as a coach. His most famous trainees are Olympic champions Florin Popescu and Mitică Pricop. A statue of Patzaichin is installed outside of the Dinamo main office.[4] Besides canoeing, he also founded the association Ivan Patzachin – Mila 23 and launched the national project Rowmania aiming to promote heritage tourism and other outdoor activities.[3] Patzaichin owned his own line of clothing made from natural products.[4]

In 1976, Patzaichin married Georgiana, a woman he met in August 1975. They have a daughter Ivona Beatrice (born c. 1979), who works at the National Commission of Hospital Accreditation.[4][8][13]

He was involved in an animation project in 2020, dubbing into Romanian the character Scroop in the Disney movie Treasure Planet.[14]

Ivan Patzaichin died on 5 September, aged 71, in Bucharest, after having been hospitalized for three months with lung cancer.[15] He was 71.[16]

Awards and honors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Ivan Patzaichin Archived 2 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Sports-reference.com
  2. ^ Europa Publications (2003). The International Who's Who 2004. Psychology Press. p. 1294. ISBN 978-1-85743-217-6.
  3. ^ a b c Ivan Potzaichin. Romanian Olympic Committee
  4. ^ a b c d e f Ivan Patzaichin, viața în cuvinte. oamenidepoveste.ro (23 July 2015)
  5. ^ "UPDATE - Ivan Patzaichin a încetat din viaţă / Mesajul familiei: Ivan a plecat. Şi nu se mai întoarce / COSR: Un campiOM s-a transformat în stea / Trupul neînsufleţit al lui Ivan Patzaichin va fi depus la sediul CS Dinamo/ Reacţiile politicienilor".
  6. ^ "Cei mai mari Români". 17 July 2006. Archived from the original on 17 July 2006. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d "Mari Români". 5 October 2006. Archived from the original on 5 October 2006. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  8. ^ a b Simona Josan (25 August 2015) Cum arată soția lui Ivan Patzaichin, femeia care i-a schimbat viața: ”Am văzut o pereche de picioare înfipte bine în tocuri”. unica.ro
  9. ^ "Canoeing at the 1968 Ciudad de Mexico Summer Games: Men's Canadian Doubles, 1,000 metres | Olympics at Sports-Reference.com". 18 April 2020. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  10. ^ Canoeing at the 1972 München Summer Games: Men's Canadian Singles, 1,000 metres Round One Archived 9 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. sports-reference.com
  11. ^ Sergei Glebov (21 December 2014) Адмирал золотой флотилии. Как русский стал лучшим спортсменом Румынии XX века. eurosport.ru
  12. ^ Canoeing at the 1972 München Summer Games: Men's Canadian Doubles, 1,000 metres Final Round. sports-reference.com
  13. ^ Uite cum arata fata lui Ivan Patzaichin! Ivona isi insoteste celebrul tata la diverse evenimente. wowbiz.ro (6 December 2014)
  14. ^ Lizeta Oprea (4 October 2020). "Tudor Chirilă, Connect-R şi Ivan Patzaichin, voci în filme de animaţie Disney. Ce roluri au vedetele". Adevărul (in Romanian). Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  15. ^ Lavinia Popa (5 September 2021). "A murit Ivan Patzaichin. De trei luni era internat la spital, campionul avea varsta de 71 de ani" (in Romanian). Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  16. ^ SPIEGEL, DER. "Rumäniens Kanu-Legende Ivan Patzaichin ist tot". www.spiegel.de (in German). Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  17. ^ "Top athletes whose results put Romania on the international sports map". Romania Insider. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  18. ^ a b "IVAN, sportivul legendar al României! Cariera impresionantă a marelui canoist". www.digisport.ro (in Romanian). Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  19. ^ a b c "Ivan Patzaichin". www.csdinamo.eu. Retrieved 5 September 2021.

External links[edit]