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, AGERPRES reports.
Patriarch Daniel of Romania expressed his deep sorrow in a message of condolences published Monday.
“I learned with deep sadness the news of the passing from this life, after a great suffering, of Ivan Patzaichin, one of the greatest athletes of Romania of all times, a man whose life was enlightened by a living faith in God and animated by a deep love for his country, which he represented with great honor at an international level.”
“A model of professionalism, moral honesty, modesty, and patriotism, Ivan Patzaichin remains one of the most loved and respected personalities of Romanian and international sports life,” the Patriarch of Romania highlighted.
Patriarch Daniel used his message to extend his “earnest condolences to the grieving family, friends and all those in pain.”
“May God rest him in peace,” the Romanian Patriarch wrote ending his message on Monday.
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 the 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 race in 1972 (Munich).
He also won 22 medals, including nine gold medals, at world championships.
He was vice-president of the Romanian Canoe Kayak Federation and vice-president of the Romanian Olympic Committee, elected in 1990.
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.