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Pertti Karppinen

Pertti Karppinen
Los Angeles, 5 August 1984, Games of the XXIII Olympiad. Rowing men's: Finn Pertti KARPPINEN, winner of the men's single sculls event. Credit: The Los Angeles Time/International Olympic Photo Pool

Born: 17 February 1953

Birthplace: Vehmaa (Finland)

Nationality: Finland

Sport: Rowing


Montreal 1976

Moscow 1980

Los Angeles 1984

Seoul 1988

Barcelona 1992


Olympic medals:

Gold: 3

Other results:

World Championships

Gold: 2 (79, 85)

Silver: 3 (77, 81, 86)

Bronze: 1 (87)

Tall and three times Olympic champion at single sculls

Pertti Karppinen, a two-metre tall fireman from Parsio, Finland, won the singles sculls at the 1976 Montréal Olympics by coming from behind to upset world champion Peter Michael Kolbe of Germany, and win by more than two and a half seconds. Karppinen defended his Olympic title at the 1980 Moscow Games, this time besting Vassily Yakusha by more than two seconds.

Kolbe had missed the 1980 Olympics because of the anti-Soviet boycott, but he was back to challenge Karppinen on Lake Casitas during the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Kolbe took the early lead, but again Karppinen came from behind, catching Kolbe 250m from the finish and then powering ahead in the last 25m to earn his third gold medal. Karppinen also competed in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics, placing seventh and tenth respectively. He is one of only two rowers (Vyacheslav Ivanov being the other) to win the Olympic single sculls three times.

(Credit: IOC. Click here for further information.)

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