In the middle of the Danube Delta, in the village of Mila 23, Crișan commune from Tulcea county, in Dobrogea, Ivan Patzachin was born (November 26, 1949 – September 5, 2021).
Patzachin started playing sports in Tulcea. As an athlete, in the 17 years dedicated to performance sports he has won over 40 national champion titles and more than 30 Balkan champion titles.
He participated in five editions of the Summer Olympic Games (Mexico ’68, Munich ’72, Montreal ’76, Moscow ’80 and Los Angeles ’84), where he won 7 Olympic medals, of which 4 gold and 3 silver. He also has 22 medals in 11 editions of the world championships, of which 9 gold, 4 silver and 9 bronze medals.
A memorable moment was in the qualifying race for the 1972 Munich Olympics, when during the race, immediately after the start, his paddle was broken. Given that the referees did not stop the race (according to the rules), he had to continue rowing and finished the race to the applause of the spectators, and then, in the final, he won the Olympic gold, at the end of a race he dominated unappealable.
After his career as a canoeist, in 1986, Ivan Patzachin became the coach of the Romanian national team, and since 1995 he has been the coordinator of the national Olympic team. He won over 100 titles as coach of the national and Olympic kayak-canoe team, participating in five more editions of the Summer Olympics.
He was nicknamed “Admiral of the Romanian fleet” due to the large number of medals he won but also the impact it had on Romanian rowing and sports.
Ivan Patzachin was also an ambassador of Romanian sports, a name known and recognized throughout the world.
In 1990 he received the Silver Olympic Order, awarded by the International Olympic Committee, in recognition of his merits over time in Olympics.
In 2000 he received from the National Order “Faithful Service” in the rank of officer, granted by the President of Romania.
In 2010 he was awarded the Royal Decoration “Nihil Sine Deo”.
In 2019 he received the highest distinction offered by the Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee, the Golden Column. Also in 2019, he received the highest distinction of the Romanian state, the National Order “Star of Romania” in the rank of Knight.