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Pertti Johannes Karppinen (born 17 February 1953) is a retired Finnish rower noted for his three consecutive Olympic gold medals in single sculls in 1976, 1980 and 1984.[1]

Pertti Karppinen
Pertti Karppinen 1980.jpg
Pertti Karppinen in 1980
Personal information
Born (1953-02-17) 17 February 1953 (age 66)
Askainen, Finland
Height2.01 m (6 ft 7 in)
Weight98–102 kg (216–225 lb)
ClubNesteen Soutajat, Naantali



Karppinen won the world titles in 1979 and 1985 and once held the world record in indoor rowing. His style was to row a steady race and finish with a devastating sprint. In the early portions of the race, he would often trail his rivals by several boat length, only to catch them at the race finish.[1]

Karppinen and great German sculler Peter-Michael Kolbe had one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport. Although Kolbe has more Olympic and World Championship medals than any other single sculler in history, he never won an Olympic gold medal. Twice, in 1976 and 1984, Kolbe had the lead the entire race, only to be passed in the last few meters of the race by Karppinen. Kolbe and Karppinen did not face each other in the 1980 Games because West Germany chose to boycott the games to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.[1]

Karppinen and Kolbe faced each other one last time at the 1988 Summer Olympics. Karppinen missed making the finals, but won the consolation race for seventh place. Kolbe again won a silver medal being beaten by prodigy Thomas Lange. Karppinen would go on to compete in the 1992 Summer Olympics finishing in tenth place.[1]

Karppinen and Russia's Vyacheslav Ivanov are the only men to win gold medals in the single scull at three straight Olympics.[1] Besides single sculls, Karppinen also rowed doubles with his younger brother Reima and won a silver medal at the 1981 World Rowing Championships.[2][3] Currently Karppinen works as a national rowing coach, and also trains his son Juho who competes in rowing at the international level.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Pertti Karppinen". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC.
  2. ^ a b Pertti Karppinen at FISA
  3. ^ "Rudern – Weltmeisterschaften. Einer – Herren" [Rowing – World Championships. One – Men] (in German). Archived from the original on 23 June 2015.
    "Rudern – Weltmeisterschaften. Doppelzweier – Herren" [Rowing – World Championships. Double Sculls – Men] (in German). Archived from the original on 25 October 2014.

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