Pertti Johannes Karppinen
(born February 17, 1953 in Vehmaa
) is a Finnish rower
who is legendary for his three consecutive Olympic
Gold medals in Single Sculls in 1976
, and 1984
. He also won World Championships in 1979 and 1985. He once held the world record in indoor rowing
. Karppinen's 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.
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
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.
Karppinen and Russia
's Vyacheslav Ivanov
are the only men to win gold medals in the single scull at three straight......