Yury Tyukalov, a Soviet rowing great who won two Olympic gold medals at the Helsinki and Melbourne Games, died at the age of 87, the country’s rowing federation said Monday.
“Today two-time Olympic champion, silver medallist at the 1960 Games and six-time European champion Yury Tyukalov died at the age of 87,” said a statement on the federation’s official site. “The federation presents its deep condolences to all of his relatives and friends.”
Tyukalov was the first Soviet rower ever to claim Olympic gold with an unexpected win in the single sculls race at the Helsinki Games in 1952 before winning his second gold in Melbourne four years later, in the double sculls together with Alexander Berkutov.
The duo also won the silver medal at Rome Olympic Games in 1960.
After the end of his sporting career Tyukalov worked as a coach and managed the Soviet national rowing team from 1968 to 1972.
Tyukalov was also known as a sculptor working with metal. He graduated with honors from the Saint Petersburg Art and Industry Academy.
In 2002 he was awarded the title of honorary citizen of his native city Saint Petersburg, which also hosts an annual rowing tournament named after him.