It is with great sadness that ISAF reports that one of sailing greatest ambassadors Valentin Mankin has passed away after a long battle fighting cancer at the age of 75.
Born on the 19 August 1938 in the city of Kiev, Ukraine, Valentin Mankin sailed for the old Soviet Union from 1955 until 1988. During that time, Valentin came as close as anyone ever has to equalling Paul Elvstrom's (DEN) record of four sailing gold medals and in today's professional era, Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) with his four Olympic gold medals.
Valentin won his first Olympic Gold sailing the Finn at the Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games and his second gold in the Tempest in 1972 at the Munich Olympic Games. He went on to win silver at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games despite losing his regular crew to injury shortly before the Olympic Regatta. In that Olympics, he topped bronze medallist Dennis Conner.
Valentin then made a comeback to Olympic sailing in the Star class and won his third gold medal at the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games, sailing on his home waters of the then Soviet Union. His Olympic record could have been even finer, if he had qualified for the Olympics in the Finn class in 1960 and 1964, but under the Soviet system he was passed over for sailors with more seniority.
Valentin Mankin emigrated to Italy in 1988, where he remained active as a great coach to his death today.
ISAF and IFV President Carlo Croce said, "In recent years he had found the enthusiasm to contribute significantly to organize the activities of the Federal Centre for Olympic Preparation in Campione del Garda, this was a great opportunity to capitalize on his enormous experience and expertise.
"He was an athlete, a coach and a very special man. He was really close to all Italian sailors and we will miss him very much."
Valentin leaves behind his wife Rita, daughter Irina and his beloved grandson Dimitri.