Paul Elvström

Paul ElvströmPaul Elvström retired from Olympic sailing more than 20 years ago. But he remains the most successful Olympic sailor in the sport and the person whose name is most often mentioned when the best sailors in the world are asked to name their heroes. He is a person who is held in the highest regard as a sportsman, a man of integrity and a man of great skill.

It began in 1948 when, aged just 20, Paul Elvström won his first Olympic gold medal. It was the days when the Firefly was the Olympic single-handed class.

When the Finn was introduced, Elvström made the top of the Olympic podium his own winning the Finn gold in 1952, 56 and 60. That record of four Golds has yet to be equalled and Elvström remains one of just three Olympians across all sports to have won four consecutive gold medals in the same Olympic discipline.

And he went on to compete in a further four Olympics, just missing out on a Star medal in Acapulco 1968 and a Tornado medal in Los Angelos 1984 when sailing with his youngest daughter Trine.Paul Elvström

He is still the only sailor in the world to win the world championship in five different classes.

But while Elvström was and is still many peoples' pick for the greatest ever sailor, the Dane made an impact off the racecourse too. His series of books on the racing rules - with their wallet of small plastic boats - became the racing sailor's bible for several decades. And he applied his skill and intelligence on the racecourse to the design of components that bear his legend even today - the Elvström self-bailer is still found on Olympic boats, and other grand prix boats at the leading edge of the sport. The Elvström Lifejacket was also the first that was designed and produced for active sailors across the world.

Paul Elvström pioneered techniques for hiking and ideas for training for sailing that paved the way for the modern athletic sport. And Elvström sailmakers - founded in 1954 - are still winning races to this day.

In short Paul Elvström is a not only one of the world's most talented sailors, but also a wholly rounded and intellectual sportsman who has achieved so much - not only in his career but with huge imprint on the sport which continues to exert an influence nearly 60 years after he first won gold.

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