Ivan Patzaichin is a Rumanian sprint canoeist of Lipovan origin who competed from the late 1960s to the mid-80s and won seven Olympic medals. At the time sportsmen were not entitled to significant cash prizes. Ivan felt lucky to win a video player and save enough money to be able to buy a car during his trip to Germany. Competing around the world, Patzaichin felt strongly connected with the motherland and never thought of emigration. Yet Ivan, like all other Romanian sportsmen, was under constant government supervision. Before all international competition they were received by Party officials, several times even by Ceausescu himself.
- Postcard Text
- My dear, I was so happy to read in the Sportul newspaper that after so many victories, you were awarded the 1st Class Order of the Work. Dear friend, I warmly hug you and congratulate you from my heart for the great successes achieved in sports and brought to Romanian sport and to the colors of our beloved homeland. My dear Ivan, please give my warm greetings to our friend, Vartolomeu Roman. I embrace you a thousand times, Viorel Chioveanu.
- Constanța, Romania, 1973.
- 1st Class Order of Work
- After winning two gold medals, at the 1972 Olympics and the 1973 World Championship, Patzaichin was awarded with the 1st Class Order of Work, one of the most important awards of the Socialist Republic of Romania.