(Reuters) – Danish yachting great Paul Elvstrom, the first Olympian to win individual gold medals at four successive Games, died on Wednesday at his home in Hellerup. He was 88.
Elvstrom’s first gold came, aged 20, at the 1948 Games in London, when he won the Firefly class. He then moved on to the Finn class, winning Olympics titles in Helsinki in 1952, Melbourne in 1956 and Rome in 1960.
The Dane, who competed in the last of his eight Olympics in Seoul aged 60, also won 11 world titles in seven different categories and seven European championships.
“He was an inspiration to pretty much anyone who stepped foot on a sailing boat,” Britain’s Ben Ainslie, who won four Olympic gold medals and one silver medal in the Laser and Finn classes between 1996 and 2012, said on Twitter.
Elvstrom also made his name in the development of yachting equipment and went on to establish a manufacturing company.
He was named Denmark’s Sportsman of the Century in 1996 and was one of the first six inductees into the World Sailing Hall of Fame in 2007.
(Writing by Patrick Johnston; Editing by Toby Davis and Alexander Smith)