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Paul Elvstrøm
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    (February 25, 1928-December 7, 2016)
    Born in Hellerup, Denmark
    Won four consecutive Olympic gold medals in the Finn class (1948,1952,1956,1960)
    Won 11 world titles in eight boat classes
    Founded the company Elvstrøm Sails
    Wrote ‘Paul Elvstrøm Explains the Racing Rules of Sailing’ (1965)
    Member of the first group of six inductees to the ISAF Sailing Hall of Fame (2007)
    Due to a combination of competitive pressure and business reverses, he suffered a nervous breakdown during the 1972 Olympics.
    He dismissed the America’s Cup competition, commenting, ‘They do it not in the sporting way. They try to keep top secret what they are doing, and that’s not the way real yachtsmen are sailing.’
    When he invented the boom vang, a strap that improved control of the mainsail, he would remove it before bringing his boat ashore, leaving his competitors mystified at his superior speed.
    He is one of a handful of athletes to win gold medals in the same individual event in four consecutive Olympics. (Others include Al Oerter in discus, Carl Lewis in the long jump, and Michael Phelps in 200-meter butterfly.)
    He competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics at age 60.
    He invented an improved self-bailer and a type of swimvest.
    He was named Danish Sportsman of the Century (1996).
    He said, ‘You haven’t won the race if in winning the race you have lost the respect of your competitors.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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