Full name: Pertti Johannes Karppinen
Height: 6'7" (201 cm)
Weight: 98-102 kg
Born: February 17, 1953 in Askainen, Masku, Varsinais-Suomi, Finland
Affiliations: Nesteen Soutajat, Naantali (FIN)
Related Olympians: Brother of Reima Karppinen.
Medals: 3 Gold (3 Total)
While known as the Land of a Thousand Lakes, only a small number of rowers exist in Finland. Nevertheless, Pertti Karppinen is one of the best ever Olympic rowers, equalling the mark of Vyacheslav Ivanov (URS) when he won the single sculls at three consecutive Olympics – 1976, 1980, and 1984. Pertti was introduced to rowing by his older brother Erkka. His younger brother Reima also became a rower, and the two even rowed to a silver medal at the 1981 World Championships in the double sculls.
Although a finalist at the 1974 and 1975 World Championships, Karppinen's 1976 title was considered an upset. He beat reiging World Champion Peter-Michael Kolbe, who had lead the entire race, with a formidable sprint to win the first Finnish rowing medal ever. The Karppinen-Kolbe rivalry would be the greatest one in the sport of rowing. Kolbe won 5 world titles, but never an Olympic gold medal, while Karppinen took two World Championships (1979 and 1985) and three Olympic titles.
The West German boycott meant Kolbe was absent in Moscow, leaving an easy victory for the Finn. The 1984 skiff final was basically a copy of the 1976 race, Kolbe leading most of the time with Karppinen taking over on the home stretch.
The former fireman, who was exceptionally tall for a rower at 2.01 m, tried for a record fourth title in Seoul but hugely disappointed by not making the final. Kolbe couldn't benefit from his rival's failure, winning a third silver medal to Thomas Lange (GDR). Karppinen eventually competed in five Olympic Games, once again failing to make the final in 1992.
|1976 Summer||23||Montréal||Rowing||Men's Single Sculls||Finland||FIN||1||Gold|
|1980 Summer||27||Moskva||Rowing||Men's Single Sculls||Finland||FIN||1||Gold|
|1984 Summer||31||Los Angeles||Rowing||Men's Single Sculls||Finland||FIN||1||Gold|
|1988 Summer||35||Seoul||Rowing||Men's Single Sculls||Finland||FIN||7|
|1992 Summer||39||Barcelona||Rowing||Men's Single Sculls||Finland||FIN||10|
|1976 Summer||23||Montréal||Rowing||Finland||FIN||Semi-Finals||Heat Two||6:59.13|
|1976 Summer||23||Montréal||Rowing||Finland||FIN||Round One||Heat One||7:12.94|
|1980 Summer||27||Moskva||Rowing||Finland||FIN||Semi-Finals||Heat Two||7:15.90|
|1980 Summer||27||Moskva||Rowing||Finland||FIN||Round One||Heat Two||7:43.80|
|1984 Summer||31||Los Angeles||Rowing||Finland||FIN||Final||7:00.24|
|1984 Summer||31||Los Angeles||Rowing||Finland||FIN||Semi-Finals||Heat One||7:19.52|
|1984 Summer||31||Los Angeles||Rowing||Finland||FIN||Round One||Heat One||7:20.93|
|1988 Summer||35||Seoul||Rowing||Finland||FIN||B Final||7:34.37|
|1988 Summer||35||Seoul||Rowing||Finland||FIN||Semi-Finals||Heat Two||7:32.78|
|1988 Summer||35||Seoul||Rowing||Finland||FIN||Round One Repêchage||Heat One||7:14.91|
|1988 Summer||35||Seoul||Rowing||Finland||FIN||Round One||Heat Four||7:24.72|
|1992 Summer||39||Barcelona||Rowing||Finland||FIN||B Final||7:08.15|
|1992 Summer||39||Barcelona||Rowing||Finland||FIN||Semi-Finals||Heat One||7:12.05|
|1992 Summer||39||Barcelona||Rowing||Finland||FIN||Round One Repêchage||Heat Three||7:08.82|
|1992 Summer||39||Barcelona||Rowing||Finland||FIN||Round One||Heat Four||7:25.87|