20 February 2018
Yesterday, the Russian Rowing Federation announced that two-time Olympic champion Yury Tyukalov had died. He was 87 years old.
In 1952 in Helsinki, Yury Tyukalov wrote rowing history when he became the first Soviet oarsman to claim Olympic gold, in the single sculls. He took his second Olympic gold medal four years later in Melbourne, now in the double sculls together with Alexander Berkutov. In the 1960 Games in Rome, the Soviet duo took a silver medal.
Tyukalov became European champion six times, in the coxed four in 1954 and in the double sculls in 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1961. He took a silver medal in the single sculls in 1955, behind Teodor Kocerka of Poland, the bronze medallist at the Helsinki Games. Berkutov and Tyukalov also won the Double Sculls Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta in 1957 and 1958.
After Tyukalov’s active rowing career had come to an end, he worked as a coach and the manager for the Soviet national team between 1968 and 1972.
He was also known as a sculptor, working with metal. He graduated with honors from the St. Petersburg Art and Industry Academy. In 2002, Tyukalov was awarded the title of honorary citizen of St. Petersburg. Nowadays, there is an annual rowing regatta named after him in the city.
As a young boy, he survived the Siege of Leningrad (1941-1944), helped extinguish fires brought by air raids and was awarded the Medal “For the Defence of Leningrad”.
Yury Sergeyevich Tyukalov, born 4 July 1930, died 19 February 2018.