Lot #6070
Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympics Kayak Paddled by Gold Medalist Rolf Peterson

A gold medal-winning kayak—paddled by a Swedish legend at the Tokyo Summer Games

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Estimate: $30000+


A gold medal-winning kayak—paddled by a Swedish legend at the Tokyo Summer Games

Stunning individual racing kayak used by Swedish sprint canoeist Rolf Peterson when he won a gold medal in the Men's K-1 1000 meter event at the Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympics. Manufactured by VKV (Vitudden's Kajakvarv) by Anker Ankervik in 1963, the model VKV 100 kayak measures 5.2 m (17 ft) in length, .52 m (1.7 ft) in width, and 12 kg (26.5 lbs) in weight. The logo of the Tokyo Games is stamped on the left front deck, just in front of the cockpit. Four years after the 1964 Olympics, the kayak was purchased from Peterson by Anders Lovén, in whose possession it has since remained. The kayak has been restored at Vitudden’s twice: first due to damage to the front deck, a portion of which was replaced (indicated by darker wood); and, in 2014, it was restored again due to minor damage to the stern. The kayak is now in very good, navigable condition. Accompanied by a signed letter stating the chain of ownership.

Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, Sweden’s Rolf Peterson was among the world’s best in canoe sprinting. As a kayaker, Peterson entered the Men's K-1 1000 meter race at the Tokyo Games an underdog, placing third in the opening heat and then taking second in the semifinals. On October 22nd at Lake Sagami, Peterson entered the finals with momentum on his side and narrowly recorded a first-place time of 3:57.13, edging silver medalist Mihaly Hesz of Hungary by an amazing .15 seconds. His heroic efforts earned him the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal in 1964, and he served as the Swedish Olympic flag bearer in 1968. As the very kayak Peterson used to propel himself across the finish line, this vintage watercraft is a true museum-quality keepsake that is made all the more desirable and impressive by its beautiful design and its powerfully intimate connection to Olympic gold medal glory.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Olympic Memorabilia
  • Dates: #613 - Ended July 22, 2021