Ole Tikjob, former chairman of the Danish Canoe and Kayak Federation and former coach of Olympic gold medal paddler, Erik Hansen, has died after a long illness.

Ole was a loyal and valuable member of the international canoeing family, and his presence will be sorely missed. The International Canoe Federation passes its condolences to Ole's family, to the Danish canoeing community, and to everyone who had the great privilege of knowing Ole over his many years involved wih the sport.

The current director of the Danish Canoe and Kayak Federation, Christian Jakobsen, penned the following tribute..

In memory of Ole Tikjøb (28 04 1946 - 28 07 2020)

Ole Tikjøb lost a long battle with cancer july 28. 2020 in his home surrounded by family. 

Ole Tikjøb was not initially destined to become a leader of the Danish Canoe and Kayak Federation.

In his youth, it was on the badminton court that he asserted himself - according to his own statement, "at a nice level". 

Later came kayaking, first as a performer and later as a coach, leader, event organiser and chairman. 

The leadership role led Ole far and wide in the sport, and over the years many memories were gathered. 

One of the most important memories must be from his time as a trainer and friend of Erik Hansen, the Olympic gold winner in the 1,000 metre kayak from 1960 in Rome, and canoe and kayak's only member of the Danish Hall of Fame so far.

Organisationally, the leadership started in the Jutland district, where Ole held many positions, including elitechairman and district chairman. 

However, it was not an easy start. 

In Jutland management was originally reserved for leaders from the clubs in Aarhus, so Ole had to fight to join.

When you lived in Holstebro, it was also a time-consuming task to attend the meetings in the first years. It became no less time-consuming that the meetings could only begin once the obligatory rounds of card games were over.

Ole was a resident of Holstebro in his youth, and it was in the Kayak Club Pagaj that he trained Erik Hansen and established the Holstebro Regatta.

In the 60s, when international work was not the easiest, Ole was the helmsman who established recognised international regattas that drew the strong countries from behind the Iron Curtain to the small Hydropower Lake in Holstebro. 

It was another time when communications during regattas took place with the help of the military's signalmen. The signalmen helped key volunteers with radio communication. Prices were negotiated with vodka, as an interpreter. It was here that Ole first received recognition for his organisation skills. 

It was also in Holstebro that the kayak instructor Ole helped the young Lissi get started with the sport. However, her training with a paddle did not last long. In return, Ole and Lissi were able to celebrate their golden wedding in the spring of 2020 under the shadow of the coronavirus. 

Lissi's short kayak career also led to her daughter Lotte and son Jacob and six grandchildren.

With Ole as father, Lotte and Jacob were born into the sport and to be officials in the Tour de Gudenaa race, TdG, a marathon race, which Ole together with a number of good people under the auspices of Jutland district  took the initiative and which was held for the first time in 1968.

The race is still available as a day event. TdG is also one of the examples of Ole's organising talent on the national stage, where the organiser of countless DMs in the Kayak Club Pagaj is also on the resume. 

Internationally, Ole was involved in championships several times and was, among other events. at the helm together with Jørn Cronberg in 1993 at a legendary World Championship  Sprint on Bagsværd Lake. In recent years, he lead the preparation of the World Cup Marathon in 2007, 2009, 2012, World Championship  Marathon 2013 and World Cup Sprint 2015. Until his death, Ole was involved in the preparation of World Championship  Sprint 2021, European Championship Marathon 2022 and World Championship Marathon 2023. 

Professionally, Ole was a “Woodman” and until his retirement in 2013 was department manager in Nykøbing Mors' largest construction market and timber trade. 

The retirement was of course timed, so there was time to fully engage in the World Championship marathon 2013. 

It was also in 2013 that Ole started his career on social media. Former Mabel drummer and PR man, Christian Have, challenged Ole during the event manager training: "We are probably all on Facebook", said Have. 

The following week, Ole was on Facebook, and in recent years he has diligently updated his many followers about his work and experiences in the Danish Canoe and Kayak Federation. 

As mentioned, Ole held many positions in the federation Jutland Districts, just as he has held several positions on DKF's board.

In the early years, it was a logistical challenge when Ole was living in Holstebro. 

Night trains and night ferries played a role in making it all work out. 

Most famous, however, is probably the camp bed and sleeping bag that the union's board granted Ole. Equipped with this, Ole was able to spend the night at the association's office in central Copenhagen. On particularly favorable days, it could also be possible to sneak into a bath in the old Forum. It was also in the 70's and 80's that Ole sat on DIF's board and was chairman of DIF's district committee.

Canoeing and kayaking led Ole far and wide, from Mexico, to Canada, Russia, China, Brazil and lots of events and congresses in Europe. The Olympics stood out as something special, which Ole set incredibly high and which he followed live every four years, the first time as a coach for Erik Hansen. He followed Beijing, London and Rio in the role of chairman of DKF. 

No matter what roles Ole played, he was always the athlete's representative. Few things could bother Ole as much as lack of consideration for the athletes.  

When at the European Championships in kayak polo in 2017 had the car proved to be too small to all fit for the two-three hour long drive to Saint Omer in France, there was no doubt in Ole's mind. Take the athletes - then we leaders will have to find another solution. 

It was also with a razor-sharp focus on the athletes' needs that Ole tirelessly fought a battle for a new, modern venue in Bagsværd. Many basic elements Ole worked to get in place, unfortunately he will not see the finished result.

The sports leaders had to work for the athletes, it was beyond any doubt. The many who did so were remembered.

During his many years as chairman, Ole has been very adept at remembering to recognise the efforts of volunteer leaders. Always with an overview of who should now be remembered for a diploma, a badge of honor or an honorable mention in the right place. 

Years and days after an acknowledgment was agreed, Ole was able to work to find the right opportunity so that the recipient received the greatest possible recognition among his own.       

Ole was elected chairman of DKF in 2004. 

It was supposed to be a transition while a younger candidate was found. 

The transition was, fortunately for the Danish Canoe and Kayak Association, long.

During that period, the large network, which was built up from the 60s onwards, was further strengthened, so that the federation in Ole had a chairman with strong connections to the Danish canoe and kayak clubs, close ties to the NOC,  Team Denmark, Sport Event Denmark , the chairmen of the other national federation as well as the ECA and ICF. 

The journey has been long in time and in content.

From a time with “just” two boat types, to a time with a growing undergrowth of canoe and kayak types and activities. 

From an organization without employees, to a smaller organization with four employees, which Ole headed in 2004, to 16 employees today and a large financial turnover. 

From military signal people, to Facebook.

From card games , to online meetings. 

From kayak instructor, to chairman.

Thank you Ole for your tireless and incomparable efforts. 

Honored be Ole's memory

Christian Jacobsen

Canoe Sprint
Canoe Marathon