The 40th anniversary of the Tallinn Olympic Regatta

On July 20, 40 years will pass since the opening of the Tallinn Olympic Regatta, which took place as part of the Moscow Summer Olympics. Even today, the cityscape is illustrated by many buildings and structures of significant significance built for the Olympics. Let’s mention here the TV tower, Pirita Olympic Center, Hotel Olümpia, the former main post office building, and the commercial and residential buildings bordering Narva Road. The Olympics in Estonia in the eighties seemed to eat clean air, which suddenly helped to feel part of a world from which ordinary people were separated by the Iron Curtain.

The 40th anniversary of the Olympic Regatta will be celebrated with festive events on July 29 in the center and three marinas near the center of Tallinn.

On the morning of July 19 in 1980, the streets were lined with numerous spectators from the Baltic railway station to the Town Hall Square, who had come to watch the Olympic fire arriving from Moscow by train to the Town Hall, where the fire was left until the opening of the regatta in Pirita the next day. The Olympic torch was lit at the reception ceremony at the station by athlete Gennadi Kinko and carried through the streets of the Old Town by 22 athletes. In front of the Town Hall, the fire was received by a man from Saaremaa, athlete Rein Tõru, who also take part in the fire-lighting ceremony of the 40th-anniversary celebration of the Olympic Regatta on 29 July in 2020.

The Water Marathon 2020 info in Estonian.

The opening ceremony of the Olympic regatta in 1980 Tallinn

The opening ceremony of the regatta began at the Pirita Olympic Center. Arnold Green, Deputy Chairman of the Estonian Council of Ministers, welcomed the participants on behalf of the Olympic-80 Organizing Committee. Gunnar Ericson, Member of the International Olympic Committee greeted the participants.

Vaiko Vooremaa, the two-time world champion of ice sailing, lit the Olympic torch.

The Celebration of 40 years of Tallinn Olympic Regatta, program on July 29, 2020

16.30 Lighting the Olympic torch at Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats). Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart will light the Olympic flame by pushing the enormous red switch under the outside arches of the Town Hall. The switch will start the Tesla coil, transformers that create artificial lightning. The Olympic torch is lit by Rein Tõru from the island of Saaremaa who in 1980 was the first carrier of the Olympic torch and ran the first leg of the relay that also started from Town Hall.

The lighting of the fire is supported by the Energy Discovery Center. The lighting is broadcasted in Tallinn Olympic Sailing Center (Pirita TOP) and the moderator for the event is Raivo E. Tamm.


16:45 – 17:00 Olympic Torch Route. The Olympic torch will be carried by a historic (classic) vehicle Pobeda M-20 (1958), specially modified to be electric-powered, and a modern electric car, the Nissan Leaf EV, into the Tallinn Old City to Tallinn Old City Harbour (Admiralty Pool), where there will be an exhibition of innovative electric-powered water vehicles.


16:00-18:00 Tallinn Old City Harbour. The AS Tallinn Sadam client event will include various presentations. For example, Enn Tammaru discusses how Olympic objects were built in the 1970s. Port of Tallinn (Estonian: Tallinna Sadam) is the biggest port authority in Estonia. Taking into account both cargo and passenger traffic, it is one of the largest port enterprises of the Baltic Sea.


16:00-18:00 Tallinna Vanasadam. Mart Einpalu will present the electric surfboard. On the water, there will be exhibitions of two Hungarian electric scooters, the Narke electro-jets, the Estonian mini robotic ship Nymo, the Swedish electric powered surfboard Radinn, and the Finnish fully electric-powered motorboat Q-Yacht Q30. In the Admiralty Pool, there will be a planned stop of the Olympic Torch’s journey.


18:30 The Olympic torch travels by sea. Electric motorboat and an electric scooter will deliver the torch to the Tallinn Olympic Sailing Center in Pirita.


19:00 – 21:00 At the Tallinn Olympic Sailing Center (Pirita TOP), a festive part of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Olympic Regatta will be held. There will be a ceremony of raising the flags, a lighting of the Olympic flame which arrived from the Tallinn Town Hall Square, greetings and introductions, and a concert including Uku Suviste performing Tõnis Mägi’s legendary song “Olimpiada”.


18:00 – 19:00 The Bay of Tallinn. While this is all happening on the land, the start of the match will commence in front of the Marina. The race includes sailboats, motorboats, windsurfers, kitesurfers, and parasailers. The finish of the race is at the Noblessner marina. Start procedure will be held within an hour, which will follow the handicap format defined as the “Tallinn Challenge Regatta 2020 – 40 years after” where slower crafts or less experienced competitors will get an advantage to provide an interesting competition and a competitive finish for all participants. Port Noblessner, restored in 2010, is situated close to the center of Tallinn, next to the Maritime Museum, just 15 minutes’ walk from the Old Town.
The history of the port dates back to 1912 when Alfred Nobel’s nephew Emanuel Nobel and a torpedo manufacturer by the name of Lessner established a submarine plant on the site to serve the navy of the Russian Tsar.


19:00 – 22:00 Noblessner marina. There will be a press conference for the “Tallinn Challenge Regatta 2020 – 40 years after”, and awards ceremony. The awards will be presented by Moscow 1980 Olympic Games Tallinn Regatta winners – Finnish Esko Rechard (Finn Class winner), Latvian Aleksandr Muzychenko (Star class winner), and Estonian Silver Medalist Nikolai Poljakov (Soling Class). For those who are interested, there is an opportunity to visit big sailboats, discover the Narke Electrojets, the Estonian mini robotic ship Nymo, the Swedish electric powered surfboard Radinn, and the Finnish fully electric-powered motorboat Q- Yacht Q30. Also on display, there are historic (classic) vehicle electric cars Pobeda, and Lada (Žiguli) and modern electric vehicles MIA, Tesla, Nissan Leaf, Nissan e-NV 200, and others.

After the events and regatta in Tallinn, the OWM event continues with the Marathon to the St. Petersburg by yachts. Tallinn Olympic Regatta’s 40th-anniversary celebration “Olympic Water Marathon 2020” slogan is “Legacy and Progress“ (“Pärand ja Progress”, “Наследие и Прогресс”).

The intermediate checkpoints of the “Olympic Water Marathon 2020” are planned in Sillamäe, Narva- Jõesuu, and Kronstadt with the finish of the squadron voyage in St. Petersburg.

Due to the pandemic, the squadron voyage will be held at later date, after easing coronavirus-related travel restrictions between the EU and Russian Federation.

The whole event is made possible through collaboration with the city of Tallinn, the Russian Olympic Committee, and the Estonian Olympic Committee. The sponsor of the Olympic Water Marathon 2020 is His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, and the President of the Sustainability and Legacy Committee of IOC.

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