Romanian bobsleigh pilot Ion Panțuru has died aged 81 ©IBSF

Romanian bobsleigh pilot Ion Panțuru, bronze medallist at the Grenoble 1968 Winter Olympics, has died aged 81.

Panțuru teamed up with Nicolae Neagoe to secure third place in the two-man at the French resort, to win what was Romania's first, and to date only, medal at a Winter Olympics

He also claimed two World Championships medals in Lake Placid with Neagoe, silver in 1969 and bronze in 1973, as well as European runners-up finishes in 1967 and 1969.

“Ion Panțuru was a great athlete and really important for the sport of bobsleigh in Romania,“ said International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) President Ivo Ferriani when leading the tributes today.

“With him, his country, but also the IBSF sliding family, lost a great sportsman.

“Our sincere condolences to his family.

“We will always honour his memory.”

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Ion Panțuru won Romania's only Winter Olympic medal, a bronze at Grenoble in 1968, when he partnered with Nicolae Neagoe ©Hulton Archive/Getty Images

As a pilot for the four-man team, he claimed gold at both the 1967 and 1971 European Championships.

He also took silver medals in 1968 and 1969 and bronze in 1970, as well as 10th place at the Sapporo 1972 Olympics.

He subsequently served as coach for the Romanian team.