Rauno Mäkinen took his first wrestling lessons from his father Väinö who won a bronze medal in freestyle wrestling at the Finnish Championships and represented Finland in couple of wrestling tournaments in the 1930s. Soon Mäkinen established himself as one of the best featherweight freestyle wrestlers in Finland, winning the Finnish title four times in a row from 1952-55. He also participated at the 1952 Olympics, where he was sixth in freestyle featherweight. After his fourth Finnish title in 1955, Mäkinen decided to switch to Greco-Roman wrestling and was fourth in Greco-Roman featherweight at the 1955 World Championships. The year of 1956 was probably the best for Mäkinen as he won his fifth Finnish title, this time in Greco-Roman style and also won a gold at the Melbourne Olympics, losing only one match by decision to Soviet Roman Dzeneladze. After the great year of 1956, Mäkinen’s career was hampered by multiple injuries, although he managed to win his sixth Finnish title in 1960 in Greco-Roman featherweight. Mäkinen also competed at the 1960 Olympics, but injured himself again in his second round match against Swiss Joseph Schmid and had to withdraw from competition. Mäkinen retired from sports after the 1960 Olympics. During his sporting career Mäkinen had worked as a building contractor, but after his retirement from sports he joined the Finnish police force and worked as a policeman in Tampere, Jyväskyla and Vaajakoski. Mäkinen also played football with Tampereen Ilves-Kissat and even played couple of matches at the Finnish Championships tournament with them. In the 1960s Mäkinen also acted as a wrestling referee, being referee at the 1962 and 1965 World Championships and at the 1968 Olympic Games. In Tampere he also worked as children’s wrestling and football coach and was the president of Tampereen Paini-Miehet wrestling club, the club that was founded by his father.