Yrjö Hietanen was one of the best Finnish kayakers of the 1950s. Teaming up with veteran Kurt Wires, the highlight of Hietanen’s career came at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, when they won both K2-1000 and K2-10,000 golds in front of their home crowd. Hietanen also competed at the 1956 Olympics, finishing seventh in K2-10,000. Domestically Hietanen won nine Finnish titles – in K1-500 in 1947, 1951 and 1953; K1-1000 in 1954; K2-500 in 1953; K2-1000 in 1956; K2-10,000 in 1950 and 1956; and in K1 4x250 in 1948. Hietanen joined Merimelojat in 1943 and became president of the club from 1983-87. Outside of sports, Hietanen worked his whole career with the electrical contracting firm Oy C. A. Lindberg, retiring as a managing director in 1984.