Jean-Pierre is often considered one of the greatest whitewater downriver paddlers of all times. He was the dominant force in K1 downriver racing in the 1970’s winning four world championships over a ten-year timeframe, from 1969 to 1979. In 1967, he won the FiBArk race in the U.S. on the Arkansas River in Colorado, the much touted U.S. 25.7 mile downriver race which has drawn many of the top international competitors over the last 60 years. Ever the athlete and competitor, Jean-Pierre also competed in K1 and K2 500m and 1000m Flatwater Sprint contests and at the Olympics in 1972, finished just out of the medals in fourth place in th K1 1000m race. He also competed in the 1976 Olympics in flatwater competition foregoing Europa Cup that same year. Since retiring from serious competition, Jean-Pierre continues to coach and also to compete at the senior and veteran level of the sport. The “Jean-Pierre Burny Marathon” in the Netherlands is named after him.
Il a été durant sa carrière sportive champion du monde de descente de rivière à quatre reprises et 4e aux Jeux olympiques de Munich en 1972 en catégorie K1 1000 mètres.
Actuellement il est un des rares kayakistes à avoir été au plus haut niveau tant en descente qu'en course en ligne.