09/11/2019   Hartwig Gauder: the 65 years of his second life and a fantastic career

If today a neophyte of race walking looked at the following sequence of the best seasonal performances of the 50km in the time period from 1980 to 1992 he would probably remain loss of words.


In twelve years of intense international activity dedicated particularly to the 50km, never a season best greater than 4:00:00 and those were years in which it was not so easy to find walkers capable of so much.




1992 3:56:47 Estadio Olímpico, Barcelona (ESP) 07 AUG 1992
1991 3:49:10 Naumburg (GER) 21 APR 1991
1990 3:47:08 Poděbrady (TCH) 16 JUN 1990
1988 3:39:45 Olympic Stadium, Jamsil, Seoul (KOR) 30 SEP 1988
1987 3:40:53 Stadio Olimpico, Roma (ITA) 05 SEP 1987
1986 3:40:55 Neckarstadion, Stuttgart (GER) 31 AUG 1986
1985 3:43:33 Boras (SWE) 01 JUN 1985
1984 3:41:24 Berlin (GDR) 20 JUL 1984
1983 3:43:23 Naumburg (GER) 01 MAY 1983
1982 3:49:44 Dresden (GER) 30 JUN 1982
1981 3:46:57 Berlin (GER) 18 JUL 1981
1980 3:48:15 Villeneuve d'Ascq (FRA) 31 MAY 1980



Who knows how many of our readers, without the help of the cover photo, would have recognized in the holder of this curriculum of performances, one of the greatest walkers of the 50km of all time: Hartwig Gauder.



Winner of two medals at the Olympic Games (Moscow 1980: gold and Seoul 1988: bronze), two medals at the World Championships which were held every four years (Rome 1987: gold and Tokyo 1991: bronze) and the same number at the European Championships, also those with a four-year frequency (Stuttgard 1986: gold and Split 1990: bronze).



He was born in Vaihiningen an der Enz in the then Western Germany, but his family moved to East Germany in 1960 when they inherited properties in Ilmenau. Gauder then started competing for East Germany. He finished his career instead competing for West Germany (his native country) after the unification finishing 6th in the Olympic Games of Barcelona in that edition that also saw the end of the international career of Maurizio Damilano who had shared with Hartwig Gauder the victory at the initial Olympiad: that of Moscow 1980.


In 1995 Gauder began to suffer from a viral infection of the heart. In 1996, he received an artificial heart for the first time and in 1997 a donor heart, with whom he ran at the New York Marathon just two years later. Five years later, he realized another dream: as the first human being after a heart transplant, he climbed the sacred Mount Fuji-san, the highest mountain in Japan, in August 2003.


Gauder told his story in the book: "Die zweite Chance".


Yesterday marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and today, however, Hartwig Gauder turns 65.



Happy birthday, Hartwig.




(In cover photo: Hartwig Gauder, Maurizio Damilano, Peter Frenkel and ex Coach Hans Joachim Pathus in Berlin 2018)







 Gauder in a repertoire photo and in Barcelona with his friend former walker Raffaello Ducceschi (ITA)