Past Athletes

Personal Data

Surname: MeyfarthFirstname: UlrikeCountry: West GermanyDate of birth: 1956-05-04Birthplace : Francfort-sur-le-Main (Germany)Height: 188 cmWeight: 72.0 kg

Career Data

Discipline: high jumpWorld records: 3Olympic Games (2 medals - 2 gold)World Championships (1 medal - 1 silver)European Championships (1 medal - 1 gold)European Indoor Championships (4 medals - 2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)
  • 1st (1972, 1984)
  • 2nd (1983)
  • 1st (1982)
  • 1st (1982, 1984), 2nd (1976), 3rd (1979)

Biography

The youngest championThe fall and rise

Ulrike Mayfarth became the youngest ever individual Olympic athletics champion at age 16 when claiming the high jump gold at the 1972 Munich Games and is doubly famous for overcoming a long lean patch and winning a second Olympic crown 12 years later at Los Angeles.

Born in 1956 into a modest family, Meyfarth was hit with the bug to high jump after watching the great Dick Fosbury during the Mexico Games in 1968.

Thanks to the revolutionary "flop" of the American Olympic champion, young Ulrike began to make rapid progress in her chosen event, and was jumping 1.80m by the age of 15.

She achieved her first real sporting exploit in September 1972 at the Munich Games in front of a delighted home crowd which went wild when the 16-year-old cleared the 1.90m bar on her second attempt during the final, while her two adversaries failed.

Assured of victory, she asked the judges to raise the bar to 1.92m, and promptly used her third attempt to equal the world record as one of the first women to really master the Fosbury technique.

The West German athlete then stagnated somewhat. After coming from nowhere to reach the summit of her speciality, she suffered mediocre form for almost a decade until 1982 when she won the European title in Athens, setting a new world record of 2.02m in the process.

She improved this record the following year (2.03m) in London before her final Olympic parting shot in Los Angeles, where in the absence of some top rivals due to the boycott, she overcame the giant Italian and reigning Olympic champion Sara Simeoni to take gold with a jump of 2.02m.

It is still widely considered that Meyfarth was one of the greatest champions of her generation. Equally though, her long dip in form also makes her one of the most enigmatic.

She also goes down as one of only two women to win athletics gold twelve years apart. East Germany's Long jumper Heike Drechsler is the only other woman to pull off this feat.


Photos

West German Ulrike Meyfarth acknowledges the crowd on the podium during the Olympic high jump ceremony 04 September 1972 in Munich.Ulrike Meyfarth of West Germany clears 1.88m during the final of the women's high jump, 04 September 1972 at the Olympic Games in Munich. Meyfarth, 16 years old, won the gold medal with a new Olympic record of 1.92m.Ulrike Meyfarth of West Germany clears the bar during the Olympic women's high jump final 10 August 1984 in Los Angeles. Meyfarth captured her second Olympic gold medal after winning in Munich in 1972.
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POSCOUNTRYGOLDSILVERBRONZETOTAL
1United States462929104
2China38272388
3Great Britain29171965
4Russia24263282
5South Korea138728
6Germany11191444
7France11111234
8Italy891128
9Hungary84517
10Australia7161235

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