Bernd Kannenberg

Bernd Kannenberg (20 August 1942 – 13 January 2021) was a West German race walker who won the 50 km event at the 1972 Summer Olympics. He also competed in the 20 km at the 1972 and 1976 Games, but failed to finish. In 1972 Kannenberg became the first German athlete to walk 50 km within four hours; the same year he was awarded the Silbernes Lorbeerblatt. During his career he set five world records, and won six outdoor and four indoor West German titles.[1]

Bernd Kannenberg
Bernd Kannenberg 1972.jpg
Bernd Kannenberg in 1972
Personal information
Born(1942-08-20)August 20, 1942
Königsberg, East Prussia, Prussia, Germany
DiedJanuary 13, 2021(2021-01-13) (aged 78)
Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Height1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight75 kg (165 lb)
Event(s)Race walking
ClubTV 1860 Fürth
LAC Quelle Fürth
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)20 km – 1:24:45 (1974)
50 km – 3:52:45 (1972)
Medal record
Representing  West Germany
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1972 Munich 50 km walk
European Championships
Silver medal – second place 1974 Rome 20 km walk

Kannenberg was a professional soldier and trained at the sports school of the German Bundeswehr at Warendorf. After retiring from competitions, he coached the German race walking team.[1]

Kannenberg was born in Königsberg (Eastern Prussia, from 1945, Kaliningrad). With his grandmother and cousin he was aboard the evacuation ship "Wilhelm Gustloff", when it was torpedoed by a Russian submarine. He and his cousin were among the est 9% survivors, while his grandmother died. In 1955, he emigrated with his family from Eastern Germany to West Germany.[2]


  1. ^ a b Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Bernd Kannenberg". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 2012-10-18.
  2. ^ "Der Geher aus dem Nichts: Olympiasieger Kannenberg ist tot".

External linksEdit

Preceded by Men's 50km Walk World Record Holder
27 May 1972  – 23 April 1978
Succeeded by