Ulrike Meyfarth

Ulrike Nasse-Meyfarth (German pronunciation: [ʊlˈʁiːkə ˈmaɪ̯ˌfaːɐ̯t], About this soundaudio ; born 4 May 1956) is a German former high jumper. She won the Olympic title twice, in 1972 and 1984. She is the youngest Olympic champion ever in women's high jump, and at the time of her 1984 triumph, she also was the oldest ever.[3]

Ulrike Meyfarth
Ulrike Meyfarth.JPG
Ulrike Meyfarth in November 2012
Personal information
Born4 May 1956 (1956-05-04) (age 65)
Frankfurt am Main, West Germany
Event(s)High jump
ClubLG Rhein-Ville
ASV Köln
Bayer Leverkusen
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)2.03 m (1983)[1][2]


Meyfarth on a stamp of Ajman

The athletic career of Meyfarth took off quickly. In 1971, when she was only fifteen, she already placed second at the West German Championships, and the following year she qualified as the third member of the West German team for the 1972 Summer Olympics that were held in Munich.

Meyfarth was one of the few jumpers who had already adopted the new high jumping style first displayed by Dick Fosbury at the Mexico Olympics four years earlier. Not much was expected from Meyfarth, who had a 1.85-meter personal best. Yet in front of the patriotic home crowd, she rose to the occasion and improved her best by 5 cm to reach 1.90 meters – enough to secure the gold medal. She added another 2 cm to equal the standing world record and became the youngest Olympic champion in athletics in an individual event, at only 16 years old.

Her career stagnated after this surprising victory, and she didn't improve on her 1.92-meter mark until 1978. She did not win any titles in the meantime, placing 7th and 5th at the 1974 and 1978 European Championships, and not reaching the final of the high jump competition at the 1976 Montreal Games. Because of the West German boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, she did not compete there.

1982 was Meyfarth's comeback year. She won the European championships indoor and outdoor, and set a new world record of 2.02 m at the latter occasion.[2] In 1983, she finished second at the first World Championships, after a close fight with Tamara Bykova, whom she had beaten at the European Championships the year before. At a competition in London, both Bykova and Meyfarth cleared 2.03 m, again a new world record.[2] Bykova added another centimetre to this mark just four days later.

The 1984 Summer Olympics event in Los Angeles was Ulrike Meyfarth's last major championship. Several of her toughest competitors, including Bykova, were absent because most of the East Bloc nations boycotted the Olympics. She defeated the reigning Olympic champion – Italy's Sara Simeoni – and cleared 2.02 meters to win her second Olympic title. This time, Meyfarth was the oldest woman to win the Olympic high jump title.

She started her career in the club LG Rhein-Ville, becoming West German national silver medalist in 1971 and bronze medalist in 1972. She then moved to ASV Köln, and became West German champion in 1973, 1975, 1979 and 1980–1983. She also took another bronze in 1976 and silvers in 1978 and 1984.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1983 she posed naked as model for "The Highjumper", a bronze sculpture by Arno Breker. In 1987 she married Roland Nasse, a lawyer from Cologne. With him and their two daughters,[5] she lives in Odenthal,[6] a town north of Cologne. Nasse-Meyfarth studied at the Deutschen Sporthochschule Köln (DSK).[7] She is a diplomated sports teacher and since 1997 a trainer and talent scout at german sports club TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen (as of 2019).

International competitionsEdit

Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing   West Germany
1971 European Championships Helsinki, Finland 30th (q) 1.68 m
1972 Olympic Games Munich, West Germany 1st 1.92 m
1973 European Junior Championships Duisburg, West Germany 2nd 1.80 m
1974 European Championships Rome, Italy 7th 1.83 m
1976 European Indoor Championships Munich, West Germany 2nd 1.89 m
Olympic Games Montreal, Canada 22nd (q) 1.78 m
1978 European Championships Prague, Czechoslovakia 5th 1.91 m
1979 European Indoor Championships Vienna, Austria 3rd 1.80 m
Universiade Mexico City, Mexico 2nd 1.92 m
1980 European Indoor Championships Sindelfingen, West Germany 11th 1.80 m
1981 European Indoor Championships Grenoble, France 4th 1.88 m
World Cup Rome, Italy 1st 1.96 m1
1982 European Indoor Championships Milan, Italy 1st 1.99 m
European Championships Athens, Greece 1st 2.02 m (WR)
1983 World Championships Helsinki, Finland 2nd 1.99 m
1984 European Indoor Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 1st 1.95 m
Olympic Games Los Angeles, United States 1st 2.02 m (OR)

1 Representing Europe


  1. ^ Ulrike Meyfarth. iaaf.org
  2. ^ a b c Ulrike Meyfarth. trackfield.brinkster.net
  3. ^ Ulrike Meyfarth. sports-reference.com
  4. ^ Leichtathletik – Deutsche Meisterschaften (Hochsprung – Damen) Archived 11 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Sport-komplett.de. Retrieved on 4 July 2016.
  5. ^ (in German) Ulrike Meyfarth biographical notes Archived 30 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine. ulrike-meyfarth.de
  6. ^ (in German) Infos about Ulrike Meyfarth. wissen-digital.de
  7. ^ https://www.dshs-koeln.de/index.php?id=12048

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
  Irene Epple
West German Sportswoman of the Year
Succeeded by
  Cornelia Hanisch
Preceded by
  Ilona Gusenbauer
Women's High Jump World Record Holder
4 September 1972 – 24 September 1972
Succeeded by
  Yordanka Blagoeva
Preceded by
  Sara Simeoni
Women's High Jump World Record Holder
8 September 1982 – 25 August 1983
Succeeded by
  Tamara Bykova
Sporting positions
Preceded by
  Pam Spencer
Women's High Jump Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
  Tamara Bykova