Helmut Recknagel

Helmut Recknagel ( born March 20, 1937 in Steinbach- Hallenberg ) is one of Germany's most successful ski jumpers. He won three times in the Four Hills Tournament.

Sporting career

Recknagel was recruited in the summer of 1954 by Hans Renner as a ski jumper and took the offer because of his father's council. It was not until he was trained in Zella- Mehlis and then in Oberhof. In March 1955 he participated in his first tournament in Oberstdorf in Ski Flying week. He finished in 27th place at the tournament.

His first major international success celebrated the launching of the SC motor Zella- Mehlis Recknagel on March 3, 1957 the traditional Holmenkollen in Oslo. There he was allowed to start than it was 19 -year-old Springer only with a special permit. In dense fog, he won the first non-Scandinavian to the Mecca of Nordic skiing.

Recknagel won at the Olympic Winter Games in the U.S. Squaw Valley, starting as a member of the All-German Olympic team for the GDR, sprawled the gold medal with the then usual style, the arms in " superman pose " forward. He was the first German and first ever non- Scandinavian Olympic champion in ski jumping. In the same year he received the Holmenkollen medal was the first German. 1962 won Recknagel in Zakopane superior in the ski jumping World Cup and was elected East German Sportsman of the Year. 1964 started Recknagel again at the Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck, finishing in sixth ( normal hill ) and seven ( large hill ).

Recknagel also won three times (1958, 1959 and 1961 ) the prestigious Four Hills Tournament, which only Bjørn Wirkola and Jens Weißflog ( four wins), and Janne Ahonen ( five victories) managed by him. 1959, 1962 and 1963, he also won the East German championship.

His last ski jumping competition he played in March 1964 at the " Free Press " Cup in Upper Wiesenthal. At that time he had no idea that this should be his last race. After a conversation with his coach Hans Renner, he decided to end his career in May 1964.

Recknagel also played football before 1954 as a sweeper in the youth team of the sports community Steinbach- Hallenberg. An offer to play in the league team of the BSG Turbine Hall, but he refused, saying he would rather play in West Germany for the first FC Kaiserslautern.

Professional career

Recknagel was born in Steinbach- Hallenberg the son of a pliers -maker. In the summer of 1951, he trained as a toolmaker in Herges - Hallenberg. On August 29, 1953, he received his professional skills certificate. He was then hired as a measurement technician in the Thuringian ball bearing factory. Even during his playing days as a ski jumper, he passed the matriculation examination in the Special Workers 'and Peasants' Faculty at the German College for Physical Culture ( DHfK ) in Leipzig. After that, he began studying at the DHfK, but which he broke off early because he did not want to be more qualified sports instructor or coach.

Professional career after sport career

After his sports career, he began to study veterinary medicine and graduated on March 20, 1970 with the grade of " good". On April 1, 1971, the approval was made as a veterinarian. After duty as assistant in Gorgast and Berlin, he received his doctorate in 1973 with a pharmacological study in albino rats. Since April 1974, he led the veterinary hygiene inspection in the district Fürstenwalde / Spree.

He was from 1970 to 1990 member of the NOC of the GDR in 1990 of NOK Germany. In this role he was until the early 1990s international Judges. On November 1, 1990, he was dismissed as hygiene vet in Fiirstenwalde and worked after prolonged unemployment insurance in West Berlin. On 31 October 1996, he opened a medical supply store in Berlin- Prenzlauer Berg, which he ran until 2009 itself. Since 1962 Helmut Recknagel is married; he has a daughter.

Helmut Recknagel was a sports idol in the GDR. As he stands to this day and Springer generation and its setting is a quote from him: " When I look into the faces of Hanna forest and Schmitt, then I see no joy. We were back then but the happiest people in the world, if we were allowed to jump from the hill. "

In spring 2007, Recknagel celebrated his 70th birthday, which also includes his autobiography was published. In the same year he committed also the 50th anniversary of his success in Oslo. On this occasion, he was the guest of honor in March when jumping at Holmenkollen Ski Museum and handed over to the local, the jumping skis, with whom he won his 1957 success.


Recknagel received several times the Patriotic Order of Merit of the GDR, including for the first time in 1958 in bronze and 1970 gold.

On 20 May 2011 Helmut Recknagel was inducted into the Hall of Fame of German sport.


  • A question of attitude. The New Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-360-01298-2. (2nd revised edition. Verlag New Berlin, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-360-02146-5 )