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Waldemar Cierpinski

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameHannes Waldemar•Cierpinski
Used nameWaldemar•Cierpinski
Born3 August 1950 in Neugattersleben, Nienburg (Saale), Sachsen-Anhalt (GER)
Measurements170 cm / 59 kg
AffiliationsSV Halle, Halle (Saale) (GER)
NOC East Germany


Waldemar Cierpinski started his career as a steeplechase runner but switched to the marathon in 1974. He won Olympic gold in 1976 and 1980, duplicating the feat of legendary Ethiopian Abebe Bikila. He was denied a chance for an unprecedented third Olympic title by the Eastern Bloc boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics. He also was ranked #1 in the marathon in 1976 and 1980 and was East German Sportsman of the Year in these two years. Cierpinski also competed at the 1983 World Championships (3rd), the 1978 European Championships (19th –10K, 4th – marathon), and the 1982 Europeans (6th ¬– marathon). He earned national titles in the marathon in 1978 and 1982, at 10K in 1979-80, and in the 1972 steeplechase.

Cierpinski is now a member of the German NOC and was prominent in Leipzig’s unsuccessful 2012 Olympic Bid. He is self-employed as the owner of two sports articles shops in Halle/Saale and Quedlinburg. In 1989, together with sports historian Volker Kluge, he published his autobiography Meilenweit bis Marathon (Miles to marathon).

Cierpinski is married to Maritta Politz and both are the parents of Falk Cierpinski, a non-Olympian, but a competitor in the marathon at the 2009 World Championships. Falk, a former triathlete, won the 2007 Munich Marathon, and together with his father, they are the fastest father-son pair in the marathon as of 2012.

Personal Best: Mar – 2-09:55 (1976).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1976 Summer Olympics Athletics GDR Waldemar Cierpinski
Marathon, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1980 Summer Olympics Athletics GDR Waldemar Cierpinski
Marathon, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1980 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Closing Ceremony GDR Waldemar Cierpinski

Olympic family relations

Special Notes