Rainer Tscharke finished an unfortunate fourth with the East German volleyball team at the 1968 Mexico-City Olympics. The Soviet bus was stuck in traffic prior to their match against the GDR and they were 90 minutes late for the match. The East Germans could have taken a forfeit, but elected not to, and the USSR won the match in five sets. Had the USSR defaulted, Czechoslovakia would have won the gold medal, and East Germany would likely have won a medal. After returning home, the supposedly amateur East German players received the same rewards from the government usually accorded to silver medalists. In 1972 he won a silver medal, the GDR team losing the final against Japan 3-1.
Tscharke played on the winning East German team at the 1969 Volleyball World Cup and the 1970 World Championships at Bulgaria, which is still the greatest title in German volleyball history. The team won the deciding game against Bulgaria 3-2 in a dramatic fifth set. The team was 8 points behind (5-13), but came back to win sensationally, 15-13. Nationally Tscharke played with TSC Berlin. He later became a volleyball coach at his home club and led them to the national titles in 1984 and 1986. In total, he earned 189 caps. He also coached the German Paralympic volleyball team at the 2004 Athens Olympics.