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Wilfried Dietrich

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 2
Bronze 2
Total 5
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameWilfried•Dietrich
Used nameWilfried•Dietrich
Nick/petnamesDer Kran von Schifferstadt
Born14 October 1933 in Schifferstadt, Rheinland-Pfalz (GER)
Died3 June 1992 in Durbanville, Cape Town (RSA)
Measurements184 cm / 118 kg
AffiliationsVfK Schifferstadt, Schifferstadt (GER) / ASV Mainz 1888, Mainz (GER)
NOC Germany West Germany
Nationality West Germany


A competitor at five Olympic Games (1956-1972), West German Wilfried Dietrich, who was nicknamed “Kran von Schifferstadt” (Crane of Schifferstadt), competed in seven Olympic tournaments (four freestyle and three Greco-Roman) and won five medals (one gold, two silver, two bronze), a record for an Olympic wrestler. All of his medals came in the unlimited class and unusually included gold in the freestyle and silver in Greco-Roman in 1960. His first Olympic medal came in 1956 when he won silver in Greco. In 1964 and 1968 he earned bronze medals, in Greco in 1964 and freestyle in 1968. Dietrich also won five medals in the World Championships between 1957 and 1969. Three of these were in freestyle and two in Greco-Roman. His only World Championship title came in 1961 when he won the unlimited freestyle championship. In 1967 he also won that division in the European championships. Dietrich was unbeaten in the unlimited freestyle from 1955 to 1962. At the World Championships he also won two silver and two bronze medals between 1957 and 1969.

Dietrich was the best ever wrestler from Germany as well as one of the best in the world in both styles after World War II. In 1972 at München, he won a legendary victory against the 187 kg US-wrestler Chris Taylor with the later so-called “Jahrhundertwurf” (Century Grip). In West Germany he won 30 national titles during his career. He later immigrated to South Africa, because he could not find any employment in West Germany. He returned several times because the language barrier was a problem for him. Before his final return to Germany, he died from a heart attack in 1992 in Durbanville. In 2008 he was inducted to the Hall of Fame of German Sports, and in 2014 also to the International Wrestling Hall of Fame.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1956 Summer Olympics Wrestling GER FRG Wilfried Dietrich
Heavyweight, Greco-Roman, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
1960 Summer Olympics Wrestling GER FRG Wilfried Dietrich
Heavyweight, Greco-Roman, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
Heavyweight, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1964 Summer Olympics Wrestling GER FRG Wilfried Dietrich
Heavyweight, Greco-Roman, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
Heavyweight, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) AC
1968 Summer Olympics Wrestling FRG Wilfried Dietrich
Heavyweight, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
1972 Summer Olympics Wrestling FRG Wilfried Dietrich
Super-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman, Men (Olympic) AC
Super-Heavyweight, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 5

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1968 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony FRG Wilfried Dietrich

Special Notes