Willi Kuhweide

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameWilhelm "Willi"•Kuhweide
Used nameWilli•Kuhweide
Born6 January 1943 in Berlin, Berlin (GER)
Measurements184 cm / 88 kg
AffiliationsVSaW, Berlin (GER)
NOC Germany West Germany
Nationality West Germany


West-Berlin based sailor Willi Kuhweide became one of the most successful sailors ever in Germany. He participated in five Olympic Games from 1964-84, only missing 1980 because of the US-led boycott.

At his first Olympic appearance in 1964, Kuhweide was the object of Cold War intrigue between the NOCs of the former GDR and FRG. He had lost the inter-national races against GDR sailor Bernd Dehmel, but was the reigning European champion (because GDR sailors had not received an entry permit to come to Denmark). The International Yachting Union IYRU then ordered a race-off in Japan at Enoshima Island on Sagami Bay before the Games, but Dehmel refused to participate. Per the IOC, both sailors should have competed in the first four regattas, with the loser eliminated, but the IYRU did not agree with this. Kuhweide was asked to withdraw by the East German NOC, but the West Germans would not accept this. With only an hour before the first regatta, IOC president Avery Brundage chose Kuhweide for the regatta, who then won the gold medal in the Finn Monotype class.

Four years later at Acapulco Kuhweide finished a disappointing 15th. He then moved to the Star class and won a bronze medal in 1972 at Kiel with Karsten Meyer. Another four years later, then sailing in Soling class, he finished sixth at Ontario Lake. Finally, he came back in 1984, again in Soling, and finished eighth at Long Beach, near Los Angeles. At Los Angeles, he was also the flagbearer for West Germany at the Opening Ceremony. Kuhweide also won four World and three European Championships. He also had 10 wins at Kiel Week and eight West German championships.

Kuhweide emigrated in 1983 to Küssnacht in Switzerland. By profession, he first started a career as a military pilot with the West German Bundeswehr. He then became a civilian pilot with Lufthansa. After his retirement as a pilot he became a pilot trainer and moved to Phoenix, Arizona in the United States, where he headed the Lufthansa civilian flying school from 1989 until his retirement. In 2011 he was admitted to the German Sports Hall of Fame.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1964 Summer Olympics Sailing GER FRG Willi Kuhweide
One Person Dinghy, Open (Olympic) 1 Gold
1968 Summer Olympics Sailing FRG Willi Kuhweide
One Person Dinghy, Open (Olympic) 15
1972 Summer Olympics Sailing FRG Willi Kuhweide
Two Person Keelboat, Open (Olympic) Karsten Meyer 3 Bronze
1976 Summer Olympics Sailing FRG Willi Kuhweide
Three Person Keelboat, Open (Olympic) West Germany 6
1984 Summer Olympics Sailing FRG Willi Kuhweide
Three Person Keelboat, Open (Olympic) West Germany 8

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1984 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony FRG Willi Kuhweide