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Ulla Donath

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameUrsula "Ulla"•Donath (Jurewitz-, -Brehme-)
Used nameUlla•Donath
Born30 July 1931 in Saldus (LAT)
Measurements166 cm / 55 kg
AffiliationsSV Halle, Halle (Saale) (GER)
NOC Germany
Nationality East Germany


In 1953, Ulla Donath was the first East German to set an IAAF-accepted world record, with a time of 55.7 for the 400. Donath won the bronze medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and also won several medals at the International University Sport Weeks (3-1-2) in the 400, 800, and 4 x 100. Domestically she won 16 titles between 1951 and 1961 dominating the 800. She bettered her first 400 metre world record twice, in 1954 to 55.0 and one year later to 54.4 seconds. From 1961-66 she was a sports administrator and member of the DVfL. Her profession was as a university school teacher at Martin-Luther-University at Halle-Wittenberg.

She was of Geman ancestry but born in the Latvian town of Saldus (Frauenburg). The family was re-settled in 1941 initially to Poznań (Poland), and then to Luckenwalde in the GDR. In 1953 she married Dr. Rolf Donath, also a middle distance runner, who published in 1960 the textbook Mittelstrecken- und Hindernislauf. Technik, Training, Taktik (Middle Distance and Steeplechase Run. Technique, Training, Tactics). He was the leading sports medicine doctor of the former GDR and belonged in the late 1960s and early 1970s to the select group of 15 persons of the German Association of Athletics in the GDR (DVfL) who determined which high-performing athletes should receive ‘supporting means’, and was also empowered along with Drs. Hoeppner, Wendler and Pahlke, to distribute those means. In 1975 he was a member of the “medical commission” of DVfL and thus was instrumental in the development of the East German state doping system.

Personal Best: 800 – 2:05.73 (1960).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1960 Summer Olympics Athletics GER GDR Ulla Donath
800 metres, Women (Olympic) 3 Bronze

Olympic Records

Records may have been broken subsequently during the same competition.
Games Date Sport Event Phase Mark Pos
1960 Summer Olympics 6 September 1960 Athletics 800 metres, Women Round One, Heat Two 2:07.8 1