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Carl Kaufmann

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 2
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameCarl•Kaufmann
Used nameCarl•Kaufmann
Born25 March 1936 in Brooklyn, New York, New York (USA)
Died1 September 2008 in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg (GER)
Measurements183 cm / 76 kg
AffiliationsKarlsruher SC, Karlsruhe (GER)
NOC Germany
Nationality West Germany


Kaufmann began as a 200 sprinter, but moved up to the 400 in 1958. The switch proved successful immediately, as he placed fourth in the European Championships while winning a silver medal with the West German relay squad. He also won the first of three national titles in the 400. His greatest success came in the Olympic final at Rome, where he nearly caught Otis Davis at the line, but the photo finish placed him in second. Both were credited with a world record time of 44.9, becoming the first runners to break the 45-second barrier. He also earned a silver medal with the 4×400 relay. Domestically Kaufmann won the West German championship three times (1958-60) in the 400. Overall, he won seven German national titles.

Kaufmann was born in New York but his family stayed in Germany when World War II broke out. Therefore they could not travel back to America, and they settled in Karlsruhe where he was educated as a school teacher. After his athletic career, he established an amateur theatre which was his first love, and he had a second career as an opera and operetta singer as a tenor. He later studied piano and singing at the Baden School of Music. In 1967 he founded the theater Die Käuze (The Owls), which he directed until his death and where he was heavily involved with his family. One of his primary interests was helping children in the theatre. Kaufmann was awarded the Silver Bay Leaf in 1960.

Personal Best: 400 – 45.08 (1960).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1960 Summer Olympics Athletics GER FRG Carl Kaufmann
400 metres, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
4 × 400 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) Unified Team of Germany 2 Silver

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 400 metres, Men Final 44.9 WR 2

Special Notes