Jürgen May

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJürgen•May
Used nameJürgen•May
Born18 June 1942 in Nordhausen, Thüringen (GER)
Measurements176 cm / 68 kg
AffiliationsSC Turbine Erfurt, Erfurt (GER) / LG Kreis Hanau, Hanau (GER)
NOC Germany West Germany


Middle- and long-distance runner Jürgen May was elected GDR-Athlete of the Year in 1965. At the Olympics he ran the 1,500 in 1964 and the 5K in 1972, losing out in the semis both times. He competed at the 1966 European Championships in the 800 and 1,500, and in 1971 in the steeplechase. May was East German Champion in the 1,500 in 1962 and 1965-66, and in 1962-64 in cross-country. In West Germany he won another three outdoor and four indoor titles in different distances.

During the 1966 European Athletics Championships May bribed his East German teammate Jürgen Haase to wear Puma shoes in the 10K final. Adidas became aware of this and reported the incident. As a punishment, May was ostracized in the GDR, lost his job at the Erfurt newspaper The People, and henceforth worked as a sports teacher. In 1967, when he had the opportunity, May defected to the West. At the 1969 Europeans the GDR blocked him from competing because of his defection. West Germany then boycotted the European Championships and only took part symbolically in the relays. In West Germany May became head of the office for Education, Culture and Sport in the Main-Kinzig-Kreis.

Personal Bests: 1500 – 3:36.4 (1965); 5000 – 13:33.0 (1969).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1964 Summer Olympics Athletics GER Jürgen May
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) 8 h2 r2/3
1972 Summer Olympics Athletics FRG Jürgen May
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 9 h5 r1/2

Special Notes