Josef Fendt, President of the Fédération Internationale de Luge de Course (FIL) since 1994, is one of only three German leaders of an international sports federation, as of 2009. He was formerly one the most successful West German lugers of the 1970s, winning the 1970 and 1974 World Championships, and placing second in 1976. After placing sixth at the 1972 Sapporo Olympics he won the silver medal in 1976 at Innsbruck behind East German Detlef Günther. Fendt was German Champion in 1971-72, and 1974-75 and in 1973 was the runner-up at the European Championships.
After his retirement from competition, Fendt became active with the FIL, first being named Vice-President Sport for Artificial Track in 1985. In 2008, on his 61st birthday, Fendt received the Bundesverdienstkreuz Verdienstkreuz am Bande (Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) for his contributions to luge. His sister Andrea also competed for West Germany in international competitions.