News13 Apr 2023

Renowned coach and researcher Ritzdorf dies


Dr. Wolfgang Ritzdorf

World Athletics is deeply saddened to hear that renowned coach and researcher Dr. Wolfgang Ritzdorf died on Wednesday (12) at the age of 68.

Ritzdorf was born in Horhausen, Germany, on 10 February 1955 and went on to become a leading figure in athletics coaching and academics.

He was central to the Coaches Education and Certification System (CECS) that launched in the early 1990s, also becoming the CECS Coordinator for the creation of the new online Level I and II courses.

As a former national coach of the women’s high jump in Germany, Ritzdorf spent several years working with Olympic gold medallists Ulrike Meyfarth, who won in Munich in 1972 and Los Angeles in 1984, and Heike Henkel, who triumphed in Barcelona in 1992 as well as at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo.

He was also director of the former World High Jump Centre in Cologne and was personal coach to a total of nine Olympic and World Championships high jumpers from 2007.

As well as being internationally renowned for his coaching expertise, Ritzdorf’s research work is equally celebrated.

He was a senior lecturer at the German Sport University in Cologne and Head of Department of Athletics, regularly sharing his great knowledge as a keynote speaker in international coach conferences.

Ritzdorf also published numerous articles and research papers in New Studies in Athletics and other journals, including prominent papers into the research of strength training, reactive strength training and the long-term adaptation of top junior athletes.

World Athletics