73-year-old German record finally acknowledged

RSS Author RSS     Views:N/A
Bookmark and Share          Republish
It seems like a long time ago for NY resident Gretel Bergmann, in fact it was a long time ago that the former Olympic high jumper had her record taken away because of her heritage. Bergmann was one of the top female athletes in 1936 Olympics that also featured United States great Jesse Owens winning 4 gold medals. She was one of the top high jumpers of her time and applied to compete for Britain in the Olympics after winning the 1934 British high jump championship, but the Nazis quickly stepped in and made her compete for Germany where she was a natural citizen.

Even though she was brought back and trained to compete for Germany in the Olympics, once she arrived she noticed there was no way that she would ever be allowed to compete for the team despite training with them from 1934-1936. There was a reason Bergmann sought refuge in Britain, she born to Jewish parents and at that time most of her family members were in living in horrible conditions and were restricted from normal everyday activities like restaurants and movies. Bergmann herself was even restricted from doing normal activities that all her other teammates were allowed to participate in which caused her to grow increasingly upset with her situation. Then with all the built up anger and animosity she held toward her country she was able to channel it towards her competition in Stuttgart Germany a month before the 1936 Olympics. With all of her coaches and teammates wishing for the worst, Bergmann tied the 5'3 German high jump record which solidified her as one of the top high jumpers going into the Olympics.

Following her historic win, when it came down to practicing for the Olympics Bergmann was not allowed to enter the stadium or communicate with her fellow German teammates. She was later kicked off the Olympic team and the high jump record she tied in Stuttgart was taken away from her. The only reason why she was even put on the German team was to try and prevent anyone of the Jewish decent from winning an Olympic medal.

A year later in 1937 Bergmann immigrated to the United States and married her husband Bruno Lambert. Once she arrived in NY she kept her competitive streak going by winning the US woman's high jump and shotput championship, and in 1938 she repeated as the high jump champ before retiring from competition.

Since her arrival in the United State she has only visited Germany twice even though she vowed never to return. In one of those occasions she went back to attend a ceremony in her hometown of Laupheim. Given the treatment she received that last time she was there she only went so the youth would know the troubles she and others faced growing up. Finally on November 23, 2009 her 1936 high jumped record was reinstated.

Report this article
Occupation: Manager

Bookmark and Share

Ask a Question about this Article