Jürgen Zäck

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Jürgen Zäck at Ironman Germany, 2005
Jürgen Zäck at Ironman Germany , 2005
Personal information
Date of birth 8th August 1965 (age 55)
place of birth Koblenz , Germany
Nickname Zäck Attack
1988 German champion triathlon short distance
1989-1992 3 × German champion triathlon middle distance
1992 World champion duathlon long distance
1994-2001 7 × Ironman winner
1997 Second at the Ironman Hawaii
Resigned in 2006

Jürgen Zäck (born August 8, 1965 in Koblenz ) is a former German triathlete . He is Duathlon World Champion (1992), finished second in the Ironman World Championships in 1997 , won seven Ironman races (1989, 1994–1996, 1998–2001) and made it into the top ten eight times at Ironman Hawaii . He is included in the best list of German triathletes on the Ironman distance .


Jürgen Zäck grew up in Saffig near Koblenz and began athletics before joining the triathlon in 1983. As a 16-year-old he ran the 800 m in 1:57 min and the 1000 m in 2:35 min. Parallel to his sporting career, he passed his Abitur at the Kurfürst-Salentin-Gymnasium in Andernach and successfully completed an apprenticeship.

German champion triathlon short distance 1988

In 1983 he started triathlon. In the early 1990s, he trained to his limit and completed eight to ten hours of training every day. After a few injuries, he reduced his training volume and increased his training intensity. In 1988 he was able to win his first title in Gerolstein with the German championship on the short distance.

Together with Wolfgang Dittrich and Dirk Aschmoneit, Zäck formed the dominant "Big Three" over the Ironman distance in Germany in the early 1990s.

World champion duathlon long distance 1992

In 1992 he became Duathlon World Champion on the long distance at Powerman Zofingen in Switzerland .
Jürgen Zäck was known for his bike strength for many years and set new course records on the Ironman Hawaii bike course in 1992 and 1993.

With 7:51:42 h, which he achieved in Roth in July 1997, he held the German best performance over the Ironman distance for fourteen years . This best time was only beaten in 2011 at the Challenge Roth by Andreas Raelert . Jürgen Zäck also held the world best time in cycling for eleven years on the Ironman distance, which Sebastian Kienle only managed to undercut by another eleven seconds in July 2010 .

Second at Ironman Hawaii 1997

In 1997 he finished second behind Thomas Hellriegel and ahead of Lothar Leder at the Ironman Hawaii . Years later, Zäck's change from swimming to cycling was an anecdote of this race: Before switching to the bike course, Zäck spent several minutes in which the rivals escaped him, accompanied by panicked “helmet, helmet” shouts with the cracked one Repairing the chin strap of his helmet. In the end, Zäck even managed to get a 2-minute lead on the bike against Hellriegel, but at 17 km on the running track he had to give up his lead. On the following Saturday, Zäck and Hellriegel were the first triathletes to sit together during the interview in the current sports studio .

In 1998 Zäck switched to the running track for the third time after 1992 and 1997 as the first athlete at the Ironman Hawaii, but stomach problems forced him to turn the marathon into a hike, so that he came across the finish line as the 242nd spitting blood. The following year a herniated disc prevented him from starting in Hawaii.

Although Zäck had already been excluded from the DTU squad in 1995 because he preferred self-determined preparation in San Diego to the national team's training camps, he nevertheless unsuccessfully demanded a wildcard for a start at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. In 1996, Zäck was also a member of the advisory board of the “International Triathlon Grand Prix” with ten events worldwide, including one in Koblenz. With US $ 1 million in prize money, the series was the world's most endowed at the time, but was discontinued after four years.

After four wins and eight podium finishes at Ironman Europe , the triathlon with the greatest media attention in Europe in the 1990s, Zäck dropped out of this competition in 2000. He justified this with an allegedly loosened seat post on his bike before the race and accused the organizer Detlef Kühnel of inadequate safety precautions. Zäck and Kühnel then engaged in a public dispute over several months, which finally ended in court. After the WTC refused to allow Zäck to participate in the Ironman Hawaii by wildcard , Zäck started two weeks later at Ironman Austria . Zäck, who in a letter published in Donaukurier alleged weakness in form as a reason for promotion in Roth, won the fastest time ever for an athlete in a competition over this distance and his bike time in Klagenfurt of 4:14:54 h was the third fastest in the world up to then over this distance. In preparation for the Ironman Hawaii, Zäck suffered a bicycle accident with a broken collarbone , so that he could not take part in the Ironman Hawaii despite his qualification.

2006 doping ban

On May 22, 2006, Zäck was checked during training and an increased concentration of the metabolite etiocholanolone was found in the A sample . Zäck decided not to open the B sample. He was then suspended for two years for doping . He sees himself as a victim of contaminated food supplements.

He canceled his planned start at Ironman Germany in Frankfurt 2006, which he had planned to say goodbye to his sport, which he justified with a back injury. On July 19, 2006, at the age of 40, he announced his retirement from professional sport.

In 2015 he started again at Ironman Hawaii and he finished third in the M50-54 age group. Zäck is a 12-time finisher of the Ironman Hawaii (with 14 starts) and was eight times in the top 10 between 1989 and 2015.

Zäck lives in Phuket in Thailand . He works as a coach and supervised e.g. B. the British-Swiss athlete Imogen Simmonds or the Australian Dimity-Lee Duke .

Sporting successes

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Fastest Ironman in the world. In: Rhein-Zeitung . July 14, 1997, accessed March 25, 2016 .
  2. Frank Hellmann: Interview with Jürgen Zäck: The spirit in Hawaii infected me. In: Frankfurter Rundschau . October 9, 2009, accessed March 25, 2016 .
  3. Frank Ketterer: Hellriegel: I went through hell three times. In: The world . October 20, 1997, accessed March 25, 2016 .
  4. Frank Siering: Ironman Lothar Leder hangs on the drip for half an hour. In: The world . October 5, 1998, accessed March 25, 2016 .
  5. a b Triathlete Zäck cancels Ironman start. In: Rhein-Zeitung . October 11, 1999, accessed March 25, 2016 .
  6. Ute Witt: Those who go through hell. In: Focus . September 30, 1995, accessed March 25, 2016 .
  7. ^ Frank Kastner: Zäck wins Ironman Europe. In: Rhein-Zeitung . June 28, 1999, accessed March 25, 2016 .
  8. Gert Blumenstock: Germans have to relearn. In: Rhein-Zeitung . August 10, 1998, accessed March 25, 2016 .
  9. International Triathlon Grand Prix. In: OnLine Sports International. Archived from the original on January 19, 1997 ; accessed on March 25, 2016 (English).
  10. Grand Prix Series event richest here. In: Honolulu Star Bulletin. August 12, 1996. Retrieved March 25, 2016 .
  11. Sabotage or material damage: End for Zäck: Triathlon: Lothar Leder wins the 'Ironman' in Roth. In: Rheinische Post . July 9, 2000, accessed March 25, 2016 .
  12. Jörg Kottmeier: Zäck's allegations have consequences. In: Rhein-Zeitung . July 10, 2000, accessed March 25, 2016 .
  13. Chronology in the Zäck - Kühnel case. In: 3athlon.de. August 2000, archived from the original on March 9, 2004 ; accessed on March 25, 2016 .
  14. Kühnel settles accounts with Jürgen Zäck. In: 3athlon.de. July 19, 2000, archived from the original on June 1, 2004 ; accessed on March 25, 2016 .
  15. Zäck wins the Ironman Austria. In: 3athlon.de. July 23, 2000, archived from the original on January 15, 2005 ; accessed on March 25, 2016 .
  16. ^ Accident by Jürgen Zäck. In: 3athlon.de. September 29, 2000, archived from the original on May 17, 2004 ; accessed on March 25, 2016 .
  17. Ban for Zäck after the end of his career. In: 1asport.de. September 13, 2006, archived from the original on August 13, 2007 ; accessed on January 23, 2018 .
  18. Volker Boch: Vallendarer Jürgen Zäck ends a unique career. In: Rheinzeitung . July 19, 2006, accessed December 1, 2014 .
  19. The Triathlon History of Germany - Part 3: 1986-88
  20. History - Triathlon - German Championships
  21. IM Germany 2002: The Leather Show