Liesel Westermann

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Liesel Westermann-Krieg (born November 2, 1944 in Sulingen ) is a former German athlete and Olympic medalist who was among the world's top discus throwers in the 1960s and 1970s - starting for the Federal Republic of Germany . In 1967 in Sao Paulo she was the first female discus thrower in the world to exceed the 60-meter mark with 61.26 m and increased the world record three times to 63.96 m in 1969. At the 1968 Olympic Games , she won the 57.76 m Silver medal.

In her active days she was 1.72 m tall and weighed 75 kg. From 1963 to 1976 she was ten times German champion in discus throw. A German championship in the shot put in 1969 and 1964 in the 4 x 100 meter relay are further notable successes and underline the athlete's outstanding performance potential.

Life, beginnings in sport and work

As the middle of three sisters, Liesel Westermann grew up in Sulingen in the Diepholz district , in the center of Lower Saxony . At the age of three, she went to the children's gymnastics at TuS Sulingen on her own initiative. In the summer months from May 15 to September 15, she and her sisters were a permanent guest at the outdoor pool in Sulingen. She regularly took part in the practice lessons of the swimming department of the TuS Sulingen and developed into a very good breast swimmer. As a girl she made it to several district and district championships in classes C and B. After over a year of double sports swimming and athletics, Liesel finally joined the athletes. It was essential that there was no indoor swimming pool in Sulingen and that the swimming department was therefore not active in the winter half-year, in contrast to the athletes, where two winter training sessions were carried out in the hall. The young athlete also found the year-round exercise program very beneficial for building relationships and belonging. Bruno Vogt was the committed trainer of the TuS athletes. The first event of the athlete Liesel Westermann was the district forest running championship in Syke, about 50 km from Sulingen. Liesel won the 300-meter forest run in the Girls B age group, bringing the championship to Sulingen.

Two years followed, during which the student grew into athletics under the constant presence of trainer Vogt. Day after day, Mr Vogt was on the square, he was just there, and that's why the boys and girls were there too. But after he changed jobs to southern Germany, enthusiasm for athletics waned dramatically. After a short time there was a small pile of steadfast people. Liesel had never practiced anything other than running and jumping and continued to practice them with three or four other people. As a thirteen-year-old, her best performances in the 75-meter run were 9.9 s, in the long jump 4.79 m, in the shot put 8.12 m with the 4 kg ball, in the throwing ball 27 m and in the 100-meter run 13, 8 s. This made her the most powerful among her peers in the area. She did not do any special shot put training because "I don't want the shot put to give you big arms," ​​was her stereotypical rejection of the shot put training. She never really enjoyed the shot put. When she threw a discus, however, she always felt original joy. The turning and whirling, the throwing into the distance, gave every training session a charm.

When the sports field in Sulingen was also being renovated and it took more than a year for all the facilities to be usable again, the remaining group of young athletes continued to crumble. Sometimes Liesel was the only one who went to training. One late summer afternoon, while Liesel was looking for a new job, she came across a disc while rummaging through the equipment room. She tried her luck, turning the old, one-kilo discus right and left. But she lost her balance with beautiful regularity and the device flew where it wanted, in every direction, but never in the direction Liesel intended. After many more or less unsuccessful attempts, she went home, but with the inner tension that she had finally found something attractive again that irresistibly drew her to the sports field again and again. She wanted to be able to handle the discus! In between she threw without turning, in doing so she did not run the risk of losing her balance. She was making progress. She fell less often and it was still possible to throw straight ahead even after one turn. That was an incentive for Liesel to keep practicing. She enjoyed reaching for the disc after running and dealing with the intricate constraints of this device.

With 30.06 m, the later registered thrower from TuS Sulingen won the 1959 district championships in Diepholz. At this stage she did not consider herself a thrower. The 4.88 m in the long jump and the 13.3 s over 100 meters meant more to her than the 30 meters in the discus throw. She rose to over 34 meters with the discus at the district championships in 1960 and thus surely exceeded the required minimum performance for the state youth championships in Hanover in 1960. She took part in the discus throw and shot put of the female youth A, the girls up to two years older, in Hanover and won the state youth championship in the last attempt with the discus with a new record over 36 meters.

In late autumn after the Hanoverian surprise success and a further improvement in her best distance to 38.12 m in the youth comparison match between Westphalia and Lower Saxony in Stadthagen, there was a significant change for the young talent. During a district course in Bassum under the direction of Friedel Schirmer , who later became a successful decathlon trainer, she was made very clear about the need for consistent winter training. Schirmer convincingly explained to the course participants that no success is possible without stress and that work in winter is extremely important for a track and field athlete and decisive for any progress in performance.

As soon as he was back from Bassum, Liesel went to see Mr. Vogt, who had returned to Sulingen, to persuade him to lead a planned, technically sound performance training course. Mr. Vogt agreed and was won back to athletics and the student had the "best trainer" she could imagine. The consistent work of the Vogt - Westermann tandem culminated in 1962 in Weinheim an der Bergstrasse with winning the German Youth Championships in pentathlon and discus and the development of performance at 45.55 m with the discus.

However, this continuation of the performance development had previously been discussed with the student by a university lecturer for physical education because of "her too small size" and by a doctor because of the presence of an overactive thyroid.

Liesel Westermann-Krieg studied elementary and secondary school teaching at the University of Education in Göttingen and qualified as a qualified sports teacher at the Sports University in Cologne . She worked as a grammar school teacher at various grammar schools in North Rhine-Westphalia (including Carl Duisberg grammar school in Leverkusen ) as a sports and community studies teacher and in school administration. She has been married to the economist Leif Oskar Peter Krieg since 1978 and has four children. After many years in Leverkusen, she moved to the Vogelsang grammar school in Solingen in 1995 and moved to Solingen-Ohligs . In autumn 2003, the move to the Lower Saxony Ministry of Culture made it necessary to move to Hanover ; There she worked as a consultant for school sports and health education in the rank of ministerial advisor until her retirement in 2009. Above all, she was committed to more sports in kindergartens and sports kindergartens and introduced nationwide fitness tests in schools in Lower Saxony and, with them, a state fitness map.

Athletics career in the women's class

On the way to the first German championship in discus throw

In her last year of high school and the first year in the women's athletics class, Liesel Westermann last competed for TuS Sulingen at the German championships in 1963 . The championships were held from August 9th to 11th, 1963 in Augsburg. On August 9, she finished fourth in the shot put with 13.88 m and second in the discus throw on August 10 with 50.16 m. Long-time serial winner Kriemhild Hausmann relegated the youth champion of the previous year to second place despite her personal best with 50.16 m. Two weeks after the German Championships in Augsburg, the 18-year-old athlete from Sulingen was nominated for an international match for the first time by the DLV . It took place in London against Great Britain and Liesel took 2nd place with 51.70 m. In February 1964 the high school student graduated from high school and spent her first semester in Hanover, where she finally joined Hanover 96. To the chagrin of the ambitious thrower from Lower Saxony, the "barrier" Hausmann was to last for two more years; It was not until 1966, on August 7th in Hanover, that Liesel managed to win the first championship win in the discus throw against Kriemhild Hausmann with 53.31 m . With the participation in the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964 it worked neither in the shot put nor in the discus throw; at the all-German Olympic qualifications in Berlin and Jena, she did not get any of the three Olympic tickets that the all-German team received for each Olympic discipline. In the discus throw, the young thrower could not prevail against Ingrid Lotz , Kriemhild Limberg and Doris Lorenz . The student had trained in Hanover on weekdays according to Mr. Vogt's plans and only returned to Sulingen on the weekends. Under these conditions, their performance did not improve to the extent desired and desired. Her personal best from 1963 with 51.70 m could only be improved to 52.70 m; in the following year, 1965, she added just over three meters at 55.86 m. The training relationship between Vogt and Westermann came to an end.

She no longer wanted to stay in Hanover and moved to the new place of study in Göttingen, but remained loyal to Hanover 96. In Göttingen she found a spiritual home with Professor Häussler and Professor Hölzer and felt very comfortable. In training, however, she was on her own. From now on she was only able to use the DLV courses that take place every five to eight weeks under national coach Kurt Scheibner as a guide. But she trained hard despite these adverse conditions. For the technical training, it was based on the example of an educational film from the 1964 silver medalist in Tokyo, the GDR athlete Ingrid Lotz. Over and over again she looked at the sequence of movements and studied Lotz's technique down to the last detail. To do this, she also memorized the rhythm of putting her feet on. On the sports field with a separate throwing area, she mainly worked on two things: a) the position of the feet in the release after the turn, b) the rhythm, the correct increase in speed.

At the European Championships in Budapest at the beginning of September 1966 - it was Liesel Westermann's first international competition and for the first time two German teams took part - the German champion had to be beaten by 38 centimeters with the personal best of 57.38 m, with the silver medal behind Christine Spielberg content. In the spring of 1966, the young athlete experienced a four-week competition trip through South Africa through the DLV, which she describes as a “dream trip”.

Westermann had demonstrated her ability to sprint, which is extraordinary for a thrower, at the German Athletics Championships in 1964 . With the 4 x 100 meter relay from Hannover 96, she won the German championship in Karlsruhe on July 19 in 47.3 seconds. With Renate Meyer , Christa Elsler , Erika Fisch and Liesel Westermann as the final runner, Hanover prevailed against the ASV Köln with their final runner Jutta Heine and the youth champion of 1962 had won the first championship in the women's class.

As the first woman with the discus over 60 meters, 1967

In February 1967 the studies in Göttingen were finished with the grade “very good”; Westermann went into the 1967 season without winter training. She had canceled the 1966/67 winter training because of exam preparation; only after the last exam did she resume training in February / March 1967. After first written contacts in October / November 1966 with trainer Gerd Osenberg from TuS 04 Leverkusen , the arrangement was made that the athlete would continue to compete for Hannover 96, but would join the training group in Leverkusen and start studying at the Sports University in Cologne . At this point in time there was another positive moment that around Whitsun 1967, the work of the newly installed " Sporthilfe " had a practical effect for the first time in training operations in the form of a "lunch table" in the ASV Cologne clubhouse.

In retrospect, Westermann regards the conditions of 1967 as optimal for itself. She was allowed to visit the best training facilities, a club team welcomed her in a friendly manner, the physical well-being was well taken care of, accommodation and studies continued to complement the overall performance-enhancing structure as building blocks. In addition, Gerd Osenberg, an extraordinary trainer, was available to her. It couldn't end any differently than in the end with her world record , the first competition throw by a woman beyond the 60-meter mark.

With 61.26 m she threw on November 5, 1967 in São Paulo on the trip to South America at the end of the season, as the first woman over 60 meters. In 1968 and 1969 she improved the world record three times to 63.96 m.

The all-German record was 57.21 m at the beginning of 1966 and was held by Ingrid Lotz from Leipzig. Despite the increase in Budapest at the European Championships in 1966 to 57.38 m, Liesel stayed in second place in the German rankings thanks to the 59.02 m meanwhile achieved by Anita Hentschel from Halle / Saale. In the qualification competitions of the European athletes for the first planned continental fight America against Europe, the DLV thrower improved on June 21, 1967 in East Berlin on "Olympic Day" in a direct duel against Hentschel and Spielberg, to 57.98 m . With this, Westermann took fourth place on the world's best list at the time.

Almost from competition to competition she improved her personal record until August 13, 1967 in Fulda, when the German record of 59.10 m was due. On September 2, the 8th Universiade in Tokyo saw 59.22 m and on October 11 in Leverkusen the German record improved to 59.30 m. On the three-week trip to South America - on October 14, 1967, the journey started at the airport in Frankfurt am Main - with stops in Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, the world record was finally achieved on November 5 in Sao Paulo at 61.26 m. Three days after Liesel Westermann's 23rd birthday. On the way to the world record, she had set eleven world records for the year.

Participated twice in the Olympic Games, 1968 and 1972

On August 18, 1968, Liesel Westermann was the clear favorite in Berlin at the German Athletics Championships with a width of 62.50 m, as expected, sovereign. Brigitte Berendonk followed at a distance, she threw 53.76 m, in second place.

Two months later, at the Olympic Games in Mexico City in 1968 , she won the silver medal with 57.76 m on October 18, behind Romanian Lia Manoliu , who set a new Olympic record with 58.28 m. Manoliu, who took third place in the Olympic Games from 1960 and 1964 and took part in the Olympic Games six times from 1952 to 1972, was twelve years older than Westermann and was able to carry out her first attempt in Mexico - that was the victory throw with 58.28 m - in dry conditions. before a tropical rain set in and Liesel Westermann had to deny all attempts on a wet drop ring. The world record holder with 62.54 m could not implement the hoped for throw over 60 meters under these circumstances.

After the intermediate stops at the European Championships in Athens in 1969 and in Helsinki in 1971, she went to her second Olympic Games in 1972 in Munich. In the competitions of 1969 there was no defeat for them. In series she threw the discus over 60 meters. All other competitors had still tried in vain at this brand. Due to the refusal of the DLV team to start out of solidarity with teammate Jürgen May , who, according to a GDR protest, had been banned from starting at short notice as a "republican", they were unable to start in Athens. The title in the women's discus throw went to Tamara Danilowa at the European Championships in Athens in 1969 with 59.28 m . Just a few days after the European Championships in Athens, on September 28th, Liesel Westermann improved the world record to 63.96 m in the international match against Great Britain in Hamburg. Despite the lack of a European Championship title, she was elected "World Sportswoman of the Year 1969" by the world press and again named "Sportswoman of the Year" in the Federal Republic after 1967.

At the European Championships in Helsinki in 1971 on August 12, their 61.68 m were enough to win the silver medal; Faina Melnik set the world record with her last attempt on 64.22 m and won the title. After the European Championships, Liesel Westermann was determined to get involved in Olympic training for Munich in 1972, as she had never undertaken before. Coach Gerd Osenberg worked out a training plan together with the athlete that couldn't be harder and more unconditional. Intensive considerations have also been made to implement this in the company of an individual nutrition plan that has been carefully considered down to the last detail.

The training process was promising, better than ever; The coach and athlete were confident, despite a protracted and painful performance strain that had been discontinued in the early summer of the Olympic year, which set the Olympic preparations back. In three international matches in June, Liesel played against Hungary with 61.70 m, against Romania with 63.76 m (German annual best) and against the Soviet Union in Augsburg with 62.38 m. She won the German championship on July 23 in Munich with 60.84 m. A month before the Olympic Games in Munich, she increased the German record in Zurich to 64.96 m, with three more throws going well over the 60-meter mark.

In retrospect, she recorded the 1972 Olympic days in Munich as “dark, black, terrible days for politics and sport”. The attack on the Israeli athletes on Conollystrasse in the Olympic village paralyzed politicians and athletes alike. The multitude of people out there in the country, out in the world, they were all touched and deeply affected. It was left up to the athletes whether to continue; Westermann's decision to start the competition was made during the memorial service because the Israelis had requested it.

Her first throw hit beyond the 65-meter mark, a successful throw. But she sagged, her knees gave way, she got overweight, looked for balance, had to catch the tumbling and stepped on the edge of the circle for a split second. The referee on the edge of the circle had seen it. He raised the red flag - out! This enigmatic transgression on her first attempt suited that strange, indefinable mood Westermann was in at this hour. In the third attempt she came to 62.18 m and thus qualified for the final fight of the best eight. But it stays at this distance, so she finished fifth.

Why didn't it come close to the range of the first attempt? She writes: “All the tension, all the competition fever that I had tried so carefully to build up in myself, it was only enough for one throw. And not even quite for this one. Otherwise would I have converted in such an unusual way? Normally a thrower steps over during the throw or immediately afterwards when catching the turning swing, but never after she is already standing still in a circle. "

Gustav Schwenk wrote: “Liesel Westermann has no luck at the Olympic Games. In 1968 in Mexico a rain that started after Lia Manolius' victory shot spoiled her chance of victory. But at least she got the silver medal. In 1972 in Munich the audience cheered Liesel's first throw as the 1000 gram disc landed at 65 meters. But nothing came of a new German record or the bronze medal. The referee next to the throwing circle raised the red flag as a sign of an invalid throw. The Leverkusen teacher did not recover from this shock, especially since there were distances like never before in an international competition. "

Further successes at international highlights

End of the competitive era

With the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976 Westermann would have liked to have finished her career; as the best discus thrower in the western world, she sat in a London hotel and watched the British television broadcasts of athletics from Montreal. With throwing achievements that were recently regarded as extraordinary, with achieved distances that made her remain the best discus thrower of all non-socialist countries even without anabolic steroids - Liesel Westermann's best performance in 1976 was a distance of 61.48 m don't bring them to Montreal. It was not enough in the eyes of the sports officials. Fully involved and challenged in everyday working life, she had not achieved the desired distance in time. The "norm" had been higher - the anabolic steroids norm.

As much as it hurt her as an athlete not to have been there, she was relieved not to have witnessed the oppressive test of strength between sport and politics again. Here, as in Munich in 1972 and on other occasions, the clear point winner was politics.

From 1973 to 1976 Liesel Westermann won the German championship four times in a row in the discus throw , took seventh place at the European championships in Rome in 1974 and was part of the victorious TuS 04 Leverkusen team at the German team championships in 1977.


Liesel Westermann-Krieg is a member of the FDP and ran in the 1990s for the Bundestag , the North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament and in 1999 for the office of mayor in Remscheid . In the 1990s she headed the “Federal Sports Commission” of the FDP.


Liesel Westermann-Krieg is a holder of the Silver Laurel Leaf and the Order of Merit of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia .

  • In 1967 and 1969 she was Sportswoman of the Year in the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • In 1967 the American journal “Women's Track and Field World” also named her “World Athlete of the Year”.
  • In 1969 she was voted "World Sportswoman of the Year" by the international sports press. For her services to sport in Lower Saxony , she was included in the Honorary Portal of Lower Saxony Sports of the Lower Saxony Institute for Sports History.
  • In 2011 she was inducted into the Hall of Fame of German Sports .
  • 2017: On the 50th anniversary of the first discus throw by a woman over 60 meters, the athletics department of the TuS Sulingen organized a sports gala in her honor, because on November 5, 1967, Westermann threw the discus 61.26 meters.


  • Lower Saxony / Ministry of Culture: Lower Saxony fitness map: Handout for the exercise check-up. The Lower Saxony fitness map is based on the nationwide joint initiative of AOK, DSB and WIAD "Fit sein macht Schule" / Lower Saxony Ministry of Education and Culture; WIAD, Scientific Institute of Doctors in Germany. WdV, Bad Homburg 2005.
  • Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. Molden, Munich 1977, ISBN 3-217-00846-4 .
  • K.Wilhelm Köster: Discus Liesel or Pech-Marie , anniversary publication : "TuS Sulingen another 25 years", 2005
  • K.Wilhelm Köster in Sulingen History and People , City of Sulingen (Ed.), 2012

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ FA Brockhaus GmbH: Der Sport Brockhaus: everything from sport from A to Z. Mannheim 1989. ISBN 3-7653-0392-5 . P. 594
  2. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 16
  3. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 24
  4. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 26
  5. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 30
  6. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 31
  7. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 104
  8. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 105
  9. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 32
  10. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 33
  11. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 35
  12. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 39
  13. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 40
  14. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 41
  15. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 48
  16. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 256
  17. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 257
  18. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 54
  19. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 263
  20. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P.56
  21. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 356
  22. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 57
  23. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 58
  24. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 277
  25. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 81
  26. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 66
  27. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. Pp. 73, 77
  28. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 79
  29. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 87
  30. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 88
  31. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 182
  32. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 182
  33. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 297
  34. ^ FA Brockhaus: Der Sport-Brockhaus: everything from sport from A - Z. Mannheim 1989. ISBN 3-7653-0392-5 . P. 318
  35. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. Pp. 204, 205
  36. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. Pp. 204, 205
  37. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 226
  38. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 227
  39. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 136
  40. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 137
  41. Kicker Sportmagazin: No. 66 of August 14, 1972. P. 16
  42. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 230
  43. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 247
  44. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 251
  45. Kicker Sportmagazin: No. 74 of September 11, 1972. P. 35
  46. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 139
  47. Liesel Westermann: It can't always be laurel. P. 230
  48. Silke Bernhart: Flash News of the Day - 50 years after the record was thrown: Gala for Liesel Westermann ( Memento of the original from November 8, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Notes, November 7, 2017, accessed November 7, 2017 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /