Roland Matthes

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Roland Matthes swim
Federal Archives Image 183-F1113-0201-001, Roland Matthes.jpg

Roland Matthes in Leipzig (1967)

Personal information
Surname: Roland Matthes
Nation: Germany Democratic Republic 1949GDR German Democratic Republic
Swimming style (s) : Freestyle, layers, back, butterfly
Birthday: 17th November 1950
Place of birth: Poessneck
Date of death: 20th December 2019
Place of death: Wertheim
Size: 1.89 m
Medal table

Roland Matthes (born November 17, 1950 in Pößneck ; † December 20, 2019 in Wertheim ) was a German swimmer , world record holder and four-time Olympic champion .


Swimming career

Roland Matthes is still the most successful back swimmer of all time. For seven years - from April 1967 to August 1974 - he emerged as the winner of all competitions on the back distance. He won four European championships and three world championships in succession and swam a total of 19 world and 29 European records between 1967 and 1973. During this time he dominated the world elite in backstroke swimming so much that his versatility as a world class swimmer is often forgotten. For a long time he was the European record holder for 100 meters freestyle , 200 meters medley and 100 meters butterfly . With Roland Matthes, SC Turbine Erfurt dominated the GDR swimming competitions for men in these three positions for years. He trained with Marlies Grohe .

As an Olympian in 1968 , 1972 and 1976 he won a total of eight medals (4 × gold, 2 × silver, 2 × bronze). He managed to swim the gold medals over 100 meters and 200 meters back at the Olympic Games in 1968 and 1972. In 1976 he also won the bronze medal over 100 meters back. The successes were rounded off by the relay silver medals in 1968 and 1972 over 4 × 100 meter medley and a bronze medal in 4 × 100 meters freestyle.

At the swimming world championships in 1973 in Belgrade , he became the first world champion both over 100 meters and over 200 meters back. He was also able to win the silver medal with the 4 × 100 meter layer relay and the bronze medal with the 4 × 100 meter freestyle relay.

Two years later, at the World Championships in Cali , he defended his 100 meter back title.

At the European Championships in Barcelona in 1970 and 1974 in Vienna , he dominated the back competition and won all four European championships in this swimming style at these two championships. In Barcelona he also became European champion with the GDR's 4 × 100 meter relay, vice European champion in the 100 meter freestyle and bronze medalist with the 4 × 100 meter and 4 × 200 meter freestyle relay. 1974 in Vienna he was also runner-up in the European championship in the 100 meter butterfly and third in the 4 × 100 meter freestyle relay.

Roland Matthes was one of the great Olympic sports stars of the GDR . From 1967 to 1971, 1973 and 1975 he was elected GDR Sportsman of the Year seven times . In 1981 he was inducted into the international swimming pool 's hall of fame . In 2006 he was appointed to the Hall of Fame of German Sports as the first and, until then, only former GDR athlete .

Further career

Matthes studied sports science from 1970 to 1977 and graduated as a certified sports teacher. From 1978 to 1984 he studied medicine in Jena . Matthes worked as an orthopedist in Marktheidenfeld .

From 1978 to 1982 he was married to the Olympic swimming champion Kornelia Ender .

On April 6, 2011, the Erfurt south swimming pool was renamed “Roland-Matthes-swimming pool” in his presence.

Roland Matthes died in December 2019 at the age of 69 after a short, serious illness.

Awards (selection)

See also


Web links

Commons : Roland Matthes  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ GDR swimmer legend Roland Matthes is dead. In: Spiegel Online . Retrieved December 21, 2019 .
  2. ^ The great Olympia Lexicon. In: Sport-Bild , June 19, 1996, p. 43.
  3. Erfurt "Südschwimmhalle" is now called "Roland Matthes swimming hall". In: . April 6, 2011, accessed April 27, 2011 .
  4. Roland Matthes died at the age of 69. In: . December 21, 2019, accessed December 21, 2019 .