Times were different ....that’s how many sportsmen of that era would start talking about their career. Athletics were a crowd-puller, the stadia were full and there were many German athletes who had achieved international success. The photo shows the 4 x 100 metres relay of the KSC (Carl kaufmann moved from the KTV athletics club to the KSC club to be able run in a relay-race). This relay-team beat the world-record in 1956 with a time of 40.6 seconds (from left to right – Lothar Knörzer, Carl Kaufmann, Heinz Fütterer, Hans-Peter Meier). They won a number of German championships and were also German record-holders. They had been trained by Helmut Häfele. Around this time Heinz Fütterer was the most successful 100m and 200m runner – he set a new world record of 10.2 seconds in the 100 m. Manfred Germar and Carl Kaufmann challenged him to many a duel on the racetrack. Then there were athletes such as Martin Lauer, the most successful German hurdler in the 110m hurdles, holding the world record of 13.2 seconds for 13 years and Armin Hary, who won a Gold Medal in Rome and secured a new world-record of 10.0 seconds in the 100m in Zurich. Jutta Heine was one of a number of German female runners who also enjoyed great success at that time.
The sportsmen and women of this era used to take a little shovel with them to some of the competitions. If a stadium did not have starting-blocks, the shovels would be used to dig holes in the tracks so that the athletes could get more of a push to their ‘crouch start’. This was an era when there was no electronic system to monitor ‘false starts’, no Tartan track and the development of running-shoes by the major sports manufacturers was still in its infancy.
Here are a few words from some of Charly’s companions in sport :
' German athletics could and would thank its lucky stars today if they had another Charly Kaufmann. He would not have to run any faster than before, some fifty years ago - he would still be one of the best runners in the world. I would urge everyone to think about that very carefully'
Martin Lauer (World-record holder110m Hurdles)
'I really appreciated his very matter-of-fact, straight-talking manner, Charly was a real team-player. Even if he sometimes gave the impression of being distant and aloof, he wasn't like this at all.'
Lothar Knörzer (4x100m Relay)
'1960 in Berlin. The scene was the banquet for the German Athletic Championships. Charly enters the room accompanied by Elke Sommer, he takes a seat at our table ...and many think: lucky fellow, oh to be able sing like Charly!'
Manfred Germar (100m)
"We were basically cast in the same mould."
Hans Grodozki (Silver Medal 5000m und 10000m in Rome 1960, GDR)
'The qualifying rounds for the 4x 400m relays in Rome. I was the youngest and the most inexperienced of the four of us (at the time only 20 years old). Charly took that on board and we all survived the preliminary rounds without any problems. In the final race I had been allocated the outside track and from the start of the race Charly plied me with information about the relative positions of the other runners and then on the home-straight he cheered me on. I came third and was also chosen to compete as an individual competitor in the 400 metres'
Jochen Reske (400m)
'Carl Kaufmann was the most talented and the strongest opponent I ever had!'
Otis Davis (400m Weltrekord , USA)
'I never ran against Charly and had I done so, I would not have stood a chance against him. I got to know and appreciate him later as his doctor and I am glad that I was fortunate enough to meet him and that he had put his trust in me. Dear Charly, how I would have liked to have continued our regular chats and discussions. It was not to be!'
Your Wilfried Kindermann (Prof. Dr. W. Kindermann)