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Otto Peltzer

Full name: Otto Paul Eberhard Peltzer
Nickname(s): Der Seltsame
Gender: Male
Height: 6-1 (186 cm)
Weight: 159 lbs (72 kg)
Born: March 8, 1900 in Holstein, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Died: August 11, 1970 in Eutin, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Affiliations: Preußen Stettin
Country: GER Germany
Sport: Athletics

Biography

Otto "Otto der Seltsame" ("Otto the Strange") Peltzer was a sociologist, educator, writer, journalist and trainer and one of the most interesting and popular figures in 1920s German athletics. His greatest year was 1926 when he set four world records – 500 metres in 1:03.6, 800 metres/880 yards in 1:50.9/1:51.6y, and 1,500 metres in 3:51.0 – and in that year, he defeated, among others, running superstars Paavo Nurmi, [Edwin Wide], and Douglas Lowe. In 1927 he added a world record in the 1,000 metres, running 2:25.8 on Colombes, France, and in 1932 he set a European record for the indoor kilometer in 2:30.8. He won multiple German individual championships, as follows: 400 m – 1926, 800 m – 1923-25, 1931-32, 1934; 1,500 m – 1922-25; and 400 hurdles – 1926-27. He was also German school champion at 1,500 metres in 1921-22 and over 400 metres in 1924.

Peltzer joined the Nazi Party in 1933 and was a member of the SS, although they had a particular hatred for him, and in 1934, he was suspended due to homosexual activity under German law §175. A year later the Berlin Court sentenced him to 1½ years in prison due to a violation of German law §176, when he was accused of indecent acts with persons under 14-years-old. Peltzer fled to Sweden in 1939, but returned in 1941 and was interned in the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, where he managed to survive the rock-breaking work.

After the war he again fled Germany, as homosexuality remained a criminal offense in 1950s Germany, and Peltzer was in conflict with the German Athletic Association (DLV) and Carl Diem, and his opportunities to coach were limited. He briefly stayed in England and China, and then obtained a commission from a German newspaper to report on the Melbourne Olympics, and after the Games tried unsuccessfully to get work with various national athletics organizations before settling in India, where he became known for his involvement in local athletics development. He coached in the national athletics stadium in New Delhi, and founded the Olympic Youth Delhi club, later renamed the Otto Peltzer Memorial Athletic Club in his honor.

In 1970 Peltzer was found dead on a path near the car park, having collapsed after attending an athletics meeting in Eutin. In 2000 the DLV launched the "Otto-Peltzer-Medaille" for personalities in athletics, which was to be given to an outstanding and responsible athlete with a critical solidarity in German athletics.

Personal Bests: 400 – 48.8 (1925); 800 – 1:50.9y (1926); 1500 – 3:51.0 (1926).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1928 Summer 28 Amsterdam Athletics Men's 800 metres Germany GER 5 h1 r2/3
1928 Summer 28 Amsterdam Athletics Men's 1,500 metres Germany GER 4 h5 r1/2
1932 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Men's 800 metres Germany GER 9
1932 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Men's 1,500 metres Germany GER AC h3 r1/2
1932 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay Germany GER 4

Men's 800 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T T(H)
1928 Summer 28 Amsterdam Athletics Germany Semi-Finals Heat One 5 1:56.3
1928 Summer 28 Amsterdam Athletics Germany Round One Heat Two 1 QU 1:57.4
1932 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Germany Final 9 1:55.0
1932 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Germany Round One Heat Two 3 QU 1:53.6

Men's 1,500 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank
1928 Summer 28 Amsterdam Athletics Germany Round One Heat Five 4
1932 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Germany Round One Heat Three AC DNF

Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T(H) ST
1932 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Germany GER Final 4 3:14.4 49,1
1932 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Germany GER Round One Heat One 3 QU 3:25.4
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