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Rudi Harbig

Full name: Rudolf Waldemar "Rudi" Harbig
Gender: Male
Height: 5-8.5 (174 cm)
Weight: 137 lbs (62 kg)
Born: November 8, 1913 in Dresden, Sachsen, Germany
Died: March 5, 1944 in Olhoviets, Kirovohrad, Ukraine
Affiliations: Dresdner SC, Dresden (GER)
Country: GER Germany
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 1 Bronze (1 Total)


Rudi Harbig was the great rival of [Mario Lanzi] over 800 metres in the 1930s. They met at an International in Milano on 15 July 1939, with Harbig winning in the stunning world record time of 1:46.6, which shattered the previous record of 1:48.4, Lanzi running second. Harbig's record would not be broken for 19 years. In 1938, Harbig won the European Championships over 800 metres, with the non-Olympian Jacques Lévèque (FRA) second and Lanzi third, and took a second gold with the 4×400 metres relay team (with [Hermann Blazejezak] and the non-Olympians Manfred Bues and Erich Linnhoff). Harbig was first noticed by German sports authorities in 1934 when he won the Tag des Unbekannten Sportsmannes, and they then promoted his career. Although he was never interested in politics he reluctantly joined the SA in 1937, and the Nazis exploited his sport career as a model for their propaganda. At the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin he won the bronze medal with the 4x400 meters relay together with [Friedrich von Stülpnagel], [Harry Voigt] and [Helmut Hamann], and was eliminated in the heats over 800 meters. Domestically he was German Champion 1936-42 sevent imes in a row over 800 meters. He set two more world records over 400 meters in 46.0 in 1939 and with the 4x800 meters relay in 1941.

Killed in action in 1944, he became a sports legend in both parts of Germany after World War II. In 1955 his wife, Gerda Heinrich, published Unvergessener Rudolf-Harbig. Ein Lebensbild des Weltrekordläufers in East Germany and the Dresden stadium was named after him. In West Germany the Rudolf-Harbig-Gedächtnispreis was introduced for German track & field athletes, and in 2008 he was inducted into the German Sports Hall of Fame.

Personal Bests\: 400 – 46.0 (1939); 800 – 1:46.6 (1939).


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1936 Summer 22 Berlin Athletics Men's 800 metres Germany GER 6 h1 r1/3
1936 Summer 22 Berlin Athletics Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay Germany GER 3 Bronze

Men's 800 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(H)
1936 Summer 22 Berlin Athletics Germany Round One Heat One 6 1:56.8

Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T(H) ST
1936 Summer 22 Berlin Athletics Germany GER Final 3 3:11.8 47,6
1936 Summer 22 Berlin Athletics Germany GER Round One Heat Three 1 QU 3:15.0
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