10 February 1955 - 12 April 2023
What a very special privilege it is to walk some steps in our life with a giant. For that is how all in athletics coaching saw Wolfgang Ritzdorf.
Wolfgang was a truly great person, a deeply valued friend and both a ground breaker and world leader as a coach to athletes and to coaches across the Globe. He prepared athletes such as Ulrike Meyfarth and Heike Henkel personally to Olympic Gold and others through their coaches to mount the high jump podium at Olympic, World and World Junior, European and European Junior Championships and at other W.A. Area and National Championships too.
His masterpiece World Leading High Jump and Pole Vault Conference in Cologne influenced athlete performance and coach preparation again to podium level in Pole Vault at Olympic, World, European, other Area and National levels.
His leadership of the W.A. CECS Editorial Board and programme made coach development in athletics the cutting edge of International Federation Coach Education and Certification programmes.
Wolfgang was a tireless member of EACA council and supporter of IFAC. When asked to present or lead a jumps dedicated part of IFAC, he always accepted, no matter how many commitments he was already handling.
And all of this on top of his prestigeous position as Senior Lecturer and Head of the Athletics Department at the German Sport University Cologne. Whether as teacher, speaker or researcher in high jump, coaching and performance theory and practice his impact has been significant and substantial.
In his many article and papers in W.A. New studies in Athletics and other international journals, he set the benchmark of quality.
At any championships or games at any level in the world you will find coaches or athletes whose athletics career or indeed lives he has advantaged.
The immense strength of character of this great person saw him face this dreadful illness with unmatchable courage till the end.
When he closed his eyes for the last time, he must have reflected with real pride that in his life he changed the world of coaching in athletics not only for this generation, but for generations to come.
His life was our profound gain, his passing is our profound loss.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Doro and the family.
Thank you, Wolfgang, for the privilege of walking these steps with you.
EACA invites coaches and athletes to send their personal reflection of their experience of working with our friend and colleague.