Harald Norpoth

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Harald Norpoth
Medal record
Men’s Athletics
Olympic Games
Competitor for  Germany
Silver Tokyo 1964 5000 metres
European Championships
Silver Budapest 1966 5000 metres
Bronze Budapest 1966 1500 metres
Bronze Helsinki 1971 5000 metres

Harald Norpoth (born 22 August 1942) is a West German former middle and long distance runner. Born in Münster, he won the silver medal over 5000m at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo as a member of the United Team of Germany. He had already competed in the 1962 European Athletics Championships, where he had fallen and dropped out of the 1,500-metre final. His high quality as both a 1,500-metre and a 5,000-metre runner was proved in the 1966 European Athletics Championships, where he won the bronze medal at 1,500 metres and the silver medal at 5,000 metres.[1]

At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico Norpoth dropped out of the 5000m and finished fourth over 1500m. He also set a 2000m world record of 4:57.8 minutes in September 1966 in Hagen, Germany. Norpoth remained an international-level 5,000-metre runner until his retirement from competitive running in 1973, because he finished third in the 1971 European Championships 5,000-metre final, losing by 1.2 seconds to the winner, Finland's Juha Väätäinen. In the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, he finished sixth at 5,000 metres, losing by 6.2 seconds to the winner, Finland's Lasse Virén, and placing as the fourth best European. In his farewell run at 5,000 metres in 1973, he set a personal record, 13:20.49, and defeated Steve Prefontaine of the United States. Norpoth was known as a sharp kicker, although he also could endure a fast pace when he was in peak shape (see, for example, Wünsche; "The Great European Championships Book"; Antero Raevuori, ed., "Lasse Viren: The Gilded Spikes" / Lasse Viren: Kullatut piikkarit, published in Finland in 1976; Matti Hannus, "The Thousand Stars of Athletics" / Yleisurheilun tuhat tähteä, published in Finland in 1983). He is a first cousin of political scientist Helmut Norpoth.


  1. ^ Wolfgang Wünsche, The Heroes of Race Tracks, published in Finland in 1984; "The Great European Championships Book" / Suuri EM-kirja, published in Finland in 1990