Eric Krenz

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Eric Christian William Krenz (May 7, 1906 - August 18, 1931)[1][2] was an American shot putter and discus thrower. Krenz set two world records in the discus and was considered a favorite for the 1932 Summer Olympics, but his career was cut short when he drowned at age 25.


Krenz was one of the leading stars of coach Dink Templeton's Stanford University team.[3][4][5] He won the discus throw at the 1927 national championships with a throw of 44.75 m (146 ft 10 in).[2][4][6] In April 1928, he threw beyond Bud Houser's official discus world record of 48.20 m (158 ft 1 34 in) several times in practice.[4][7]

Krenz won both of his events at the 1928 IC4A Championships, leading Stanford to their second straight team championship.[8] He also won the discus at the 1928 NCAA Championships and placed second in the shot, helping Stanford win that team title as well with a record 72 points.[9][10] Krenz was heavily favored to make the US Olympic team in the discus;[3] however, at the Olympic Trials he was only successful in the shot, placing fourth to just make the team.[11] Team leaders considered entering him in both events anyway, but eventually decided not to.[12] Krenz placed fourth in the Olympic shot put final, behind teammates Johnny Kuck and Herman Brix and Germany's Emil Hirschfeld.[13]

Krenz officially broke the discus world record in March 1929, adding more than five feet to Houser's mark with a throw of 49.90 m (163 ft 8 34 in).[14][15] He repeated as IC4A discus champion, helping Stanford win the team title by the largest margin in 30 years.[16] He also regained his national discus title, throwing a new meeting record of 47.90 m (157 ft 2 in).[6] At the NCAA Championships, however, he only managed 2nd in the shot and 6th in the discus.[17]

Krenz became the first man to break 50 meters in the discus in 1930, throwing 51.03 m (167 ft 5 38 in) at an intercollegiate meet in Palo Alto, California.[2][15][18] An earlier throw in the same series also broke the previous world record but was not officially ratified.[2] Two weeks later he won his third IC4A discus title, with a new meeting record of 49.01 m (160 ft 9 34 in), but Stanford lost the team championship to University of Southern California.[19] At the NCAA Championships he was surprisingly beaten by Washington's Paul Jessup,[20] who went on to also win the national title that year, breaking Krenz's world record as he did so.[6][21]

Krenz continued his throwing career after graduating from Stanford, joining the San Francisco Olympic Club.[22] He was considered a favorite for the approaching Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.[23]


Krenz drowned in a boating accident at Lake Tahoe on August 18, 1931.[23][24][25] He had been rowing on the lake with a girl when he decided to take a swim; he was stricken by either cramps or a heart attack and drowned, the girl unable to help him.[23][24][25]


  1. ^ "Eric Krenz". Tilastopaja Oy. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Eric Krenz Bio, Stats and Results". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Sullivan, Prescott (June 26, 1928). "California Counts On Weight Tossers". Lewiston Evening Journal. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "New Contender In Discus Throw". The Reading Eagle. April 27, 1928. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Coast Track Stars in East". The Milwaukee Journal. May 30, 1929. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c Mallon, Bill; Buchanan, Ian; Track & Field News. "A History Of The Results Of The National Track & Field Championships Of The USA From 1876 Through 2011". Track & Field News. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Krenz Shatters World's Record". San Jose News. April 26, 1928. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Stanford Sweeps Track And Field Meet To Annex College Championship". The Reading Eagle. May 27, 1928. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Stanford University's Official Athletic Site". Stanford University. Archived from the original on November 19, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Stanford Captures National Honors". The Milwaukee Journal. June 9, 1928. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  11. ^ Hymans, Richard. "The History of the United States Olympic Trials - Track & Field" (PDF). USA Track & Field; Track & Field News. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Krenz Left Out". The Milwaukee Sentinel. July 18, 1928. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Athletics at the 1928 Amsterdam Summer Games: Men's Shot Put". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Breaks Record". The Milwaukee Journal. March 10, 1929. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Butler, Mark; IAAF Media & Public Relations Department (2011). "IAAF Statistics Handbook Daegu 2011". International Association of Athletics Federations 
  16. ^ "Stanford Wins Track And Field Championship By Largest Margin In 30 Years". The Reading Eagle. June 2, 1929. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  17. ^ "New Mark For 100 Is Set". San Jose News. June 8, 1929. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Krenz Crashes Own World's Discus Record". The Reading Eagle. May 18, 1930. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  19. ^ Murphy, Frank (May 31, 1930). "Trojans Win I. C. 4-A Track Championship". Berkeley Daily Gazette. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Jessup Beat Krenz". Milwaukee Sentinel. June 9, 1930. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  21. ^ Clark, Al (August 24, 1930). "Paul Jessup Hangs Up World Mark in Discus Heave". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Krenz Joins Olympic Club Track Squad". San Jose Evening News. January 6, 1931. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b c "Eric Krenz, Star Weight Man Drowns". The Pittsburgh Press. August 19, 1931. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  24. ^ a b "Discus Champion Drowning Victim". Spokane Daily Chronicle. August 20, 1931. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  25. ^ a b "Stanford Track Star Drowns at Lake Tahoe". The Mountain Democrat. August 21, 1931. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
Preceded by
United States Bud Houser
Men's Discus World Record Holder
9 March 1929 – 23 August 1930
Succeeded by
United States Paul Jessup