Karl Adam (rowing coach)

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For other people named Karl Adam, see Karl Adam (disambiguation).
Karl Adam in 1968

Karl Adam (2 May 1912 in Hagen – 18 June 1976 in Bad Salzuflen) was one of the most successful and innovative German rowing coaches. Although he has never been an active rower himself, he helped win 29 medals at major rowing events, including three Olympic gold medals, two world and five European Championships.[1]

Coaching career[edit]

Adam was co-founder of the Ratzeburg Rowing Club in 1953 and head of the Rowing Academy there. He never rowed and learned the rowing and sculling techniques by reading and observation in the late 1930s. He was a competitive boxer and a Student World Champion in 1937. He accompanied the German rowing team to the 1956 Summer Olympics as sculling coach. Germany performed poorly, and Adam returned determined to revolutionise their program to improve performance.[2]

A great innovator of rowing and training techniques, Adam's methods had a major impact on the further development of rowing. His rowing technique became known in the rowing world as the "Ratzeburg" style. Adam was the first to adapt fartlek, also known as speedplay, and interval training from track (athletics)as well as heavy weight training to rowing. He pioneered a new, more efficient, oar design and was the first coach to use "bucket" or "German" rigging.[2]


  1. ^ Karl Adam. hall-of-fame-sport.de
  2. ^ a b Lardner, Rex (20 May 1963). "How they row in Ratzeburg". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 5 August 2016. 

External links[edit]