Born in Zedtlitz, East Germany, Thomas Munkelt was a classic high hurdler who dominated European hurdling in the 1970s and early 1980s. Munkelt was the first athlete to break the 7.50 seconds barrier in the 60m hurdles, when he ran a 7.48 seconds World Record in Budapest in 1983.
Munkelt came into the international athletics scene in 1975 when he won his first of nine East German national championship title and European Cup in 110 m hurdles. Although he finished disappointing fifth at the 1976 Summer Olympics, he won both World Cup and European Cup in 1977. The first international championships medal came, when Munkelt finished first at the 1978 European Championships.
Munkelt's career highlight came at the Moscow Olympics, where he beat second placed Alejandro Casañas from Cuba by 0.01 seconds. He also was a member of fifth placed 4 × 100 m relay team. He defended his title successfully at the 1982 European Championships and won silver as a member of a 4x100 relay team. He won again the European Cup in the next year, but finished only fifth at the first World Championships.
After hearing the East German government's decision to boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics, Munkelt decided to retire from athletics.
His personal best was 13,37 seconds, achieved in August 1977 in Helsinki. This ranks him seventh among German 110 m hurdlers, behind Florian Schwarthoff, Mike Fenner, Eric Kaiser, Falk Balzer, Thomas Blaschek and Sven Göhler. 
- Wallechinsky, David.The complete book of the summer Olympics p. 326 (Athens 2004 ed.)