Guido Kratschmer is a man of few words. Quiet belies an inner drive that has made him the dean of present world-class decathletes and one of the most competitive of decathletes in modern years. “He is a good fighter,” remarks West German national coast Wolfgang Bergman when asked to describe one of his prize pupils from USC Mainz. Well past 30, Kratschmer, a physical education teacher, has been a world-class decathlete for 15 years.
In 1986, at age 33, Kratschmer posted his second-best career performance in a career that has seen twenty-three 8000+scores. Had it not been for a little bad luck, the West German (born on January 10, 1953) would have been the first four-time Olympic decathlete. He was runner-up to Bruce Jenner in 1976 and fourth to Daley Thompson and two teammates in 1984. He barely missed making the 1972 Olympic team (beaten by veteran Werner von Moltke) at age 19. And the boycott ruined his chances in 1980. Guido was injured and did not complete in Seoul in 1988.
Guidos promising career has been beset by bad luck. In 1978 he was the favorite at the European championships in Prague but was brought down by injury a few steps out of the 100m blocks. In 1980 he exploded for a world record of 8649 points (8667), but his nation joined the boycott and, instead of competing, he watched from the stands as Daley Thompson won the gold medal.
As his countrymen Jürgen Hingsen and Siegfried Wentz ran up higher scores, Guido stayed at it. 1988 marked his 17th at the event, but an Achilles tendon injury sidelined him once again. He has captured six straight national crowns (1975-80), competed in six European Cups, and in four European championships. He set four national records, two European marks, and one world record. Today no one commands more respect from fellow athletes.