Thomas Schönlebe

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Thomas Schönlebe
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1986-0817-005, Thomas Schonlebe.jpg
Schönlebe in 1986
Personal information
Born6 August 1965 (1965-08-06) (age 54)
Frauenstein, East Germany
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight74 kg (163 lb)

Thomas Schönlebe (born 6 August 1965) is a retired East German track and field athlete who competed in the 400 metres. He won the gold medal at the 1987 World Championships. In that race, he set a European record of 44.33 seconds which still stands.


A year earlier, Schönlebe had finished second at the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart behind Roger Black. One of his last achievements was the third place at the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart with the (now unified) German 4 × 400 m relay team.

Schönlebe achieved three world indoor records during his career [1] [2] :

Note: Schönlebe's first record has the distinction of being the inaugural record at the distance when the IAAF established the category of world indoor records on January 1 1987.

Schönlebe later became chief executive officer of his hometown club, LAC Erdgas Chemnitz [3]

In 1994, he was the awarded the Rudolf Harbig Memorial Award.

International competitions

Representing Flag of East Germany.svg  East Germany
1983 European Junior Championships Schwechat, Austria1st400 m45.64
1st4 × 400 m3:04.95
European Cup London, UK2nd400 m45.70
1985 World Indoor Games Paris, France1st400 m45.60
European Cup Moscow, Soviet Union1st400 m44.96
World Cup Canberra, Australia2nd400 m44.72
2nd4 × 400 m3:00.82
1986 European Indoor Championships Madrid, Spain1st400 m46.98
European Championships Stuttgart, Germany2nd400 m44.63
6th4 × 400 m3:04.87
1987 World Championships Rome, Italy1st400 m44.33
heats4 × 400 mDNF
European Cup Prague, Czechoslovakia1st400 m44.96
1st4 × 400 m3:00.80
1988 European Indoor Championships Budapest, Hungary4th (sf)400 m46.86
Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea9th (sf)400 m44.90
4th4 × 400 m3:01.13
1989 World Cup Barcelona, Spain5th4 × 400 m3:02.73
1990 European Championships Solit, Yugoslavia2nd400 m45.13
3rd4 × 400 m3:01.51
Representing Flag of Germany.svg  Germany
1991 World Indoor Championships Seville, Spain1st4 × 400 m3:03.05
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain15th (qf)400 m45.46
heats4 × 400 mDNF
1993 World Championships Stuttgart, Germany3rd4 × 400 m2:59.99
(#) Indicates overall position in quarterfinal (qf) or semifinal (sf) round

Note: Schönlebe qualified for the 1988 European Indoor final but withdrew.

World rankings

Schonlebe was ranked among the best in the world at the 400 m sprint events in the period 1983–87 (including world number one in 1987), according to the votes of the experts of Track and Field News . [4]