Thomas Wessinghage

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Thomas Wessinghage, Koln 1981 ThomasWessinghage.jpg
Thomas Wessinghage, Köln 1981

Thomas Wessinghage (born 22 February 1952 in Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia) is a German former middle- and long-distance runner who won the 1982 European Championships' final over 5000 metres beating the British world-record holder David Moorcroft. Because he was already thirty at the time, and had been an international-level runner for a decade, this victory was a long-awaited one for him. He admitted that he decided to run the 5,000 metres instead of the 1,500 metres, because he lost to Ovett and Coe so often in the shorter distance. The fairly slow pace of the 1982 European Athletics Championships 5,000-metre final favoured Wessinghage, because he was in top form - having set a European record at 2,000 metres shortly before the Championships - and because he was the fastest 1,500-metre runner in the final, having run that distance in 3 minutes 31.6 seconds in 1980. Shortly after he started his final sprint with over 250 metres to go, Wessinghage moved into a decisive lead, stretching it into five metres by 4,800 metres and almost doubling it by 4,900 metres (see, for example, "The Thousand Stars of Athletics" / Yleisurheilun tuhat tähteä, written by Matti Hannus and published in Finland in 1983; Pat Butcher, The Perfect Distance: Ovett&Coe: The Record-Breaking Rivalry, London: Weidenfeld&Nicolson, 2004; "The Major Events of Top Sports Until 1982" / Huippu-urheilun suuret tapahtumat vuoteen 1982 asti, published in Finland in 1982; "The Great European Championships Book" / Suuri EM-kirja, published in Finland in 1990; see tommytempo1's video about the race's last two laps on YouTube with the search words "Thomas Wessinghage").

Hagen Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Hagen is the 41st-largest city in Germany. The municipality is located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is located on the south eastern edge of the Ruhr area, 15 km south of Dortmund, where the rivers Lenne and Volme meet the river Ruhr. As of 31 December 2010, the population was 188,529. The city is home to the FernUniversität Hagen, which is the only state funded distance education university in Germany. Counting more than 67,000 students, it is the largest university in Germany.

North Rhine-Westphalia State in Germany

North Rhine-Westphalia is a state of Germany.

5000 metres long-distance track running event

The 5000 metres or 5000-meter run is a common long-distance running event in track and field. It is one of the track events in the Olympic Games and the World Championships in Athletics, run over 12.5 laps of a standard track. The same distance in road running is called a 5K run. The 5000 m has been present on the Olympic programme since 1912 for men and since 1996 for women. Prior to 1996, women had competed in an Olympic 3000 metres race since 1984. The 5000 m has been held at each of the World Championships in Athletics in men's competition and since 1995 in women's.

In 1980 he set a German record of 3:31.58 min over 1500 metres which still has not been broken. In the same race Steve Ovett from the UK set a world record of 3:31.36 min. He was married to former Olympian Ellen Tittel. Wessinghage missed a great chance of winning an Olympic medal that year because West Germany joined the United States-led boycott. He was unlucky also in the other Olympic years of his competitive career: he was eliminated in the 1,500-metre heats in the 1972 and 1976 Olympics, and he got injured in a race before the 1984 Olympics (see Hannus, "The Thousand Stars of Athletics"; "The Big Olympic Book" / Suuri Olympiakirja, written and published by the "Runner" / Juoksija magazine's journalists and published in Finland in 1984).

1500 metres foremost middle distance track event in athletics

The 1500 metres or 1,500-metre run is the foremost middle distance track event in athletics. The distance has been contested at the Summer Olympics since 1896 and the World Championships in Athletics since 1983. It is equivalent to 1.5 kilometers or approximately ​1516 miles.

Steve Ovett former middle distance runner

Stephen Michael James "Steve" Ovett OBE, is a former track athlete from England. A middle-distance runner, he was the gold medalist in the 800 metres at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, and set several world records for 1500 metres and the mile run.

Ellen Tittel German long-distance runner

Ellen Tittel is a retired West German middle-distance runner who specialized in the 1500 m event. She won the European indoor title in 1973, placing third in 1975, and had another third-place finish at the 1971 European Outdoor Championships. She reached the 1500 m finals at the 1972 and 1976 Summer Olympics, but abandoned the 1972 race due to stomach cramps. In 1971 she helped to set a new world record in the 4 × 800 m relay.

In the 1983 inaugural World Athletics Championships, he was among the favourites to win the 5,000-metre title, but for some reason he could not accelerate enough when it mattered the most - during the final lap - despite running at a steady rhythm earlier in the race. Accordingly, he dropped from third to sixth during the last lap, and lost to the winner, Ireland's Eamonn Coghlan, by almost four seconds (see, for example, "World Athletics Championships 1983" / Yleisurheilun MM-kisat 1983, written by the "Runner" / Juoksija magazine's journalists and published in Finland in 1983).

His last major competitive race was in the 5,000-metre qualifying heats of the 1986 European Athletics Championships in Stuttgart, West Germany. In that race, he failed to advance to the final (see, for example, "The Great European Championships Book" / Suuri EM-kirja, published in Finland in 1990).

International competitions

YearCompetitionVenuePositionEventNotes
Representing Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany
1972 European Indoor Championships Grenoble, France 1st4 × 720 m relay6:26.4
Olympic Games Munich, West Germany 21st (sf)1,500 m 3:43.4
1973 European Indoor Championships Rotterdam, Netherlands 1st4 × 720 m relay6:21.58
1974 European Indoor Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 2nd1,500 m 3:42.02
European Championships Rome, Italy 3rd1,500 m 3:41.1
1975 European Indoor Championships Katowice, Poland 1st1,500 m 3:44.6
Universiade Rome, Italy 1st1,500 m3:39.73
1976 European Indoor Championships Munich, West Germany 2nd1,500 m 3:45.3
1977 World Cup Düsseldorf, West Germany 2nd1,500 m 3:35.98
1978 European Indoor Championships Milan, Italy 2nd1,500 m 3:38.23
European Championships Prague, Czechoslovakia 4th1,500 m 3:37.19
1979 European Indoor Championships Vienna, Austria 2nd1,500 m 3:42.2
World Cup Montreal, Canada 1st1,500 m 3:46.00 1
1980 European Indoor Championships Sindelfingen, West Germany 1st1,500 m 3:37.54
1981 European Indoor Championships Grenoble, France 1st1,500 m 3:42.64
1982 European Indoor Championships Milan, Italy 4th1,500 m 3:39.79
European Championships Athens, Greece 1st5,000 m 13:28.90
1983 European Indoor Championships Budapest, Hungary 1st1,500 m 3:39.82
World Championships Helsinki, Finland 6th5,000 m 13:32.46
1984 European Indoor Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 3rd1,500 m 3:41.75
1985 European Indoor Championships Piraeus, Greece 2nd3,000 m 8:10.88
1986 European Indoor Championships Madrid, Spain 5th3,000 m 8:00.76
European Championships Stuttgart, West Germany 17th (h)5,000 m 13:33.98

1Representing Europe

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