Dietmar Lorenz was a trailblazer

Dietmar Lorenz

(Originally published in JudoCrazy Patreon).

Earlier this month, the judo world mourned the loss of Germany’s Dietmar Lorenz, gold medalist at the 1978 Kano Cup and 1980 Moscow Olympics. He was 70 years old.

Lorenz had other notable achievements, including four European Championship gold medals and two World Championship bronze medals. But it was his Kano Cup and Olympic wins that he was most proud of.

Lorenz was the first non-Japanese to win at the prestigious Kano Cup. “After Anton Geesink’s Olympic victory, I was the second who managed to break through Japanese supremacy,” he said. Geesink was the first non-Japanese player to win a World Championship and an Olympic gold.

(Photo by David Finch)

Despite being an -95kg player (equivalent to today’s -100kg), Lorenz managed to win gold in the Open Weight category at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Lorenz liked the idea of an Open Weight division. “Trying to stand up against a heavier as a lighter (player) was and is very attractive, even if it has become quite rare today at European Championships and the World Championships.”

Watch Dietmar Lorenz win the gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

IJF President Marius Vizer paid tribute to Lorenz, saying: “It is with great sadness that the international judo family received the news of the passing of Mr Lorenz, a prominent figure for German Judo, who dedicated his life to the service of judo, promoting its values, guiding and inspiring generations of judoka. On behalf of the International Judo Federation, I would like to express our heartfelt condolences to Mr Lorenz’s family, as well as to the German Judo Federation.”