Olympic Medals
Games Participations1
First Olympic GamesRome 1960
Year of Birth1935


German rower Hans Lenk studied mathematics, philosophy, sociology, sports science, and psychology in Freiburg and Kiel. He became the first philosopher in the history of the Modern Olympic Games to won a gold medal. Lenk joined Ratzeburger RC while at university. Between 1958 and 1961, he won a major international title every year. In 1958, he won the European title in the coxless fours. A year later, he joined the eights that dominantly won the European title, and 1960 Olympic gold.

The 1960 crew was known as the “Ratzeburg” crew, even though their members came from both the Ratzeburg and Ditmarsia Kiel clubs, and their prowess was attributed partially to their new oar design. They won the first non-US gold in the eights since 1900 and were subsequently elected West German Team of Year as they were in 1959. They were also awarded the Silver Bay Leaf in both 1959 and 1960, the highest German sports award.

After graduating as a philosopher, Lenk taught in Kiel and Berlin first, but then in 1969 became professor in Karlsruhe. He became one of the world’s leading philosophers, writing books on social philosophy, philosophy of mind and science theory. His CV comprised over 130 books and a total of over 3,000 titles. During the 1970s he was one of the first sport administrators demanding unannounced drug tests during training. He also criticized ongoing commercialization in sports. In 2012 Lenk was inducted to the Hall of Fame of German Sports.

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