Olympic Medals
Games Participations2
First Olympic GamesMontreal 1976
Year of Birth1955


Richard Nowakowski was an East German boxer who played football as a youth. One of his youth coaches was Fritz Sdunek, now a well-known, successful boxing coach, who helped him to win the East German Youth Championship in 1969, 1971, and 1973. In 1974, Nowakowski won his first East German championship as an adult boxer, he was runner-up in 1975, and won again in 1976. At the Olympic Games in Montréal he lost the featherweight final against Cuban Ángel Herrera. Four years later he won a bronze medal in the lightweight division, becoming the only East German boxer to win two Olympic medals. Between the Games Nowakowski was 1977 European Championship and placed third in 1979. He was again East German Champion in 1978-79 and 1981.

After his retirement in 1983 East German sports administrators recognized Richard Nowakowski as having “Western contacts” – his grandmother and other relatives were living in Stuttgart. After he had lost his semifinal at the 1982 World Championships in München against Adolfo Horta he had visited his relatives without giving notice to administrators. After he returned to the team the next day, the East German Stasi focused on him, he had difficulty finding a job, and he was not given a house that had been promised to him. In 1989 his grandmother celebrated her 75th birthday, Nowakowski requested a departure to West Germany to see her, and while sitting on the train he decided not to return to East Germany. His wife and his two daughters were pressured by the Stasi until German reunification. In 1989 Nowakowski won the West German lightweight championship against Jörg Kästner, but Kästner protested the decision and refused his congratulations. Even West German administrators claimed “What will happen if defector East German boxers win our titles?” Although the West German Champion, Nowakowski was not chosen for the World Championships at Moskva, and he was no longer welcome in East or West Germany. In 1993 he returned to his home town Schwerin where he made his living as a waste and recycling entrepreneur and grew wealthy in real estate.

Olympic Results

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