News : Ursula Happe: Olympic swimming champion is dead
Olympic swimming champion Ursula Happe died at the age of 94. The Westfalenpost reported on Wednesday. Happe fell asleep peacefully. She last lived in Dortmund.
In November 1956, Happe was the first German to become an Olympic swimming champion in Melbourne over 200 meters in 2: 53.1 minutes after World War II – at the age of 30 as a mother of two. Two years earlier she had already won the European title over the same route. In these two years she was also named Sportswoman of the Year in Germany. She also collected 18 German championship titles. In 1997, Happe was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Happe was born in Gdansk on October 20, 1926, the daughter of a lifeguard. In 1945 she came as a refugee from Gdansk to Kiel, married in 1950 and went to Dortmund.
She once said of the training conditions in the post-war period: »There was only one small hall with a 25-meter track, all the other halls had been destroyed. I stood in front of the door at six o’clock in the morning, even though you weren’t allowed to go in until half past six. ”Sport was part of Happe’s daily routine into old age and ran in her family. Her son Thomas finished second in the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984 with the national handball team.