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On the Death of Ekkehard zur Megede

2005-02-26

Ekkehard zur Megede, an internationally renowned track and field journalist and statistician, who for years wrote sport history articles for the BERLIN MARATHON programme, passed away on Thursday in Berlin at age 78.

After finishing his secondary school in Arnswalde (Pommerania), Ekkehard zur Megede, who was born on November 19, 1926 in Reetz (Pommerania), moved to his aunt in Berlin. His great interest in track and field led him to become a sport journalist. His application at the daily paper, the Tagesspiegel, which was produced in the old Ullstein building under American license, was successful and he started his apprenticeship there in 1946.

After demonstrating hard work during his traineeship, he was hired afterwards as the sport editor. There he met his future wife, which whom he had three children. His two sons live in Berlin. His daughter died 10 years ago, which was very traumatic for him.

In the 1950s, Ekkehard zur Megede left the Tagesspiegel for a few years and took over the editorship of the foreign segment of trade journal “Leichtathletik“ (Track and Field), which in 1950 returned to the hands of Heinz Cavalier in the publishing house Bartels & Wernitz in Berlin-Charlottenburg. He also wrote numerous articles, series, and reports of the big athletics events—European championships, world championships, and the Olympic Games. Due to his connections, Ekkehard zur Megede was often the one who procured the stars for the international athletics festival, the ISTAF, which still today takes place in the Olympic Stadium. He returned to the Tagesspiegel in 1963, where he became the deputy head of the sport department. Ekkehard zur Megede also wrote articles and commentaries for other large newspapers, such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. After retiring in 1990, he remained a free-lance reporter until two years ago. The initials “z-M “ were his trademark, but he also wrote under the pseudonym Ehm Ohm. His article series and two books brought him fame in the 1960s: “Und dann trennten wir uns..." (And then We Parted…) and “Läufer, Lorbeer und Legenden" (Runners, Laurels, and Legends). And he received international recognition with the publication of his three-volume work “Olympische Leichtathletik" (Olympic Track and Field) from 1968-1970—the edition is sold out. In 1999 he followed with volume 4. His documentation of all of the results in track and field at the Olympic Games from 1896 to 1996 comprises 716 pages.

As one of the founding members of the worldwide Association of Track & Field Statisticians (with current membership of ca. 300 in 60 countries), he became so involved with the history of track and field during the European Championships in Brussels in 1950 that he put together a review of the developments in world records in all disciplines with many details for the international Athletics Association (IAAF). The book, which he wrote together with Richard Hymens, is over 700 pages long. Starting in 1950, z-M also wrote for over 40 years for the trade magazine “Leichtathletik" (Track and Field). He was honoured by the German Athletics Association (DLV) with the Heinz Cavalier Prize in 1991, which is given in memory of the man who was the head editor of ”Leichtathletik” from 1924 to 1944 and from 1950 to 1972.

F.St.


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