Germans choose their masters Athletes of the Year via online vote

Great idea: picking top masters via online vote. The Eurovets site says W60 Lidia Zentner and M75 Klemens Wittig were named Germans Best Master Athletes 2013. Sayeth the site: “During the German Senior Indoor Championships in Erfurt … WMA Vice President Margit Jungmann (GER) and DLV Vice-President Dr. Matthias Reick honoured two well-known athletes. It was Lidia Zentner and Klemens Wittig, who were elected online by the German athletic family as Germany’s Best Master Athletes of the year 2013. Both had outstanding results in national and international events and set new European and World Records. They are still in top condition and want to participate this year in the World Indoor Championships in Budapest and in Izmir, where the European Stadia Championships will take place.” Why can’t USATF hold a similar poll? Voting can be conducted behind a security wall tied to your membership number. The USATF Masters Awards Committee would narrow the field, and the rest of us get a chance to weigh in. Just do it.


German “best masters” show off sizable awards with their portraits.

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March 4, 2014

4 Responses

  1. Mary Harada - March 4, 2014

    good idea – those in the Masters HOF get to vote on the nominees for the next year’s HOF – but the selection process is done by a small committee. OTOH – this is a much better process than before when the nomination process was not at all open.
    I would like to see the process for nominating and electing age group athletes and all-round masters athletes of the year be more open. We can not all have a say in selecting the nominees but we should have an opportunity to vote on a slate of candidates. Otherwise it is just the usual business of a handful of people behind the scenes deciding on who get the awards. It is not rocket science – and it is more democratic – a concept that seems to be very foreign to USATF.

  2. Bubba Sparks - March 4, 2014

    I’m a little surprised that Wolfgang Ritte didn’t get more recognition. He put up a Bob Beamon type M60 WR at 4.32m. Only one other person in history has jumped 4m and he blows it up by a foot (30cm). In English terms, he blew by 13′ AND 14′ to 14′ 2 1/2″. I really don’t think we will ever see that record broken in our lifetimes. Wolfie, if you’re reading this, please go ahead a put it up higher buddy!! You DO have it in you!! Great seeing you in Tornio!!

  3. Ken Stone - March 5, 2014

    Wolfie Ritte and his wife, Ute, have shared email exchanges between themselves and others, including the Eurovets president. The Rittes are not happy campers.

    Here’s what they said about the German selection process:

    Thank you for your nice comment on Ken’s article on the Masterstrack-site.
    “Germans choose Their Masters Athletes of the Year via online vote ”
    The headline is incorrect. German Masters were not allowed to vote via online vote . They were determined by a small , self-appointed group of experts. What I mean: Far away from each transparency.
    This group of experts is not just wish me well. I have criticized the German Athletics organization (including Margit Jungmann ) in the past because of strange decisions.
    I knew it, so I’m not disappointed. Disappointed is Ute. She thought I would win the election, because last year I had the following successes:
    5 times European Indoor record in PoleVault,
    5 times World Record in PoleVault (4,32 m),
    2 times European Indoor Champion
    7 times German Champion
    Winner Pole Vault at the World Masters Games in Turin
    I was able to increase the world record by 28 cm. These are 6.9%. It’s as if Lavillnie would have jumped 6.57 m.
    But I am sure, even if I jump 6.17 m and beat Lavillnie they would not choose me.
    Lidia Zentner is a very good athlete. She has set new world and European records in the last year . From Klemens Wittig I do not know it . According to my information Klemens Wittig has never set international records and last year he was very far away from World- and European Records. But far away from home he became World Champion in Brasil in some long distance.
    Unfortunately, I could not go to Brazil. I think, this gave them the reason.
    Last weekend there was German Championships of Masters in Erfurt. Klemens Wittig became 3rd and 4th in his competition at German Championships , but many other athletes have set world-, European- and  Nationalrecords. You can find the Results on this link:

    I could set a new World indoor Record M60 for the fourth time: 4.10 m in Paderborn, 4.11 m in Dortmund, 4.12 m in Ludwigshafen and now 4.13 m in Erfurt.
    The Video auf my vault you can find here:

    I hope that you are in good health and wish you all the best for the coming season.
    Best regards
    Wolfgang Ritte

    Kurt Kaschke, President of the EVAA, has informed me that 2013 Klemens Wittig set the same worldrecord over 2000 m steeplechase like the recordholder David Carr (AUS), Time: 8:56,59 minutes. Klemens Wittig improved the world record by 0%. He also has set up an European Indoor record over 3,000 meters.
    Therefore it is also right that the small self-appointed group of experts from the German Athletics organization (DLV) has determined Klemens Wittig to the German Masters Athletes of the Year!?
    With his 5 European Indoor records in pole vault M60 Wolfgang has only improved the pre-existing European Indoor record by 15 cm.
    With his 5 World Outdoor Record in pole vault M60 Wolfgang has only improved the pre-existing world record in the pole vault (M60) by 28 cm. These are just 6.9%.
    For the small self-appointed group of experts that was not enough to be better than Klemens Wittig.
    I think, this is a joke.
    I would have liked that the “team of experts” would be set up transparent rules.
    Best regards
    Ute Ritte

  4. Jörg Erdmann - March 7, 2014

    Dear Ken,
    We saw on your website that you reported on the election of the German Masters Athlete of the year 2013. Thank you very much, German track & field appreciates this very much.

    We also noted some of the responses and saw the interest of others, that would like to implement honoring master athletes for their year achievement within their federation structure. IAAF honoring the Master Athlete of the year female and male during their years end banquet has helped master athletics quite a bit in the process of getting recognized. Representing the Master commission of the German Federation we would like to inform you and the readers of your site about the protocoll of our decision process, as it often is critical to find a most neutral process and not have someone elected that is the best blogger.

    The election of the German Masters Athletes 2013 was transparent. We informed our athletes and club members via our website, that the German Athletic Federation was going to continue electing the Master Athlete of the Year female and male after the magazine “SelaPLUS”, who initiated the election in earlier years, stopped to be on the market in 2014. We decided on and communicated the change of the procedure for the election mainly for two reasons: after “SelaPlus” notified everybody of their going off the market, it was already late in the year, so programming an open Internet based election was difficult to realize. The main reason was to avoid the possible influence of a neutral vote by facebook and other platform/panel forms of mass mobilization, as happened in the past. We decided to call on all masters’ athletes to make a suggestion who should be the male and female masters’ athlete 2013. The six male and female candidates that were called up the most were given to a panel of seven, consisting of the two elected athletes’ representatives, the elected speaker of the 20 state master committees and three members of our national masters committee as well as the chief editor of the former magazine SelaPLUS. They were given a catalogue on what their decision should be based on, considering primarily the athletes’ performance in 2013, their national and international success as well as their exemplary and fair public presence. Furthermore each of them was asked to give one, two or three points to the male and female candidates. By doing it this way and in an anonymous and not a panel round we were able to honor each single candidate better and make the process even more neutral in finding the athlete of the year in the male and female category. This years decision in the womens category saw a clear vote for Lidia Zentner, the result in the men’s category was very, very close and found in Klemens Wittig the athlete of the year. Congratulations again to both of them.

    With warm regards
    the master committee of the German Athletic Federation

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