The German luge sport mourns the loss of Josef “Sepp” Lenz. As the SID learned from family circles, the long-time national coach died last Thursday. Lenz, who had looked after the German lugers for almost 30 years and won 96 medals (31 gold) with them at the Olympic Games, World and European Championships, was 89 years old.
Active career ended abruptly
Lenz was, among other things, the discoverer and sponsor of the three-time Olympic champion Georg Hackl. In 1962, as an active tobogganist, he won the European title in a single-seater, among other things. A serious crash in doubles training at the Winter Games in Innsbruck in 1964 ended the career of the then 29-year-old, two years later he started his career as a coach. Lenz also showed great talent as a track architect and ice master, he was considered the “toboggan father of Königssee”.
On December 16, 1993, an accident in the ice channel changed his life. During repair work on the Winterberg railway, the then 58-year-old was hit by a sled traveling at 110 km/h and lost his lower leg.
“Life goes on, it could have been worse,” said Lenz about the day. Only two months later he was the national coach at the Olympic Games in Lillehammer on the ice rink and led the German athletes to three medals. Until the very end, Lenz regularly visited the ice rink at Königssee, in the construction of which he played a key role. “To look up,” as he said.