Horst Gorlitz (GDR/ITA/FRG)
Honor Pioneer Coach (2016)
FOR THE RECORD: 1960, 1964, 1968 OLYMPIC GAMES: Head Diving Coach for Italian Team; 1972,1976,1980, OLYMPIC GAMES: Head Diving Coach for Federal Republic of Germany Team; 1954 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: Head Diving Coach for the German Democratic Republic; 1962, 1966 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: Head Diving Coach for Italy; 1970,1974, 1978 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: Head Diving Coach for Federal Republic of Germany; COACH OF TWO OLYMPIC DIVERS WINNING THREE GOLD, FOUR SILVER AND TWO BRONZE MEDALS; COACH OF TWO EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP DIVERS WINNING ONE GOLD AND BRONZE MEDALS.
Horst Gorlitz began coaching diving for the German Democratic Republic in 1947. He left the GDR in 1957 for political reasons and began coaching in Italy, but life was not easy for him. He was free and coaching a sport he loved, but he was in a new country, with a language he didn’t speak at first, but things would get easier.
At the 1958 European Championships and 1960 Olympic Games, his divers just missed making the finals. At the 1964 Olympic Games, 17-year old Klaus DiBiasi won gold on the 10-meter platform in Tokyo. During the next three Olympic Games in Mexico City, Montreal and Moscow, DiBiasi and Giorgio Cagnotto would win collectively, two gold, four silver and two bronze between them.
In 1969, Gorlitz left Italy to coach divers in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). After twelve years, Horst was going home. Gorlitz coached in Germany from 1969 through 1981. His divers are credited with winning gold and bronze medals at the European Championships, just months after his retirement. Gorlitz didn’t stay retired long – he missed coaching too much. Once he came out of retirement, he coached divers in Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, South Africa and again in Italy.
Horst Gorlitz was an autodidactic coach and used the study of engineering and biomechanics to advance his divers. He is also credited in Europe with creating the foam rubber mattress to be used as a landing, instead of sand or a trampoline. It removed the danger of getting hurt for dryland training.