Alfred Flatov

Alfred Flatov

German gymnast.
Date of Birth: 03.10.1869
Country: Germany

  1. Biography of Alfred Flatow
  2. Post-Olympic Career and Legacy

Biography of Alfred Flatow

Alfred Flatow was a German gymnast born on October 3, 1869, in Danzig (now Gdańsk). He later relocated to Berlin with his family. As a young man, he joined the sports club "Deutsche Turnerschaft." From 1888 onwards, Flatow participated in various local competitions, winning many of them.

In 1890, at the age of 21, he became a gymnastics teacher. In 1896, he received an invitation to participate in the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens. Along with 10 other team members, including his cousin Gustav Flatow, he traveled to Athens. During the games, Flatow became a three-time Olympic champion. He won gold medals with his team in parallel bars and horizontal bar exercises. Additionally, he became the individual champion in the parallel bars competition. He secured the second place and a silver medal in the horizontal bar exercise. Flatow also competed in rings, horse vault, and pommel horse events but did not win any medals. With his four medals, including three gold, he ranked third among the most successful athletes, only trailing his fellow Germans Hermann Weingärtner and Carl Schuhmann.

Post-Olympic Career and Legacy

After the Olympic Games, Alfred Flatow decided to retire from professional gymnastics. However, he continued to have a significant influence on the sport. In 1903, he founded the club "Judische Turnerschaft," a gymnastics club for Jews. It was the first Jewish sports organization, reflecting Flatow's Jewish heritage. He also published brochures on gymnastics methodology. Additionally, he owned a bicycle business, which he established upon returning to Berlin from the games.

In 1933, when the Nazis came to power, Flatow fell into disfavor, and his involvement in gymnastics was banned. Despite this, he was invited to the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, but he declined the invitation. On October 3, 1942, his birthday, Flatow was sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in the Czech town of Terezín, where he died from starvation on December 28 of the same year. Gustav, his cousin, also died in the same camp three years later.

In 1997, a street in Berlin, Reichsportfeld, was renamed Flatow Boulevard in honor of Alfred and Gustav Flatow. This street is located near the Berlin Olympic Stadium. Additionally, one of the sports halls in the German capital was named after them, with a commemorative plaque dedicated to the Flatow brothers. In 1976, the North Korean postal service issued stamps featuring gymnasts, including Alfred Flatow. In 1996, Deutsche Post, the German postal company, also released stamps in honor of the Flatow brothers to commemorate the centenary of the Olympics.