"The sport of sailing has taught me, among many other things, that - beyond a certain talent - hard work and commitment are definitely rewarded with success." This statement by Willy Kuhweide has not lost its validity to this day. He himself has confirmed it again and again with countless successes as the result of hard and disciplined work over many decades.
Willy Kuhweide with his gold medal won in Japan in 1964
Water and air were and are the elements of his life: under sails, Willy Kuhweide won his legendary gold medal in the Finn dinghy in 1964, before he headed the Lufthansa Phoenix Aviation School in Arizona from 1989 to 1994. Today, January 6th, the native Berlin celebrates his 75th birthday in his adopted home Carefree in America. "I don't think about my gold medal as often," said Kuhweide YACHT online shortly before his special day, "but I am reminded of her in a pleasant way by my surroundings, sometimes more, sometimes less." To this end, Kuhweide sent a personal "wish list", wrote: "I very much wish that science finds its way back from the 'fairy tale world' to science. That politicians abandon their 'belief component' and act like politicians again and that it no longer so many people who have the words 'Climate Consultant' on their business cards."
Willy Kuhweide during the time he supported the first German America's Cup campaign between 2005 and 2007
The five-time Olympic participant, four-time world and three-time European champion is one of the most successful sailors in German Olympic history. Kuhweide wants to celebrate his special day "in a small setting with a good dinner in a special setting with his wife and friends". He ended his sailing career in 1986 for professional reasons - but his name is still a synonym for sailing successes under the German flag. His gold medal is on display in a glass showcase in the Seglerhaus am Wannsee association.
Today, Kuhweide's gold medal from 1964 motivates the next generation but one: Laser sailor Philipp Buhl wants to win his Olympic medal in 2020 in the former Kuhweide gold district in front of Enoshim
Once rivals in the battle for the Finn dinghy starting place at the 1964 Olympic Games, today we are talking on friendly terms and with great understanding for what happened at the time: Bernd Dehmel (left) and Willy Kuhweide
The spectacular gold medal won in 1964 contributed to Kuhweide's fame. At that time, Germany competed at the Olympic Games in Japan with a team made up of athletes from the FRG and GDR. In the Finn dinghy discipline, in the shadow of the Cold War, in the run-up to the Games, there was a fiercely contested series of eliminations and serious disputes between the two sailing associations involved.
Ultimately, both the 21-year-old Willy Kuhweide and his GDR opponent Bernd Dehmel were sent by their respective associations to Enoshima, which will again be the Olympic district in 2020. There, the then IOC President Avery Brundage suggested at the height of the sporting tug-of-war for permission to start for Kuhweide or Dehmel even to let both sailors start. But other nations protested against this. Only half an hour before the starting shot Kuhweide found out that he should start for Germany. He opened the series with a second, a first and a fourth place and did not give up the lead from dan despite severe otitis media and open and inflamed eardrums. "I couldn't hear the starting guns anymore, I took the starting time with the visible cloud from the starting pistol," recalls Kuhweide of the series that was to make him world famous.
Willy Kuhweide casually on the motorcycle
Back in Berlin, he was enthusiastically celebrated by hundreds of thousands of fans and gave his sport an unprecedented high. Celebrated in the media, he was even allowed to explain the sailing times table to "sweetheart" Uschi Glas in Las Palmas. The talented piano and accordion player sang records with hits like "Liebe kleine Segelbraut", but remained true to himself and his professional goal and made a career in aviation. One of Kuhweide's most beautiful memories is the childhood that he enjoyed with his parents and three sisters on the family boat "Wunschtraum" on the Wannsee under sail. In 2005 he followed his motto: "Learn, earn, return" as a commodore of the first and so far only German America’s Cup campaign - he wanted to give something back to the German sailing sport.
Willy Kuhweide and the decisive document: The acceptance of the German challenge by the Swiss Cup defenders. At that time, Kuhweide presented it to the public in the Seglerhaus am Wannsee association