Sports idol Ludwig Lud Müller turns 90 on January 25

Ludwig Müller is 90 years old
The “Russian Fright” celebrates its birthday

Ludwig Müller celebrates his 90th birthday on January 25th. He has already had visitors from his old homeland, because the runner legend from Wesel has a loyal fan base. Unforgotten is his double victory in the international match in 1958 against the Soviet Union.

Ludwig Müller is an athletics legend and a post-war Wesel celebrity. His friends in the old home town of Wesel have not forgotten him. For the 90th birthday of the “Hero of Augsburg” Heinz Breuer from Hamminkeln and the story writer Clemens Reinders from Haldern visited the former sports idol of the Weseler Turnverein (WTV) in Fuldabrück (Kassel district).

The long-distance runner, known to everyone as Lud to this day, who became a legend with his victories over the favored Russians in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters in the 1958 international track and field competition against the Soviet Union, wrote sports history throughout Germany and was a great advertising medium for the city of Wesel. But he was also seven times German champion in the long-distance disciplines, sixth in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the Olympic Games in Rome and was more than 40 times in the German national athletics team at the start. At that time, Lud Müller switched from the Wesel gymnastics club to the Hessen Kassel club.

  Heinz Reuyß (from left), Walter Bücker, Anneliese Tyrolf, Hanns-Peter Stumpen, Heinz Breuer, Holger Hintzen, Rainer te Baay and Klaus ten Hoevel on the greeting photo in front of the Berliner Tor

Heinz Reuyß (from left), Walter Bücker, Anneliese Tyrolf, Hanns-Peter Stumpen, Heinz Breuer, Holger Hintzen, Rainer te Baay and Klaus ten Hoevel on the greeting photo in front of the Berliner Tor
Photo: Erwin Pottgiesser

As Heinz Breuer reports from his visit, Müller is doing well, given his age. “He lives with his wife Karin in Fuldabrück, Hesse, in a pretty home that is decorated with certificates, photos, documents and trophies from his glorious time in the 1950s and 1960s, about which he can still tell lively and enthusiastic stories.” , says Breuer. He also reports with pride on encounters with the sports greats of the time: Fritz Walter, Hans-Günter Winkler, Steffi Graf and his friend Armin Hary, who often visited him. But the contacts to his old friends from the WTV have also remained to this day. After his career as a long-distance runner, he continued to play tennis successfully for many years, after which he was also active as a coach.

Lud Müller was very happy about the greetings card with a photo and a poem, Breuer continued. “He was also very touched by the greetings and congratulations from Wesel’s mayor Ulrike Westkamp.” Breuer had written a poem in his humorous way and let Müller know in the name of “your friends from the Weseler gymnastics club”: “You have remained our sports idol and Weseler young. The former active members of the Weseler gymnastics club Heinz Reuyß, Walter Bücker, Anneliese Tyrolf (Buchholz), Hanns-Peter Stumpen, Heinz Breuer, Holger Hintzen, Rainer te Baay and Klaus ten Hoevel lined up in front of the Berliner Tor for a birthday greeting photo and all signed .

Müller’s most important phase came at a time when athletics played an important role in Germany’s sport, when successes were hugely celebrated and when the Cold War between West and East dominated the political and social world. When both sides met, as on September 20th and 21st, 1958 in the athletics international match between Germany and the Soviet Union, the attention was huge. At that time, all eyes were on the Weseler. Ludwig Müller became known as the “Hero of Augsburg”, a fact that accompanies him to this day. In Augsburg’s Rosenau Stadium, he surprisingly won the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races. His times: 14:06.8 minutes for the 5000 meters on the first day of competition and 29:52.6 minutes for the 10,000 meters on the second day. “The Soviet track and field athletes were considered overwhelming at the time,” Heinz Breuer recalls. “The Russian long-distance runners were a bank. No wonder that the 115:105 overall victory of the German Athletics Association, which only became possible thanks to Müller’s victories, was felt to be a sensation and celebrated with great enthusiasm.” A success that began with the “Miracle of Bern”, winning the soccer World Cup 1954, was leveled.

For Ludwig Müller it was his greatest sporting experience. “It is and will always be worth as much to me as an Olympic victory or a world record,” he has always said. Heinz Breuer contributed to the fact that Müller was also given the nickname “Russian Fright” for his performance.

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