Klaus Dibiasi sits in the Olympic Stadium in Munich during the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Stars of the 1972 Olympics: Klaus Dibiasi

“I still have a special connection to Munich now“

Italian diver Klaus Dibiasi won silver at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics before going on take gold in Mexico in 1968. He arrived in Munich in 1972 hoping to repeat that feat – and he succeeded. Four years later, he won the gold medal again in Montreal, making him the only diver to date to have won medals at four Olympic Games. He has very fond memories of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

“The Games in Munich were particularly special for me, as 1972 was also the year my father became a trainer with the Italian national team. He himself was a very good diver who competed and came tenth in the Berlin Olympics in 1936; but after that the turmoil of the Second World War meant he was unable to compete in subsequent Olympic Games, and so he was denied another chance to try for a medal.

Many years later I came upon a magazine interview in which he said: “I didn't manage to win an Olympic medal myself, but I’m going to try and get my son there.” It was wonderful for his dream to come true in Munich, while he was my trainer. The Italian diving team won a total of three medals at those Olympic Games – a historic achievement that has never been repeated since.

"The Italian diving team won a total of three medals at those Olympic Games – a historic achievement that has never been repeated since."
Klaus Dibiasi

After competing, we were in the car on our way back to Bolzano when news of the terror attack was announced on the radio. We could hardly believe such a tragedy was possible. The Munich Games had been so joyful and open until that point. We even smuggled a friend into the Olympic Village simply by throwing a tracksuit top over his shoulders – he was able to just walk in with us and have a look around. Everything was cordoned off much more strictly in subsequent Olympic Games.

We unfortunately didn't have much opportunity to get to know the city during the Games, simply because we were too focused on our training and on the competition. But I still have a special connection to Munich now.

My sister moved from Bolzano to Burghausen in the 1980s; we often visited her there and took many trips to the Bavarian capital. Today my two nephews live in Munich – and one of them even looks after a group of divers in the Olympic pool!

"I still have a special connection to Munich now."
Klaus Dibiasi

I can't quite remember just what I ate before the competition in Munich. In my home town of Bolzano, I would always have ten or eleven apricot dumplings before diving. However I do still love weisswurst – and I must have discovered that in Munich in 1972. In Rome, where I live now, I sometimes go to the wholesaler's just to pick some up. They’re not as good as the fresh ones in Munich, but they are still a lovely reminder of the 1972 Games.“

 

 

Text: Nansen & Piccard; Photos: Private, Frank Stolle
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