Legendary German official Christoph Kopp dies aged 75

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European Athletics is saddened to hear of the death of Christoph Kopp, one of Europe's most influential and experienced road running officials and managers, who passed away at the age of 75 on Friday (28) in his hometown of Berlin after a short illness.

A former sprinter and decathlete, Kopp worked as a coach and later became head of athletics at the renowned SCC Berlin club.

When city marathons grew in popularity in Europe in the early eighties, he became voluntary sports director and then the general manager of the Berlin Marathon, developing the event into a high-class international race and establishing connections from which the event still benefits today. 

Kopp was also the President of the Berlin Athletics Federation from 1999 until 2004 and was heavily involved in Berlin’s bids for the World Athletics Championships, which the city staged in 2009.

As an elite field coordinator, he developed the Berlin Marathon into one of the world’s leading races. He did the same with the Frankfurt Marathon and the Berlin 25K race - and it was in Frankfurt in 2011 where Wilson Kipsang missed the world record by just four seconds.

Kopp Milde Tergat Berlin25k09

In partnership with the former ISTAF Meeting Director Gerhard Janetzky, Kopp organised the Berlin 25K race for several years. In 2010, he put together a field that produced something unique: the first time ever that both the men's and women's world records were broken in the same race.

More recently, he worked for marathons in Hannover, Linz and Munich as well as road races in Paderborn, Berlin, Würzburg and Dresden.

In 2020, it was Kopp and his International SportService (ISS) team who organised the first elite races during the Covid-19 pandemic in Germany and one of the first worldwide.

He was also involved in the organisation of most other German races during the lockdown. As well as being one of the nicest and most reliable people you could meet in life, always ready to help, he always had the courage to try new things that seemed impossible.

Kopp also managed many top German and international athletes with his team at ISS, which will now be continued by his son Philipp Kopp and his long-term employee Sandra Wolter.

European Athletics would like to send its condolences and sympathies to his friends, family and the wider German athletics community.

Images: portrait of Christoph Kopp (by Norbert Wilhelmi) and talking with Paul Tergat and Horst Milde at the 2009 Berlin 25K (by Victah Sailer).

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