The IAAF is very saddened to learn of the death of the renowned walking coach Jerzy Hausleber, widely known as ‘the father of Mexican walking’, on Thursday (13).
Hausleber, 83, passed away as a result of heart problems in Mexico City.
He arrived in Mexico from his native Poland in 1966 as a result of a coaching exchange programme between the two countries.
His death drew tributes from many senior public figures and also many of the athletes he coached.
“This is a great loss for the sport and also for the Mexican walking. He was the coach who achieved the most in any sport for our country. No one produced so many Olympic medalists, World champions, Pan American and Central American winners,” commented Ernesto Canto, who won the 20km race walk at the 1983 IAAF World Championships and 1984 Olympic Games.
“There was nobody who was his equal, he leaves a great legacy. Not only was he an extraordinary coach, but he was also a great person and extraordinary human being,” added Canto.
Carlos Mercenario, the 1992 Olympic Games 50km silver medallist and three-time winner at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup, also paid tribute to his mentor.
“Nobody led the way he did. Mexican sport in the international context has never had such good results. From Jose Pedraza in 1968 (the 1968 Olympic Games 20km race walk silver medallist and Mexico’s first Olympic medallist in athletics) right up until the most recent medals, they were all a product of his knowledge,” said Mercenario.
Hausleber coached Mexican walkers to nine Olympic medals - three gold, four silver and two bronze medals - and a total of 118 medals in major international competitions.
The IAAF wishes to pass on its condolences to his family and many friends.