Last NameSportCountryYear Inducted

Sport: Track and Field
Inducted: 1996
Country: United States
Born: September 12, 1916 in Berlin, Germany
Died: May 7, 2000

Known as “Mr. Walking” in American track and field circles, Henry Laskau set the World Outdoor One Mile Race-Walking record in 1951 at 6:19.2. His record stood for 12 years.

A budding middle distance runner in Germany, he escaped from his homeland in 1939 after serving three months in a forced labor camp. Making his way through France to a ship that took him to Cuba, he eventually picked up his life and running career in the United States. When the United States entered World War II, Laskau enlisted and served in counterintelligence for the American Army. After his Army discharge in 1946, he decided to resume his track career as a race-walker.

Laskau dominated U.S. race-walking competition. He was unbeaten in the United States from 1947 to 1956, winning 42 National AAU championships. His American Outdoor titles were for the Two-Mile 1952 to 1955 and in 1957; 3 Kilometers in 1948 to 1952, and in 1956; 10 Kilometers in 1947 to 1957; 15 Kilometers in 1947, and in 1953 to 1956; 20 Kilometers in 1951 to 1955; and 25 Kilometers
in 1956. Indoors, he won every U.S. One Mile championship from 1948 to 1957.

In addition to his World record, Laskau also set three American marks: 10 Kilometers in 1951 (46:45); 3 Kilometers in 1952 (12:52.7); 15 Kilometers in 1956 (1:12.40).

A three-time member of the United States Olympic Race Walking Team, in 1948, 1952, and 1956, his best Olympic finish was seventh place in the 10 Kilometer Walk in 1948 (47:05). At the Melbourne
Olympics in 1956, at the age of 40, Laskau finished twelfth in the 20 Kilometer Walk.

In the years 1950, 1953, 1957, and 1965, Laskau won gold medals at the World Maccabiah Games in Israel. In 1997 he was elected to the U.S. Track & Field Hall of Fame.


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