This incident of Hemann Ratjen posing as Dora Ratjen and competing for Germany in the 1936 Berlin Olympics has fascinated me for a long time, and especially what actually happened to Hermann (Dora) later in life.
Guy Walters has covered this very well in his book "Berlin Games - How the Nazis Stole the Olympic Dream" and he is the only one to have shed any light on Hermann's later life. Apparently,Hermann had some kind of operation and lived his life as a married man, keeping a bar at one time and also playing plenty of football. In early 2006, Guy reports that Hermann was still alive and living quietly in retirement in Germany with his wife, and it intrigues me how he managed to find this out. I wrote to one of the German athletic authorities some years ago about Hermann Ratjen but received no reply.
There seem to be very few photos about of "Dora" Ratjen - one shows him/her in the process of jumping - and the photo printed above is certainly the best I have seen (and the closest), which definitely (to my eyes at least) gives her a very masculine appearance. Leni Riefenstahl took some splended films of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, of which I have copies, and on one of them is action from the ladies high jump competition, including "Dora" taking one of her jumps.
Should Hermann still be alive today, he would be 90 years old, and it is a curious fact that until the death of Ibolya Csak on 10th February 2006, the first four in the ladies high jump competition from the 1936 Berlin Games were still alive, almost 70 years after the event in question, although of course, this does include Hermann / Dora, who was not exactly a lady !
As far as I am aware, Dorothy Odam-Tyler, silver medallist, is still going strong at the age of 88 in London, and the bronze medallist Elfriede Kahn is also alive and living in Kiel, Germany at the age of 94. Perhaps the secret to a long life may be to take up high jumping !!!
I am going to Email Guy Walters and see if I can find out any more about Hermann/Dora and from where he was able to obtain his information.