Kornelia Ender

Kornelia Ender is an East German professional swimmer who won four gold medals at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Ender was naturally good at swimming from her early days. Thus, well-known East German coaches spotted her natural abilities and trained her for professional competitions.

The prodigy swimmer experienced her first taste of the Olympic games in 1972 when she was only thirteen years old. She came second in the 200-meter individual medley and helped the German Democratic Republic win a silver medal.

The reason for considering Kornelia Ender as one of the finest swimmers in history is that she never backed off despite the difficulties women faced in sports in those days.

She was even inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1981. However, Ender’s success was clouded with drug usage charges on her among other athletes.

This article brings you Kornelia Ender’s early life, Olympic career, steroid accusation, family, and other lesser-known facts.

Kornelia Ender | Quick Facts

But before that, let’s take a glance at some quick facts about Ender.

Full Name Kornelia Ender
Common Name Kornelia
Date of Birth October 25, 1958
Place of Birth Plauen, East Germany (now Saxony, Germany)
Nickname Konne
Religion Christianity
Nationality German
Ethnicity White
Father’s Name Unknown
Mother’s Name Vera Ender
Siblings Unknown
High School Unknown
University Unknown
Zodiac Sign Scorpio
Age 63
Height 5 feet 8 inches (172 cm)
Weight 59 kg (130 lbs)
Eye color Black
Hair color Blonde
Build Athletic
Body Type Hourglass
Marital Status Married Twice
Ex-Husband Ronald Mathes (Married from 1978-1982)
Husband Steffen Grummt (Married since 1984)
Children 2 Daughters (One from the first marriage and another from the second marriage)
Profession Former Professional Swimmer
Affiliation East Germany Olympics Swimming Team, SV Halle
Active Year  1972-1976
Olympic Debut 1972 (at the age of 13)
National Team East Germany
Favorite Stroke Butterfly, Freestyle, Medley
  • 1972 Summer Olympics- 3 Silvers
  • 1976 Montreal Olympics- 4 Gold Medals and 1 Silver
Awards and Achievements
  • Swimmer of the Year (3 Times)
  • European Swimmer of the Year (3 Times)
  • Inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1981)
Net Worth $1.5 Million
Residence Schornsheim, Southwest Germany
Hobbies Swimming
Social Handle Not Active
Merch Sportscaster Card
Last Update July, 2022

Early Life | Kornelia Ender

Kornelia was conceived in Plauen, East Germany, on October 25, 1958. Vera Ender was her mother’s name; her father’s identity remains unknown.

Kornelia was a native German who worked as both an army officer and a nurse. She had always had a natural flair for swimming.

The genius child left home at age six to attend Halle’s Chemie Club training facility. She used to swim seven miles a day and train really hard in the training center, all while being watched after by some of the best coaches and a team doctor.

According to encyclopedia.com, the trainers would give her vitamin-infused beverages following each workout. But Ender claimed that in the past, she and her companions had no idea what they were drinking.

She described events and mentioned that swimming team officials were never spoken to about anything.

A state talent scout selected Ender, then 10 years old, as one of the world’s top female sprint swimmers.

Age, height, and weight for Kornelia Ender

Ender, who is currently 63 years old, was born on October 25, 1958. Scorpio is her horoscope sign. She has a height of 5 feet 8 inches and a weight of about 155 pounds. She has a toned hourglass figure.

Olympic Games in Munich in 1972 for Kornelia Ender

Thirteen-year-old Kornelia won two silver medals in the relay swimming competition at the Munich Summer Olympics in 1972. She also took second in the 200-meter medley, in addition to everything else.

After the 1972 Olympics and intensive preparations, Ender’s butterfly and freestyle sprints talents were so refined that no one could beat her skills.

Olympics in Montreal in 1976

Ender was a key component of East Germany’s triumph at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. She won gold medals in the anchoring of the 400-meter medley relay, the 100- and 200-meter freestyle sprints, and the 100-meter butterfly.

In addition to setting a world record in each event, seventeen-year-old Kornelia also competed in two of the individual races—the 100-meter butterfly and the 200-meter freestyle.

In the freestyle, she filled in for Barbara Krause.

The elite swimmer Ender, according to Times Magazine, was three feet ahead before she even started swimming because of the energy she was erupting with at the starting line.

She plunged deeply and planed high like a speedboat, with a large portion of her body floating out of the water.

Her mobility was the most captivating aspect of her swimming stroke. Despite making fewer strokes per minute than her rivals, her movements were so effective that she would break world records.

She won a silver medal in the freestyle 100-meter relay in addition to four gold medals. Kornelia and Babashoff became the only women to win five swimming medals at a single Olympics in 1976.

World’s Best Swimmer Kornelia Ender

Kornelia, the physically fit athlete who won four gold medals at both World Championships, was named World Swimmer of the Year in 1973 and 1975.

Kornelia, a talented swimmer, was reportedly described as “propelling herself into the water with such authority that it gave the idea that she was pulling the pool toward her” by a Sports Illustrated reporter.

She was also selected as the European Sportswoman of the Year in 1973 and 1975, as well as the German Sportswoman of the Year from 1973 to 1976.

However, due to a positive steroid use test, Kornelia’s “World Swimmer of the Year” accolade was revoked.

Ender lost her 1973, 1975, and 1976 trophies from Swimming World Magazine. Ender’s medals were thus taken away even though she was a victim of the doping scam.

Retirement for Kornelia Ender

After the 1976 Olympics, Ender gave up swimming against the advice of her coaches. Sadly, the retirement choice put an end to her career just as she was poised to become a hero in East Germany as a result of her accomplishments.

Manfred Ewald expelled Kornelia Ender from the national team in 1977 because she refused to take Turinabol. Ender had accomplished 23 world records by the time she retired.

They finally revealed that they had provided doping to almost all of its swimmers, including Ender, after reuniting old East German officials.

Also read Peter Sagan Career

Ender and her teammates were charged with taking illicit performance-enhancing steroids following the 1976 Olympics.

Ender revealed that she attempted to flee to the West through Hungary in 1989, but the authorities forbade it and returned her and her family on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Her attempts to go to the West and start a new life were later revealed to have been reported to the authorities by Ender’s father.


Since 1984, Kornelia has worked as a physiotherapist, effectively establishing herself after retirement. She now resides in the southwest German village of Schornheim.

Inspiring Speaker

One of the most significant and resilient female athletes to date is Kornelia. In order to prevent others from making the mistakes she did in the past, she discusses her struggles, victories, and setbacks as a motivational speaker.

Roland Matthes | Marriage Kornelia Ender

Roland Matthes, a four-time Olympic backstroke winner, was a teammate of Kornelia’s who she later married. Sadly, she divorced fellow swimmer Roland Matthes after their marriage.

The union, which reportedly took place in the quickest time in history, lasted four years. Francesca, another daughter, is also theirs.

Roland Matthes is the most successful Olympic backstroke swimmer, having won the 100- and 200-meter events in 1968 and 1972, respectively.

Stewart Grummt

After getting married to Steffen Grummt in 1984, Kornelia gave birth to a daughter. She and her husband attempted to file for an emigration visa after getting married. Kornelia and her family finally relocated to West Germany in 1989.

Decathlete Steffen Grummt finished fourth in the 1982 European Championships and was ranked fourth worldwide. He took the helm of Mainz’s sports school after getting married.

The Real Story About Steroid Use

The use of steroids by some female swimmers was acknowledged by some East German coaches in 1991, though Kornelia Ender’s name was not specifically addressed.

In one interview, Kornelia discussed using steroids and admitted that she had been given performance-enhancing medications by her instructors at the time, but hadn’t known it.

Ender was 18 years old when she won four gold medals at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. In addition to her eight gold medals, she also won eight world championships, four more Olympic medals, and four European championships.

Ender used to put in a lot of work at the Child and Youth Sports School, working out on land and in the water for two hours every day. Additionally, she and her companions received a lifestyle that was above normal.

Regarding drug use once more, Kornelia claimed that although there was no mention of drugs, it’s possible that the students were provided illegal substances in their food and beverages.

However, in 1975, the need for success increased and winning Olympic Games became the primary priority. She recalled receiving injections throughout practice and competition, but the reason was described as being for ingredients to aid in regeneration and recovery.

Kornelia Ender claims that she is saddened by all of these cases of substance abuse. She experienced a sense of complete defeat.

Even when coaches tell the truth, athletes are the ones who are blamed for every error and not the coaches.

Kornelia Ender | Income

Ender is a well-known swimmer with a rumored net worth of $1.5 million. Her main source of riches is the gold medals she has won at the Olympics and other sporting events. Additionally, Ender received numerous endorsement deals during the height of her success, increasing her riches.

She changed careers after retiring, becoming a motivational speaker and physiotherapist, both of which paid well. Learn more about her lifestyle and financial worth.

Kornelia Ender | Social Media Presence

Ender is regarded as one of the most excellent swimmers of all time. Despite this, she leads a quiet life.

Unfortunately, she is not present on any social media platforms. Instead, she is happy with her quiet life away from the limelight.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Who is Kornelia Ender’s Father?

Ender’s father was a military person, according to some online sources. However, his name and other personal information are not disclosed.

Reportedly, it is said that Kornelia ran away from home at the age of thirteen because of her father’s strict rules.