He won many Olympic Games in the racewalking category and is considered the greatest racewalker ever. During his career he won four gold medals at the Olympic Games from Atlanta to Athens. He won three gold medals at the world championships, to which he added two further gold at the European championships.
In 2005, after having decided to retire, he became actively involved in various roles at the International Olympic Committee.
In 2014 he was included in the IAAF Hall of Fame.
A champion in races and in life as well. Together with his foundation, he collect sporting goods which are set aside for poor children, clubs and orphanages – something that sticks to the slogan “ Sport is a joy – pass the word !”