Rudi Altig was a wonderfully approachable man who would offer you a spontaneously warm welcome. Someone who lived life to the full and thought that money was made for spending. With his blond, blocky head and rather stocky physique, he had the aura of a champion. This charisma remained even when his career was over. He was worshipped by an entire nation. People continued to idolise him until his death on 11 June 2016. 'Rudi, wie geht es?' (Rudi, how are you?), people then asked. And Altig's face would light up at being recognised and acknowledged. Everywhere Altig appeared, he was introduced as der ex-Weltmeister (the former world champion). An indelible memory.
Rudi Altig, an open man. Poignant when he talked about the untimely death of his mother, who died in a traffic accident, a traumatic event that shaped and toughened his character. And a prickly man when he spoke about the decision of the German ARD television not to extend his contract as a co-commentator because he was scathing about the way Jan Ullrich was throwing his talent away.
But Rudi Altig was never a man to mince his words. He would not be silenced by anyone. Then he decided he would rather do things more calmly. Get up quietly in the morning, go to the sauna, lie in the sun for a while, have breakfast, read some newspapers, have a nice meal in the afternoon, play some tennis and then enjoy a glass of wine in the evening. A life lived in almost devout silence.