Helmut ("Henry") Laskau (September 12, 1916 – May 7, 2000) has been called the greatest racewalker in U.S. track and field history. Born in Berlin, Germany Laskau was a top distance runner in his native Germany before being forced to leave that country in by the Nazis in 1938. He moved to the United States and served in the U.S. Army during World War II before resuming his competitive walking career in 1946.
Over two decades Laskau won 42 national titles and was a competitor in the 1948, 1952 and 1956 Olympic Games, placing 12th in 1952 at 20 kilometers. He was a 1951 Pan-American Games champion and also was a four-time winner at the Maccabiah Games. During an 11-year career, he set five national records and during nine years of that period was unbeaten by any American walker. In 1983, he was named to the USA All-Time Track and Field team. He remained active in the sport after retiring from competition, serving as a volunteer official. Laskau died at the age of 83 in Coconut Creek, FL in 2000.