‘Relentless’: Felix Wolter pushes toward goal of competing in 2024 Olympic Games

Pitt graduate student Felix Wolter jumps over a hurdle at a track & field meet.

Image courtesy of Pitt Athletics

Pitt graduate student Felix Wolter jumps over a hurdle at a track & field meet.

By Richie Smiechowski, Senior Staff Writer

Across the Atlantic Ocean, more than 4,000 miles away from his hometown of Munich, Germany, Felix Wolter is having no trouble adjusting to life in the United States. In fact, according to his roommate Cobe Wiggins, it seems to be the other way around.

“It’s funny, because I’d almost say the U.S. has had to adapt to him,” Wiggins said with a laugh. “His personality was already so well fit to thrive in any environment, that when he got here, it was like he had already hit his stride.”

It’s been a seamless transition for Wolter, who is now starring both academically and athletically at Pitt. With an undergraduate degree and decorated track and field career already under his belt, Wolter aims for bigger things and is relentless in his pursuit of them.

Wolter and Wiggins, two Pitt graduate students who are also teammates on the Panthers’ track and field team, are well acquainted with each other. Wolter came to Pitt in 2020 with just two years of eligibility left and found himself rooming with Wiggins. The two hit it off immediately and have since traveled together to Germany and France last summer with the rest of their teammates.

Wolter said that he couldn’t have asked for a better living situation, considering that he’s never needed that many people around him.

“I’m just a very uncomplicated person,” Wolter said. “I was very lucky with my rooming situation here and got more or less the perfect setup because I was with three people on my team, in a house two minutes away from the facilities.”

Wolter said his transition to the United States was a straightforward one — there aren’t many differences between the two cultures. What’s more, he attributed the easy transition to being older than most other athletes when they come to college. Since he already finished his undergraduate education at the Technical University of Munich, Wolter’s new environment didn’t come with a lot of stress.

Apart from sharing the same living space and traveling together, Wolter and Wiggins are both multis for the Pitt track and field team, meaning they compete in events such as heptathlon and decathlon. These competitions are composed of either seven or 10 separate events that each athlete participates in. Points are allocated after each individual event, culminating in one final score for each athlete.

Wolter showed last season that when healthy, he doesn’t have many weak areas in these events. During the indoor season, he took gold in heptathlon at the ACC Indoor Championships, winning three of the seven events. While he didn’t win at the NCAA Indoor Championships a few weeks later, he narrowly missed a podium spot, finishing fourth and notching three top-ten all-time marks at Pitt in pole vault, long jump and high jump.

Injuries eventually prevented Wolter from competing in the ACC Outdoor Championships that same year, but he still continued his dominance early in the season, winning eight of 10 events in decathlon at the Virginia Challenge and setting a school record in the event with 7,950 points.

According to assistant coach Alonzo Webb III, Wolter’s drive to continually improve has been “relentless” since arriving in Pittsburgh. He said it’s that attitude of never being satisfied in anything he does that has pushed Wolter to national success.

“He’s someone you have to sometimes go back and tell him, ‘Hey man, take it easy today,’” Webb III said. “He doesn’t stop focusing until he really gets it right, and then when he gets it right, he makes sure that he’s consistent with it.”

So far this indoor season, Wolter is already setting new records for the Panthers. His 7.74-meter long jump at the Youngstown State Icebreaker was, at the time, the longest jump in the NCAA this season and second longest in program history. His performance at the meet earned him his second career ACC Men’s Field Performer of the Week award.

As his college career winds down and his future looms nearer, Wolter’s drive for post-graduate success only grows stronger. He was definitive in laying out his athletic goals for the next few years.

“The primary goal would be the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024, as long as my body holds on, and hopefully it will,” Wolter said.

If not the Olympic Games, Webb strongly believes that there will be opportunities for Wolter to compete for Germany’s world championship team in the future. Webb III even said that if Wolter decides to stay in athletics past his days of competing, there will be a coaching spot reserved for Wolter on the multis team at Pitt.

“I want him to be a volunteer assistant for me and coach as well, because he’s a student of the sport,” Webb III said. “He cares a lot about it … he’s definitely the one that is probably the most prepared just because he pays attention to everything.”

For as driven as Wolter has been his entire life with athletics, his dedication to academics has been just as much of a priority. One of the main reasons he came to Pitt in the first place was so that he could both compete full-time while completing credits toward his master’s degree in computer science.

“The school system [in Germany] honestly is not designed to be able to manage doing 20 plus hours of sports next to education,” Wolter said. “Pitt was the best combination between academics and sports and that’s what I was looking for in the end.”

Wolter is still unsure if he will be able to obtain a third year of eligibility at Pitt for next year’s season. In the meantime, his sights are set on continually performing at the highest level for the Panthers and in the process, motivating his teammates to reach new heights as well.

“When you’re that successful, there’s something you’re doing right,” Wiggins said. “Obviously other people want to replicate that and build upon it to be even better.”