From Germany’s City of Ulm, Reinelt first hit the international rowing scene as a junior in 2006. His start was strong finishing with a silver in the junior men’s eight. This was the beginning of Reinelt’s love affair with the eight. The following year he moved to the under-23 team and again won silver, again in the men’s eight.

It was not long before Reinelt was knocking on the door of the senior team and already as a 20-year-old he competed for Germany at the European Rowing Championships.

In 2010, now firmly entrenched in Germany’s senior team and in their flagship boat, the Deutschlandachter, Reinelt was part of their winning streak. That year in New Zealand he became a senior World Champion and followed it up with another world title in 2011. This led Reinelt to his first Olympic Games. He won gold in the eight in London 2012.

Through the next quadrennial leading up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Reinelt remained a solid and consistent member of the German eight. They continued to medal, although often finishing second to the powerful British eight. At Reinelt’s second Olympics, his boat took the silver and he decided it was time to move from rowing and finish his medical studies. He stayed involved in rowing and was recently announced as the team doctor for the German under-23 team.

Fellow Ulm rowing club member who knew Reinelt since his junior days, Hansjoerg Kaeufer described him as always a funny guy.

“Funny on the one hand, but very extreme focussed when he had to race, or when he had a test on the erg,” says Kaeufer. “Through all of the years he was member of team Deutschlandachter, Max’s physical strength was one of the best - and most of the time, the best.”

When Reinelt needed to relax after training he would play the piano. 

“In 2012 I was asked by the local newspaper to write something about the training camp as they (the men’s eight) prepared for the London Olympics,” says Kaeufer. “So I went to Breisach to watch the boys from Ulm (Max in the eight and my son, Urs in the men’s four). In the evening after work and dinner was done, I went to talk to the boys. But we couldn’t find Max. Finally, someone told us: ‘Max is in the church, playing organ’.” This was Reinelt’s way of winding down from rowing.

Reinelt’s family wrote in his obituary:  "Bei besten Langlaufwetter verstarb unser geliebter Max Josef Reinelt" - By finest cross-country-weather Max lost his life…

Maximilian Reinelt collapsed while skiing in Switzerland. He will be missed by the world rowing community. His life ended too soon.

Says Kaeufer, “On Friday we bury Max in his hometown of Ulm.”