Manfred Schnelldorfer was born on May 1943, the son of two figure skating coaches. He started his basic skating training as a boy of 4. He soon showed extraordinary coordination abilities. Both parents, very modest people, led Manfred to a serious approach to life and Figure Skating right from the very beginning. He won the Championships of Germany in from 1956 to 1961, in 1963, and in 1964. He entered the World Figure Skating scene in 1952 at the European Championships in Budapest as a boy of 12.
He took part in 10 European Championships, 6 World Championships & 2 Olympic Games. 1964 was the last, and perhaps, the most successful year in his competitive career. He won the Olympic Games, the World Championships, and gained the silver medal at the European Championships. Schnelldorfer was an exclusively athletic person, with less focus on artistic performance in Free Skating. His performance was however, balanced in both compulsory figures and Free Skating.
After his Olympic win, the Ice Capades offered Schnelldorfer a contract that he declined because of a promise to his parents. From 1967 to 1969, he served as the sports director, officially "national coach", of the Deutsche Eislauf Union. After his parents gave their approval, he performed with the Deutsche Eistheater from 1969 to 1973.
Manfred Schnelldorfer was also a pop singer and actor before becoming a coach and sport teacher. He was the first West German national coach for figure skating between 1974 and 1981.