After coming to the U.S. at the age of 19, Erna Wachtel put her Turner training to use as an athlete, coach, and judge during her career.
Fifteen years following Wachtel’s arrival, she earned National AAU medals and, in 1944, earned an Honorary Olympic Team membership for the canceled games that year due to World War II.
The following decade after her retirement from competition, Wachtel was the Central AAU Chairperson and served as a committee post with the National AAU. She coached the 1956 US Women’s Gymnastics Olympic Team in Melbourne, Australia, where it placed ninth.
Beyond coaching and instructing pre-schoolers, young children, and inexperienced adults at Chicago’s Lakeshore Park, Wachtel also served as an international Brevet Judge.