Kissner managed to make it out in 1964, with the help of an old schoolmate living in Cologne. The city was hosting a qualification race for the Olympics to determine who would join the then-German national team in Tokyo that year. GDR athletes, unlike the majority of the East German population, were allowed to see the world, which in many cases fuelled the desire break free of GDR borders. And every trip was an opportunity to do so. Kissner disappeared by climbing up through the elevator shaft of the hotel where his team was staying in Cologne.