Claudia Pechstein

Olympic Person of the Month February 2022

This month, Germany’s record-breaking speed skater Claudia Pechstein is chosen as EOA’s Olympic Person of the Month. With her current participation in the Beijing Olympics at the age of 49, she sets the records for oldest female Winter Olympian of all time and most participations in Winter Olympic Games as a woman.

Pechstein was born in East Berlin in 1972 and already drew national attention to her skating abilities at the tender age of 13. She kicked off her medal haul with her first Olympic Winter Games in Albertville in 1992, and to date, she has collected 9 Olympic medals (5 of which were gold) and 34 World Cup victories. Among countless national and international achievements in speed skating, she set several world records, some of which were only broken this year.

Her exceptional career is overshadowed by dropped doping allegations, which led to a suspension from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Pechstein fought for her innocence, claiming that an inherited blood anomaly led to the elevated blood levels for which she was accused of blood doping. She was rehabilitated by the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), as well as by other organisations. This month, the athlete had the honour of leading the German Olympic team as flag bearer at the opening ceremony, which gave another highlight to her stellar career.

The EOA recognises her achievements of participating in the Olympic Games for over 30 years and continuing to push herself and deliver top performances despite a long legal battle following the Vancouver ban. Her commitment to strive for excellence despite all the setbacks deserves the utmost respect.

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