Claudia Pechstein
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Claudia Pechstein

Claudia Pechstein
Claudia Pechstein 2.jpg
Personal information
Born (1972-02-22) 22 February 1972 (age 47)
East Berlin, East Germany
Country Germany
SportSpeed skating
Turned pro1988

Claudia Pechstein (born 22 February 1972) is a German speed skater. She has won five Olympic gold medals. With a total of nine Olympic medals, five gold, two silver and two bronze, she was the most successful Olympic speed skater, male or female, of all-time, until the gold medal of Ireen Wüst in the 2018 Winter Olympics of PyeongChang, and also the most successful German Winter Olympian of all-time.

Pechstein is the first female Winter Olympian to win medals in five consecutive Olympics (1992-2006), She won the gold medal in the women's 5000 metres race in three consecutive Olympics (1994, 1998, 2002), with bronze in the first (1992) and the silver medal in the fifth (2006). In the 3000 metres, she won three medals, gold (2002), silver (1998) and bronze (1994). She won her fifth Olympic gold medal in the team pursuit at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. After missing the 2010 Vancouver Games, she made her sixth Olympic appearance at the 2014 Sochi Games, finishing fourth in the 3000 metres and fifth in the 5000 metres. In 2018 she appeared in Pyeongchang Games.


Pechstein was born in East Berlin. She held a world record on the 5000 m track with the time 6:46.91 achieved on the Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City on 23 February 2002, which was beaten by Martina Sáblíková on the same oval five years later. Pechstein is a sergeant in the German Federal Police and trains at the force's sports training centre at Bad Endorf.

As reported by Olympic news outlet Around the Rings,[1] Pechstein is aiming for an Olympic return, this time as a cyclist. "I will start in the individual pursuit at the German Track Championships from 6 to 10 July in Berlin", she said. "I am also planning to race the individual sprint or the 500-meter time trial. I trust I can do this because as a skater I've trained a lot on the bike. I have nothing to lose. I don't know how this kind of competition works, so this alone is really exciting".

Two-year ban because of blood doping

Claudia Pechstein (2007)

After the World Championships in Norway in February 2009, the International Skating Union accused Pechstein of blood doping and banned her from all competitions for two years. This ban was based on irregular levels of reticulocytes in her blood. These levels were highest during the Calgary World Cup 2007 and the Hamar World Championships in 2009; elevated levels were also found during a number of other competitions and training spot checks.[2]

Pechstein denied that she had doped and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, claiming among other things that she has an inherited condition explaining the abnormal measurements. The court affirmed the ban in November 2009, finding no evidence for an inherited condition in the expert testimony provided by Pechstein.[3] This was the first case of doping based on circumstantial evidence alone; no forbidden substances were ever found during her repeated tests.[2][4]

In December 2009 she asked the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland for an injunction and was allowed to participate at a single 3000 m race in Salt Lake City, so that she could qualify for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver should her appeal of the ban be successful. She finished 13th in the race on 11 December but would have needed a place among the top 8 to qualify for the Olympics.[5]

In January 2010 the Swiss Federal Supreme Court refused to temporarily suspend Pechstein's ban for the Olympics.[6] On 19 February 2010 the CAS ad hoc panel at the Vancouver Olympics rejected Pechstein's last minute appeal to be admitted to the ice skating team events.[7]

Pechstein in 2015

In February 2010, Pechstein filed a criminal complaint in Switzerland against the International Skating Union, alleging trial fraud.[8]

On 15 March 2010, Gerhard Ehninger, head of the German Society for Hematology and Oncology, said that an evaluation of the case points to a light form of a blood anemia called spherocytosis - apparently inherited from her father.[9] Pechstein attempted to use this new evidence in her appeal before the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland. The International Skating Union issued a press release explaining their opposition to this appeal.[10]

Pechstein stood to lose her position with the German Federal Police should blood doping have been proved "beyond reasonable doubt". Disciplinary proceedings against her were halted in August 2010 because no such proof was available.[11] Pechstein applied for unpaid leave in order to be able to continue her training, which was denied. As a result, she suffered a nervous breakdown in September 2010.[12]

The Swiss Federal Supreme Court issued its final ruling on 28 September 2010, rejecting Pechstein's appeal and confirming the ban.[13] Pechstein returned to competition in February 2011. She next won the bronze medal in the 2011 World Championships in the 5000 m race, finishing behind world champion Martina Sáblíková from the Czech Republic, and her teammate Stephanie Beckert.

After this, Pechstein attempted to charge the International Skating Union for damages before German courts. However, on 7 June 2016, the Federal Court of Justice of Germany rejected her appeal by a final ruling. Her lawyer then announced that a constitutional complaint will be filed before the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany.[14]

Skating records

Personal records

Personal records[15]
Women's speed skating
Event Result Date Location Notes
Current Olympic and German record.[16][17]

She is currently in 6th position in the adelskalender.[18]

World records

World records[19]
Women's speed skating
Event Result Date Location Notes
World record until beaten by Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann on 14 March 1998.[20]
World record until beaten by Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann on 28 March 1998.[21]
World record until beaten by herself on 10 February 2002.[20]
World record until beaten by Cindy Klassen on 12 November 2005.[20] Still current Olympic record.[16]
World record until beaten by Martina Sáblíková on 11 March 2007.[21] Still current Olympic and German record.[16][17]
World record (with Daniela Anschütz and Anni Friesinger) until beaten by Kristina Groves, Christine Nesbitt and Brittany Schussler on 6 December 2009.[22]

Olympic records

Olympic records
Women's speed skating
Event Result Date Location Notes
Current Olympic record.[16]
Current Olympic and German record.[16][17]


World Cup overall World Cup medals Overall medals
  • 1500 meters
    • 2003: 2nd
    • 2002: 2nd
    • 2001: 3rd
    • 2000: 2nd
    • 1999: 2nd
    • 1998: 2nd
  • 3000/5000 meters
    • 2012: 3rd
    • 2008: 2nd
    • 2007: 3rd
    • 2006: 2nd
    • 2005: 1st
    • 2004: 1st
    • 2003: 1st
    • 2002: 2nd
    • 2001: 2nd
    • 2000: 2nd
    • 1999: 2nd
    • 1998: 2nd
    • 1996: 2nd
  • Mass start
    • 2012: 2nd
  • 1500 meters
    • 1st: -->6
    • 2nd: ->13
    • 3rd: -->9
  • 3000 meters
    • 1st: ->14
    • 2nd: ->25
    • 3rd: -->7
  • 5000 meters
    • 1st: -->6
    • 2nd: -->10
    • 3rd: -->4
  • Mass start
    • 1st: -->2
    • 2nd: -->2
    • 3rd: -->1
  • Combination
    • 1st: -->0
    • 2nd: -->1
    • 3rd: -->0
  • Team pursuit
    • 1st: -->4
    • 2nd: -->2
    • 3rd: -->3
  • Total medals
    • 1st: ->32
    • 2nd: ->53
    • 3rd: ->24
All: ->109
  • Olympics
    • 1st: -->5
    • 2nd: -->2
    • 3rd: -->2
  • World Champion Single
    • 1st: -->5
    • 2nd: ->12
    • 3rd: -->12
  • World Champion Overall
    • 1st: -->1
    • 2nd: -->8
    • 3rd: -->2
  • World Cup
    • 1st: ->32
    • 2nd: ->53
    • 3rd: ->24
All: ->158
  • updated 15 Feb 2015


See also


  1. ^ "Pechstein Considers Cycling". Around the Rings. 29 June 2011. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Sportgericht urteilt gegen Pechstein", (in German), 25 November 2009, archived from the original on 28 November 2009, retrieved 2009
  3. ^ CAS Arbitral Award Archived 11 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, 25 November 2009.
  4. ^ "Olympiasiegerin Pechstein wegen Blutdopings gesperrt", Spiegel Online (in German), 3 July 2009
  5. ^ "Pechstein fails Olympia mark, vows to fight on", Earth Times, 15 February 2010
  6. ^ "Pechstein loses last appeal, will miss Olympics", USA Today, 26 January 2010
  7. ^ "Sportgericht lehnt Pechstein-Antrag ab", Spiegel Online (in German), 19 February 2010
  8. ^ "Pechstein zitiert E-Mail und beantragt Startrecht", Spiegel Online (in German), 15 February 2010
  9. ^ "Doctors argue Claudia Pechstein's abnormal blood levels caused by hereditary anomaly", The Canadian Press, 15 March 2010, archived from the original on 6 July 2011
  10. ^ ISU Position in the Pechstein Case Archived 12 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, 18 May 2010.
  11. ^ Disziplinarverfahren gegen Polizeihauptmeisterin Claudia Pechstein eingestellt Archived 6 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Bundesministerium des Inneren, 16 August 2010.(in German)
  12. ^ Kritik an de Maizière statt Antritt zum Dienst, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 15 September 2010. (in German)
  13. ^ Bundesgericht weist Revisionsgesuch der Eisschnellläuferin Claudia Pechstein ab Archived 2 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Medienmitteilung des Bundesgerichts, 1 October 2010. (in German)
  14. ^ "Eisschnellläuferin: Claudia Pechstein scheitert am BGH". Spiegel Online. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  15. ^ "Claudia Pechstein". Retrieved 2012.
  16. ^ a b c d e "Olympic Records". Retrieved 2014.
  17. ^ a b c "National Records - Germany (GER)". Retrieved 2016.
  18. ^ "Adelskalendern". Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Claudia Pechstein". Retrieved 2016.
  20. ^ a b c "Evolution of the world record 3000 meters Women". Retrieved 2016.
  21. ^ a b "Evolution of the world record 5000 meters Women". Retrieved 2016.
  22. ^ "Evolution of the world record Team pursuit Women". Retrieved 2016.

External links

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