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Eric Heiden is considered one of if not the greatest speed skater of all time.

Promising start

As a 17 year old, Eric Heiden competed in the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Games, finishing 7th in the 1500m and 19th in the 5,000m. His skating talent then blossomed and he won the overall title at the next three World Championships.

Amazing performance

At the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Games, Heiden won all five speed skating events from 500m all the way up to 10,000m, setting an Olympic record in every one. In the 1500m he almost fell halfway through, before recovering to win by 37 hundredths of a second. In his final 10,000m victory, Heiden broke the world record by 6.20 seconds.

Olympic history

He was the first person in history to win five gold medals in the same Olympic Games – indeed he won every single event available. This impressive feat marked the pinnacle of Heiden’s skating career.

A new challenge

After his success at Lake Placid, Heiden turned to cycling, won the 1985 US Professional Cycling Championship and competed in the 1986 Tour de France.




Meet Eric Heiden

"On the occasion of the anniversary of Vancouver 2010, Olympic Magazine talked to one of the legendary names of the Winter Olympics - the speed skater Eric Heiden. Copyright IOC/EBU"
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Eric Heiden (USA)

Ice skate worn by Eric Heiden at the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid

©IOC / Athlete's parents'collection
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Eric Heiden (USA)

Eric Heiden competing at the Olympic Games in Lake Placid

©Getty Tony Duffy
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Eric Heiden X

15 Feb 2002: General Motors and film-maker Bud Greenspan honored Eric Heiden, five time gold medalist in speed skating from the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, at the Chevy Hot Zone in Park City, Utah. GM and Greenspan honored Heiden as one of the 10 best Winter Olympians ever during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. At at ceremony in Heiden's honor, Greenspan presented an 8-minute film of his achievements. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Elsa /Getty Images
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Eric Heiden

US speed skater Eric Arthur Heiden competing in the speed skating events at the Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, USA, at which he won five gold medals. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

HEIDEN Eric - United States of America

Speed skating/men/500m, Speed skating/men/1000m, Short Track Speed Skating/men/1500m, Speed skating/men/5000m, Speed skating/men/10000m - United States of America 1980 (Winter)


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