Birgit Fischer (Kayaking)
With 12 medals on her pocket, Birgit Fischer is the most bemedalled athlete in the sport of kayaking. She is also the only female athlete to capture medals two decades apart.
Fischer was born on February 25, 1962 in Brandenburg an der Havel, (in then) East Germany. After Fischer graduated from her army sports boarding school, ASK, she was heralded as the youngest champion in the sports of kayaking in the Olympics. She was just 20 years of age when she won the gold medal in the K1 500m event in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, a feat that served as a springboard to a successful career later on.
Fischer is an immovable force in the sport as she piled up series of victories in the World Championships from 1981 to 1983 and in the Olympics. However, she did not compete in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics because of her country’s boycott.
Although Fischer absorbed a stinging defeat in the singles event final in 1998 Seoul Olympiad, she bounced back strong to capture a couple of gold medals in the pairs and fours. Four years later she won the gold in the singles and silver in the fours in the Barcelona Olympics.
Fischer was at her devastating form in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as she won gold in the fours and silver in the pairs. She netted two gold medals in the pairs and fours in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
In the 2004 Athens Olympics, Fischer came out of retirement to make her last hurrah at the Games. She was 42 years of age when she took the gold in the K-4 500m fours and silver in the K-2 500m pairs.
Fischer later took up a career in photography and she is one of the members of the Art of the Olympians.
- Kayaking at the Olympics
- See also Gert Fredriksson — the most successful athlete of all-time in Olympic canoeing
- East Germany at the Olympics
- Sport in Germany