Eric Arthur Heiden



Olympic medalist


Eric Arthur Heiden (born June 14, 1958 in Madison, Wisconsin) is an American former speed skater who won all the men's speed skating races, and thus an unprecedented five gold medals, 4 olympic records and 1 world record at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York, United States. He received the 1980 James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States.

Heiden is an icon in the speedskating community and, in particular, in Europe where the sport is highly regarded. His victories are significant as few speed skaters (and athletes in general) have won competitions in both sprint and long-distance events.

Beth Heiden, Eric's sister, won a bronze medal at the 1980 games as well, giving the Heiden family exactly half of the medals won by the United States at those games.

During his short speed skating career, Heiden also won 3 World Allround Championships and 4 World Sprint Championships. He three times broke the 1,000 metres world record, twice in the 3,000 metres, and once each in the 1,500 metres and 10,000 metres, and he broke the points world record in both allround and the sprinting distances. Heiden finished his speed skating career by finishing second behind Hilbert van der Duim at the 1980 World Allround Championships in Heerenveen. Heiden stood at the top place of the Adelskalender for an impressive time period of 1,495 days, and won the Oscar Mathisen Award four times in a row from 1977 until 1980. As of 2006, he still is the only skater who has won the award four times.