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Eric Heiden

Eric Heiden
Heiden at the 2006 Winter Olympics
NameEric Heiden
CaptionHeiden at the 2006 Winter Olympics
SportSpeed skating
Birth DateJune 14, 1958(age 58)
Birth PlaceMadison, Wisconsin
Height1.84 m (6 ft 0.5 in)
Weight86 kg (189.6 lb ; 13.5 st)

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Eric Arthur Heiden, M.D. (born June 14, 1958 in Madison, Wisconsin) is an American former long track speed skater and road cyclist who won all the men's speed skating races, and thus an unprecedented five individual gold medals, and set four Olympic records and one world record at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York, United States. He was the most successful athlete at the same Games, and is indeed, the most successful Winter Olympian from a single edition of Winter Olympics. He also delivered the Athlete's Oath at those same games.

Heiden is an icon in the speed skating 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. Heiden is the only athlete in the history of speed skating to have won all five events in a single Olympic tournament and the only one to have won a gold medal in all events. He is considered by some to be the best overall speedskater (short and long distances) in the sport's history. Heiden ranked No. 46 in ESPN's SportsCentury 50 Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century in 1999, the only speed skater to make the list; in 2000, a Dutch newspaper called him the greatest skater ever.

His sister, Beth Heiden, is also an accomplished cyclist, speedskater and cross-country skier. In Heiden's hometown of Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin (a suburb of Madison), Eric and his sister Beth were the driving forces behind the creation of the "Heiden Haus", a small outpost where local children can warm up after skating or playing hockey on the ice rink (complete with underground clay platform).

After his sports career, Heiden became a physician, and as of 2011 is a practicing orthopedic surgeon in the Salt Lake City, Utah, area.

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