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Eric Heiden

AKA Eric Arthur Heiden

Born: 15-Jun-1958
Birthplace: Madison, WI

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Speed Skating

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Olympic speed skater, 5 gold medals

Eric Heiden won gold medals in all five speed skating competitions at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY -- 500 meters, 1,000 meters, 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters, and 10,000 meters. Generally, at the Olympic level, skaters hone their skills for either the short races or for the long races, but nobody before or since has even won all five events. In fact, Heiden was one of only two men competing in all five events that year. In total he beat 144 competitors in the five events.

As a boy, Heiden played soccer and hockey, then decided at 14 he'd be a speed skater. He trained five hours a day, winter or summer. When there was no ice, he practiced in his basement, in stocking feet, "skating" on a six-foot wide plastic sheet. His sister Beth was also a speed skater, winning a bronze medal in the women's 3,000 meter race in the same Olympics.

Like many speed skaters, Heiden trained as a cyclist in the off-season to stay in shape, to further success. He was an alternate on the U.S. Olympic cycling team in 1980, won the 1985 U.S. professional cycling championship, and was a member of the first U.S team to compete in the Tour de France, in 1986. At the 2002 Olympics, Heiden was asked to carry the torch into the stadium for the opening ceremony, but declined when he learned he was expected to hand it to a member of the 1980 gold medal U.S. Olympic hockey team, who would then light the flame for the Games. Several sports commentators suggested that this indicates Heiden's a conceited prick. Others argue that the orgy of attention for the hockey team effectively screwed Heiden's out of the fame he deserves. The United States, after all, won only six gold medals at the 1980 Winter Olympics -- the hockey team won one, and Heiden won the other five.

After the Olympics, Heiden did a few endorsements and used the proceeds to pay his medical school tuition at Stanford. He became an orthopedic surgeon, and he is now an Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of California at Davis. He was the team doctor for the U.S. ice skating team at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Sister: Beth Heiden (speed skater, 1980 bronze medalist)
Wife: Karen Drews
Daughter: Zoe Heiden (b. Jul-2001)

    University: University of Wisconsin at Madison
    Medical School: MD, Stanford University

    Sullivan Award 1980
    Olympic Gold Medal 1980, Men's 500m speed skating
    Olympic Gold Medal 1980, Men's 1000m speed skating
    Olympic Gold Medal 1980, Men's 1500m speed skating
    Olympic Gold Medal 1980, Men's 5000m speed skating
    Olympic Gold Medal 1980, Men's 10000m speed skating
    US Olympic Hall of Fame 1983

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