Martina Hellmann

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Martina Hellmann on 11/08/1985 in Leipzig

Martina Hellmann, née Opitz (born 12 December 1960 in Leipzig, Saxony), is a retired German track and field athlete who represented East Germany. She was the Olympic champion in the discus throw at the 1988 Summer Olympics. She also won the World Championship in that event in 1983 and again in 1987.

Hellmann was sixteen years old when she began participating in the event. In 1977 she gave the participants' oath at the opening of the East German gymnastics and sport festival. That summer she set the world record for 16-year-olds with a throw of 55.00 meters. Her career was plagued by sickness and injury until 1983 when she became the surprise world champion. She was unable to compete at the 1984 summer Olympic games due to her country's boycott.

Hellmann at Potsdam, August 20, 1987.

On 6 September 1988 she threw the discus 78.14 meters, further than anybody had ever thrown it before or after. However, this throw was in an unofficial tournament in the East German training camp at Kienbaum set up to decide the final GDR place for the Olympic games in Seoul and was not eligible to be considered a world record. During this session she threw the following incredible distances: 76.92m - 78.14m - 70.52m - 76.56m - 75.66m - 74.04m. Ilke Wyludda threw a life-time best 75.36 m, but had to stay home.[1] Five of Hellmann's throws were better than her official best of 72.92 metres, achieved in August 1987 in Potsdam. This result only ranks her tenth on the world all-time list[2] and sixth among German discus throwers, behind Gabriele Reinsch, Ilke Wyludda, Diana Gansky-Sachse, Irina Meszynski and Gisela Beyer.[3]

After the 1992 Summer Olympics, where she was eliminated during qualification, she retired. She later was the head of a sports group of the insurance company AOK and became a manager at a cabaret in Leipzig.

Hellmann represented the SC DHfK Leipzig sport club and trained with Rolf Wittenbecher and Bernhard Thomas. During her active career she was 1.78 meters tall and weighed 81 kilograms.


Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing  East Germany
1983 World Championships Helsinki, Finland 1st 68.94 m
1986 European Championships Stuttgart, West Germany 3rd 68.26 m
1987 World Championships Rome, Italy 1st 71.62 m
(current Championship Record)
1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea 1st 72.30 m
(current Olympic record)
1990 European Championships Split, FR Yugoslavia 3rd 66.66 m