Waldemar Cierpinski

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Waldemar Cierpinski
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-W0801-0126, Moskau, XXII. Olympiade, Waldemar Cierpinski.jpg
Medal record
Men's Athletics
Competitor for  East Germany
Olympic Games
Gold 1976 Montreal Marathon
Gold 1980 Moscow Marathon
World Championships
Bronze 1983 Helsinki Marathon

Waldemar Cierpinski (born 3 August 1950) is a former East German athlete and two time Olympic Champion in the marathon. He lives in Halle an der Saale.

Career[edit]

Born in Neugattersleben (Saxony-Anhalt, former East Germany), Waldemar Cierpinski was originally a successful steeplechase runner but decided to switch to the marathon in 1974.

He was virtually unknown when he entered the 1976 Olympic marathon. He ran with the lead pack until Frank Shorter of the United States broke free after the 25 km mark. Cierpinski chased Shorter down then took the lead, winning the race by 51 seconds.

Cierpinski's victory was so unexpected that eventual East German gold medalist goalie Jürgen Croy rallied his football team by using him as an example, saying that if this "living example of mediocrity" could win a gold medal then they should be able to beat Poland (by a 3 to 1 score.)[1]

Cierpinski finished in fourth place at the 1978 European Championships. When the United States boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics, Cierpinski ran wisely and didn't match the suicidal pace the leaders had set. He caught up to the leaders at the 36 km mark and soon led by a healthy margin. Although Gerard Nijboer from the Netherlands narrowed the gap in the last kilometre, Cierpinski sprinted the last 200 m to win his second consecutive Olympic gold medal and duplicate the feat of legendary Ethiopian Abebe Bikila of winning two straight Olympic marathons.

Cierpinski finished third in the marathon in the 1983 World Championships in Athletics. He was denied a chance of an unprecedented third Olympic marathon win by the Eastern Bloc boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, which was Tit for tat for the United States boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

In Track & Field News World Rankings, Cierpinski was ranked first in the marathon in 1976 and 1980 and eighth in 1978 and 1983.

Waldemar Cierpinski is now a member of the German Olympic Committee. Since 2007 Cierpinski has been an honorary member of the SG WiP Goettingen 06.[2]

Drug allegations[edit]

It is now well known that East Germany operated a state-sponsored system of providing performance-enhancing drugs to as many as 10,000 athletes from about 1968 to 1988. Cierpinski was implicated by East German track and field research files uncovered by Werner Franke at the Stasi headquarters in Leipzig in the late 1990s.[3]

As a result, 1976 silver medallist Frank Shorter has advocated the belief that Cierpinski cheated and has supported official review of past performances, i.e. considering stripping medals from athletes who are found later on to have cheated, as a deterrent to drug-cheats.[4] Fourth-place finisher Don Kardong has also written that he believed Cierpinski was involved in the East German doping program.[5] Shorter's allegations are very similar to those of Shirley Babashoff, who accused the East German women of drug cheating during the swimming events in the same Olympic Games.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vikramdeep Johal, ''The Tribune Online'', September 4, 2004". Tribuneindia.com. 
  2. ^ "SG WiP Goettingen 06". Sgwip.de. 
  3. ^ By Gare JoyceSpecial to Page 2 (Archive) (25 August 2008). "Joyce: Marathon fraud - ESPN Page 2". Sports.espn.go.com. 
  4. ^ OLYMPICS; U.S. Seeks Redress for 1976 Doping In Olympics, By JERE LONGMAN, New York Times, Published: 25 October 1998
  5. ^ Kardong, Don (2003). "Shorter, Rodgers, and Who?". In Kislevitz, Gail Waesche. The Spirit of the Marathon: What to Expect in Your First Marathon and How to Run Them the Rest of Your Life. Halcottsville, New York: Breakaway Books. pp. 197–203. ISBN 978-1-891369-36-0. 

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
East Germany Roland Matthes
East German Sportsman of the Year
1976
Succeeded by
East Germany Rolf Beilschmidt
Preceded by
East Germany Bernd Drogan
East German Sportsman of the Year
1980
Succeeded by
East Germany Lothar Thoms
Sporting positions
Preceded by
United States Bill Rodgers
Men's Fastest Marathon Race
1976
Succeeded by
United States Bill Rodgers