|Full name||Michael William Gebhardt|
November 25, 1965 (age 52)|
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Michael William "Gebi" Gebhardt (born November 25, 1965) is a former professional and olympic windsurfer from the United States, who competed in five consecutive Summer Olympics, in the Olympic sailing discipline/event of windsurfing. He was born in Columbus, Ohio.
In the summer of 1981, at the age of 15, Gebhardt learned to windsurf in his back yard in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Living right on the water, Gebi spent most of his adolescent days waterbound; swimming, waterskiing, freediving, fishing, surfing, sailing hobie beach cats and weekend cruising on his dad's 50 foot all wooden schooner. When Gebi's younger brother sailed home on a windsurfer, Gebhardt knew he had found the perfect wind and wave powered sport to take his love of the ocean to the next level.
His Olympic career started in 1984, with the 17-year-old grom windsurfer finishing 3rd in the 1984 L.A. US Olympic Trials; where only the winner, Scott Steele earned the right to represent the US in the first ever Olympic Windsurfing medal Event, which was now part of Olympic yachting for the first time in Olympic history. Gebhardt was invited to be Scott Steele's- (1984 Olympic Windsurfing Silver medalist); training partner and was instrumental in Scott winning the US's first Olympic Windsurfing Medal. In Los Angeles, Stephan Van Den Berg of the Netherlands won the gold medal and Bruce Kendall of New Zealand won the bronze medal.
"Gebi" as he is known to friends, competed in the 1984 Olympic Exhibition Windsurfing Event, which ran alongside the first ever Olympic windsurfing medal event. Gebhardt finished 5th in the Olympic Exhibition event which showcased windsurfing's other disciplines besides course racing; including slalom, long distance racing and longboard freestyle on the original windsurfer brand board.
At the 1988 US Olympic Trails, Gebhardt won the right to represent the USA and in the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, in a very high wind regatta, Gebhardt survived the storm and claimed his first Olympic Medal, a Bronze Medal. After the 1988 Olympics Gebhardt turned Pro, and joined the PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association) and started making a living as a full time professional athlete.
In Gebhardt's third Olympics, the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics, winning the regatta going into the last race, Gebi ended up losing the Gold Medal by .4 of a point, to reigning World Champion Frank David of France, ultimately winning his second Olympic Medal, a Silver Medal.
Gebhardt competed in two more Olympics, the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics finishing 6th as well as his last Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia's 2000 Summer Olympics, where he finished 11th.
Gebhardt competing in over 310 competitions in over 55 countries worldwide, amassed 6 World Championship Titles, 23 National Championship Titles and won over 200 events in racing, slalom and freestyle and holds the World Record for crossing from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Bimini Island in the bahamas covering over 60 mile of open ocean in 3 and a half hours while kiteboarding with team mate Kent Marincovich.
After retiring from his 5th Olympics in 2000, Gebi started his coaching career and coached Olympic Gold Medalist Gal Fridman, to Israel's only Olympic Gold Medal which was won in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Currently Gebhardt coached aspiring pro and olympic kitesurfers and is noted for coaching multiple world champions in racing in windsurfing and kitesurfing and including sailing's Outright World Speed Record Holder, Robbie Douglas as well.
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Mike Gebhardt". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC.
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