BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Athletics: European Athletics  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Statistics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

Friday, 2 August, 2002, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Drechsler keeps on jumping
Heike Drechsler
Drechsler is chasing a record fifth long jump gold
Even if Heike Drechsler stopped competing tomorrow, her status as a long jump legend has long been secured.

With eight gold medals at major championships since 1983, the German veteran has been at the very top of her sport for almost two decades.

Her career has brought her two Olympic golds, two World Championship titles, and four European golds - so far - but Drechsler has no plans to quit yet.

The 37-year-old's target is a record fifth European long jump title in Munich.

  Drechsler factfile
Born: 16/12/64
Place of birth:
Gera, Germany
Height: 1.81m
Weight: 70kg

Drechsler has won gold at every European Championships since in 1986, when she represented East Germany.

And she has jumped consistently over seven metres since her first major triumph, the Helsinki World Championships of 1983.

Her 7.63m leap at high altitude at Sestriere in 1992 was the first 25-foot jump by a woman. Only a wind just over the legal limit kept it out of the record books.

But it is not only jumping where Drechsler excels - she was a sprinter of some repute too.

She equalled Marita Koch's 200m world record of 21.56 seconds in 1986 - a time that has only since been eclipsed by Florence Griffith-Joyner.

Heike Drechsler
Drechsler has won every major honour

The same year Drechsler took European gold over the same distance at Stuttgart, then silver at Helsinki four years on.

She was also a double bronze medallist in the 100m and 200m at the Seoul Olympics of 1988.

Only a recognition of the need to concentrate on her jumping stopped her from continuing on the track.

Her longevity in the international arena is proof that that strategy was successful.

But despite her consistent success, it has not been all plain sailing during Drechsler's career.

Injuries have often hampered her in major events - and kept her out of the 1996 Olympics and the 1999 and 2001 World Championships altogether.

And recent revelations of a systematic doping programme in East Germany cast a shadow over her achievements in the early part of her career.

  Drechsler's European Championships record
1986 Stuttgart:
Gold: long jump - 7.27m
Gold: 200m - 21.71secs
1990 Split:
Gold: long jump - 7.30m
Silver: 200m - 22.19secs
1994 Helsinki:
Gold: long jump - 7.14m
1998 Budapest:
Gold: long jump - 7.16m

Drechsler admitted in 2001 that in the 1980s she unknowingly took performance-enhancing drugs on the orders of team doctors.

She also faced false allegations she was an informer to the East German Secret Police during the same period.

But through it all, she has continued to do what she does best - jump.

Another European title - this time on home soil - has been a long term goal.

But whether she is successful or not, she will not be bowing out.

"I am not the youngest anymore but the long jump is such fun for me," she has said.

"Why should I stop if I have so much fun and my body still works and functions."

A final fling at the 2003 World Championships is her aim.


All the action

Round-up

Our Man in Munich

Photo gallery

Have your say

Internet link
Links to more European Athletics stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more European Athletics stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales