Speed skater from Germany Pechstein took part in the eighth Olympics at the age of 49
German speed skater Claudia Pechstein will turn 50 at the end of this month. She is already participating in the record-breaking eighth winter games in history.
At the age of 49 years and 348 days, she became the oldest woman to compete in the Winter Olympics at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
During her career, Pechstein became a five-time Olympic champion. She also has two silvers and two bronzes from the Games.
In 2009, Pechstein was found to have doping in her blood and was banned for two years, causing her to miss the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Pechstein herself claimed that she did not take doping and filed an appeal with the Arbitration Sports Court in Lausanne, but it was rejected.
After the end of the disqualification, a number of ISU officials admitted that they had made a mistake. In March 2010, the doctors who conducted a complete medical examination of Pechstein stated that the cause of the abnormal changes in the athlete's blood was a hereditary blood disease – spherocytosis.
During the disqualification, she worked in the police, and also commented on competitions on German television. Later in her autobiography, she wrote that the period of weaning from the sport was very difficult and she wanted to commit suicide. But in 2011 she returned to the ice and continued her sports career.
Last week, she placed 20th in the 3,000 meters at the 2022 Olympics. Gold in this discipline went to the Dutch speed skater Irene Schouten, who also broke Pechstein's 20-year-old Olympic record.
Among men, the oldest participant in the 2022 Olympic Games is Norwegian speed skater Torger Nergård, who turned 47 in December.
However, Nergord is not the record holder in terms of age among the participants of all the Winter Olympics. This record belongs to Swedish curler Karl August Kronlund, who, at the age of 58 years and 155 days, competed in the Chamonix Games in 1924. Then he won silver with the team.