1980sEric HeidenKeith JacksonOlympicsOther SportsSpeed SkatingSportscasters & Analysts

Olympics – 1980 Lake Placid – Speed Skating – USA Eric Heiden


Eric Arthur Heiden (born June 14, 1958) is an American former long track speed skater….who won all of the men’s speed skating races….and thus an unprecedented five individual gold medals….setting four Olympic records and one world record at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York, United States.  He was the most successful athlete at those Olympic Games….as he single-handed won more gold medals than all nations except for the Soviet Union (10) and East Germany (9).  Indeed, he is the most successful Winter Olympian from a single edition of any Winter Olympics. He also delivered the Athlete’s Oath at those same 1980 Games.

Heiden is an icon in the speed skating community….especially in Europe where the sport is highly regarded. His victories are significant as few speed skaters (and athletes in general) have won competitions in both sprint and long-distance events.  Heiden is the only athlete in the history of speed skating to have won all five events in a single Olympic tournament….being the only one to have won a gold medal in all events. He is considered by some to be the best overall speedskater (short and long distances) in the sport’s history.  Heiden ranked No. 46 in ESPN’s SportsCentury 50 Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century in 1999….the only speed skater to make the list….and in 2000, a Dutch newspaper called him the greatest skater ever….quite an honor coming from a country where speed skating in the national sport.

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