She is the reigning German queen of the Olympics. Fischer won eight gold and four silver medals between 1980 and 2004 in canoeing. The champion hails from the former East Germany and might have won even more medals, but she could not participate in the 1984 games in Los Angeles due to a boycott by most of the Eastern Bloc states.
Dressage rider Reiner Klimke earned six gold and two bronze medals in the Olympics. In 1988, he enjoyed a special honor: At the opening of the Olympic Games in Seoul, he led the German team into the stadium as the flag-bearer. After his sporting career, he went into politics, sitting in the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia. In 1999, Klimke died of a heart attack.
In 1988, Kristin Otto of East Germany won four gold medals in the 100 meter backstroke as well as two gold medals in 4x100 meter relays. Her then-trainer and the team doctor were later charged with giving performance-enhancing drugs to athletes. Otto still insists that she never knowingly took drugs. The swimmer now works as a sports journalist for German TV network ZDF.
Show jumping rider Hans Günter Winkler was one of the greatest German sporting idols of the 1950s and 60s. He racked up five gold medals and one bronze between 1956 and 1972. His first medal-winning performance was especially noteworthy: After pulling a muscle at the 13th obstacle, he rode on despite the pain - his horse Halla leading him to victory.
Ulrike Meyfarth was the biggest surprise of the Olympic Games in 1972 in Munich. Then just 16 years old, she set a world record in high jumping at 1.92 meters. She remains the youngest Olympic champion in an individual track and field event. After difficult years in her career, she had a comeback in 1984. She brought home gold again from Los Angeles.
Three gold, two silver, one bronze: Michael Gross is Germany's most successful male Olympic swimmer. In 1984, he won for the 200 meter freestyle and 100 meter butterfly. In 1988, he won the 200 meter butterfly. His imposing 2.13 meter wingspan and 2.01 meter height led to his nickname: the albatross.
Sailor Jochen Schümann won gold for East Germany twice at the Olympics. The first win came in the Finn class in Montral in 1976, and the second came in the Soling class in Seoul in 1988. After German reunification, he brought home further Soling class medals - in Atlanta in 1996 and in Sydney in 2000. He was voted World Sailor of the Year in 1996 - the first German to earn the title.
At Munich in 1972, Heide Ecker-Rosendahl won the first gold medal for West Germany. With her 6.78 meter long jump, she outpaced second-place winner Diana Jorgowa by a mere centimeter. The games in Munich led to other highlights for the multitalented athlete. After her gold in the long jump, she also took the gold medal in the 4x100 meter team event and the silver in pentathlon.
In rowing, Kathrin Boron (left) became a true institution. She won four gold medals and a bronze medal between 1992 and 2008, with wins in both the double sculls and quad sculls categoies. After the Olympics in 2008 in Beijing, she decided to end her career. She now lives in her hometown near Potsdam in Brandenburg.
Runner Dieter Baumann won the silver medal in Seoul in 1988 and followed it up with gold in 1992 in Barcelona - the biggest success of his career. In 1999, he was accused of ingesting the doping agent nandrolone by way of his toothpaste, leading to a suspension until 2002. Baumann continues to argue that he never knowingly took the drug.
Germany's ten most successful Olympic icons