Martina Hellmann

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Martina Hellmann
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1987-0820-045, Martina Hellmann.jpg
Martina Hellmann in 1987
Personal information
Birth nameMartina Helga Opitz
Born (1960-12-12) 12 December 1960 (age 60)
Leipzig, East Germany
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight85 kg (187 lb)
  • East Germany (1983–1990)
  • Germany (1991–1992)
Sport Athletics
Event(s) Discus throw
ClubSC DHfK Leipzig
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)72.92 m (1987)

Martina Helga Hellmann (née Opitz, born 12 December 1960 [1] ) is a retired German track and field athlete who represented East Germany. She was the Olympic champion in the discus throw at the 1988 Summer Olympics. She also won the World Championship in that event in 1983 and again in 1987.


Born in Leipzig, Saxony, Hellmann was sixteen years old when she began participating in the event. In 1977 she gave the participants' oath at the opening of the East German gymnastics and sport festival. That summer she set the world record for 16-year-olds with a throw of 55.00 meters. Her career was plagued by sickness and injury until 1983 when she became the surprise world champion. She was unable to compete at the 1984 summer Olympic games due to her country's boycott.

On 6 September 1988 she threw the discus 78.14 metres, farther than any woman had ever thrown it before or after. However, this throw was in an unofficial tournament in the East German training camp at Kienbaum set up to decide the final GDR place for the Olympic games in Seoul and was not eligible to be considered a world record. During this session she threw the following distances, two of them exceeding the world record at the time, and two more that were ever exceeded by only one female thrower: 76.92m – 78.14m – 70.52m – 76.56m – 75.66m – 74.04m (the women's world record, set in July 1988, is 76.80 m). Ilke Wyludda threw a lifetime best 75.36 m, but had to stay home. [2] Five of Hellmann's throws during that competition were better than her official best of 72.92 metres, achieved in August 1987 in Potsdam, and which ranks her ninth on the world all-time list [3] and sixth among German discus throwers, behind Gabriele Reinsch, Ilke Wyludda, Diana Gansky-Sachse, Irina Meszynski and Gisela Beyer. [4]

After the 1992 Summer Olympics, where she was eliminated during qualification, she retired. She later was the head of a sports group of the insurance company AOK and became a manager at a cabaret in Leipzig.

Hellmann represented the SC DHfK Leipzig sport club and trained with Rolf Wittenbecher and Bernhard Thomas. During her active career she was 1.78 meters tall and weighed 85 kilograms.

Evidence of doping

There is substantial evidence that nearly all East German Olympic track and field athletes in the 1980s, including Hellman, used steroids to enhance athletic performance as part of a state-sponsored program. [5]

International competitions

Representing Flag of East Germany.svg  East Germany
1983 World Championships Helsinki, Finland1st68.94 m
1985 World Cup Canberra, Australia1st69.78 m
1986 Goodwill Games Moscow, Soviet Union2nd69.04 m
European Championships Stuttgart, West Germany 3rd68.26 m
1987 World Championships Rome, Italy1st71.62 m (current CR )
1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea1st72.30 m (current OR)
1990 European Championships Split, FR Yugoslavia 3rd66.66 m
Representing Flag of Germany.svg  Germany
1991 World Championships Tokyo, Japan4th67.14 m
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain14th (q)60.52 m

Related Research Articles

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Diana Gansky

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  2. Norm Zijlstra, Women's discus | World Championships Preview 2013
  3. "Discus Throw - women - senior - outdoor".
  4. Microsoft Word – Ewige DLV-Bestenliste.doc Archived 4 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. Fisher, Marc (7 September 1991). "East German Doping Detailed in Documents : Steroids: Widespread program included seven Olympic gold medalists. Drug efficiency tested on children in sports camps". Los Angeles Times.