Birgit Fischer

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Birgit Fischer (born February 25, 1962) is a kayaker, who has won eight gold medals over six different Olympic Games, a record she shares with Aladár Gerevich, spanning seven Olympiads: twice representing East Germany (interrupted by the boycott of 1984), then four times representing the reunited nation. After both the 1988 and 2000 games, she announced her retirement, only to return for the subsequent games. She has been both the youngest- and oldest-ever Olympic canoeing champion (ages 18 and 42). In 2004 she was voted German sportswoman of the year.

Fischer was born in Brandenburg an der Havel, then in East Germany. She attended an ASK (army sports club) boarding school in Potsdam, and worked as a sports instructor in the National People's Army, attaining a rank of major by the time of German reunification in 1990. She was married from 1984 to 1993 to canoeist Jörg Schmidt, silver medalist in the C-1 1000 m event at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. She lives with their two children in Brandenburg. In 1999 she stood unsuccessfully as a candidate for the FDP in the European Parliament election. Fischer's niece, Fanny, competed for Germany at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, winning a gold in the K-4 500 m event. Fischer's brother Frank won nine world championship medals between 1981 and 1986.

She also won 38 different ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships medals between 1978 and 2005, including 28 golds. Fischer's career medal count was matched by Hungary's......
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