Claudia Maria Poll Ahrens
is an Olympic gold-medalist and National Record
holding swimmer from Costa Rica
. To date (2009), she is Costa Rica's
only gold-medalist, having won the country first gold (and second) Olympic medal at the 1996 Olympics
in the 200 meter freestyle. Her sister, Silvia
, won Costa Rica's first Olympic medal at the 1988 Games
. Also as of 2009, Claudia and Silvia are the only Costa Ricans to have won a medal at an Olympics. Claudia also competed at the 2000 Olympics
, where she won 2 bronze medals.Moreover, she was the first person from Central America to win a gold medal, and the only until the 2008 Olympic Games
when Panama won a gold medal.
Claudia Poll began swimming in 1979 under coach Francisco Rivas and quickly became one of the best in Central America, winning many regional titles.
At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics
she won the gold medal in the 200 m freestyle event. The win was the first gold medal for Costa Rica in the Summer Olympic Games. It was a surprising win because she beat the favorite German Franziska van Almsick
. Dagmar Hase
, also from Germany, won the bronze.
In 1997, she was named by Swimming World Magazine
as the Female Swimmer of the Year.
At the Sydney 2000
, Poll continued with her medal run and won 2 bronze medals. In Athens 2004
, she just missed out on the 400 m... Read More