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Eric Heiden

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Eric Arthur Heiden (born June 14, 1958) is an American physician and a former long track speed skater, road cyclist and track cyclist. He won an unprecedented five individual gold medals, and set four Olympic records and one world record at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. Heiden was the most successful athlete at those Olympic Games, single-handedly winning more gold medals than all nations except for the Soviet Union (10) and East Germany (9). He is the most successful Winter Olympian from a single edition of any Winter Olympics. He delivered the Athlete’s Oath at those same 1980 Games. His coach was Dianne Holum.Heiden is an icon in the speed skating community. 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 and the only one to have won a gold medal in all events. He is considered by some to be the best overall speed skater (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. In 2000, a Dutch newspaper called him the greatest skater ever.