(born June 14, 1958, Madison, Wis., U.S.) U.S. speed skater. He became the first American to win the world speed-skating championship, and he retained the h1 for three years (1977–79). In the 1980 Winter Olympics he became the first person to win gold medals in all five speed-skating events. He later turned to competitive cycling.
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Heiden is an icon in the speedskating community and, in particular, in Europe where the sport is highly regarded. His victories are significant as few speed skaters (and athletes in general) have won competitions in both sprint and long-distance events. He is considered by some to be the best overall speedskater (short and long distances) in the sport's history. Heiden ranked #46 in ESPN's SportsCentury 50 Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century in 1999, the only speed skater to make the list.
Three times, Heiden broke the world record in the 1,000 metres, twice in the 3,000 metres, and once each in the 1,500 metres and 10,000 metres. He also broke the points world record in both allround and the sprinting distances.
Heiden finished his speed skating career by finishing second behind Hilbert van der Duim at the 1980 World Allround Championships in Heerenveen. Heiden stood at the top place of the Adelskalender for an impressive time period of 1,495 days, and won the Oscar Mathisen Award four times in a row from 1977 until 1980. As of 2006, he still is the only skater who has won the award four times. He received the 1980 James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. In 1983, he was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.
Heiden is believed to hold the unofficial record on one of the local benchmark climbs in Woodside, California: Old la Honda Rd. In 1985, Heiden won the first US Professional Cycling Championship and thus became the American road race champion.
In 1999, Heiden was inducted into the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame.
He has followed in the footsteps of his father, Jack Heiden, a longtime orthopedic surgeon in Madison, Wisconsin. His sister Beth Heiden is also an accomplished speedskater and cross-country skier.
STILL GOLDEN AFTER ALL THESE YEARS ERIC HEIDEN, NOW SURGEON AND FATHER, MOVED ON TO A REWARDING LIFE BEYOND SPEEDSKATING.(FRONT)
Feb 02, 2002; Byline: Adam Mertz The Capital Times Eric Heiden would like to clear up a slight misperception. He never quit speedskating. He...