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Marita Koch

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameMarita•Koch (-Meier)
Used nameMarita•Koch
Born18 February 1957 in Wismar, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (GER)
Measurements171 cm / 62 kg
AffiliationsSC Empor Rostock, Rostock (GER)
NOC East Germany


Marita Koch was one of the greatest ever 400 m runners, setting 16 sprint world records (four outdoors in the 200, and six outdoors in the 400), capped by 47.60 in the 400 that remained the world record thru 2009. In 1978-79, 1982-83 and 1985 she was elected East German Sportswoman of the Year and in 1978-79, and 1982-83 she was Track & Field News’ Athlete of the Year. In 1980 she won Olympic gold in the 400 and a silver in the 4×400, while at the inaugural World Athletics Championships in 1983 in Helsinki, she was the most successful athlete with three golds and one silver medal. Koch also won six titles at the European Championships between 1978 and 1986, and missed further chances at Olympic gold because of the 1984 boycott. In 1979, she became the first female to run 200 metres under 22 seconds, setting a world record of 21.71 at Karl-Marx-Stadt (Chemnitz), a mark that stood until 1988 when FloJo broke it.

Her achievements, along with the extraordinary performances of many other East German female athletes, aroused suspicion about the use of anabolic steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs, but she never tested positive, and denied ever using drugs. Marita Koch later married her coach Wolfgang Meier. In 2014 she was inducted in the International Track and Field Hall of Fame as the first German woman along with Heike Drechsler.

Personal Bests: 100 – 10.83 (1983); 200 – 21.71 (1979); 400 – 47.60 (1985).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1976 Summer Olympics Athletics GDR Marita Koch
400 metres, Women (Olympic) 3 h4 r2/4
4 × 400 metres Relay, Women (Olympic) East Germany DNS
1980 Summer Olympics Athletics GDR Marita Koch
400 metres, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
4 × 400 metres Relay, Women (Olympic) East Germany 2 Silver

Special Notes