Karin Enke-Kania

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Other
Full nameKarin•Enke-Kania (-Busch-, -Richter)
Used nameKarin•Enke-Kania
Born20 June 1961 in Dresden, Sachsen (GER)
Measurements180 cm / 72 kg
AffiliationsSC Einheit Dresden, Dresden (GER)
NOC East Germany
Medals OG
Gold 3
Silver 4
Bronze 1
Total 8


East Germany’s Karin Enke was initially a leading figure skater, but later became a champion speed skater and is one of the very few athletes to have reached world class in both disciplines. As she felt that the chances for improvement on her ninth place at the 1977 European Figure Skating Championships were limited, she turned to speed skating and became one of the most successful speed skaters in history.

At three Olympics between 1980 and 1988, she won eight medals (three gold, four silver and one bronze), which remains an Olympic record for speed skating as of 2018, although since equalled by Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann. Her record at World Championships was even more impressive. She won the sprint title a record six times (1980-81, 1983-84, 1986-87) and her five victories in the all-round event were also a record for the Championships. She emulated the great Eric Heiden by winning the sprint/allround double in 1984, 1986, and 1987, only missing the 1985 Championships because of pregnancy.

Enke also bettered a total of 16 world records, most notably in the 1,500 m. Her 1:59.30, skated at the high altitude rink at Medeo in present-day Kazakhstan was 3 seconds better than her own former world record, and the first woman to finish in less than 2 minutes. The record stood for 10 years, when it was broken by Catriona Le May Doan, with help of the clap skate. Her first world record was set in December 1980 in the mini-combination at Chemnitz, Germany. During her career she set world records in the 500 once, the 1,000 twice, the 1,500 three times, and once each in the 3,000 and 5,000 metres. She also set five world records in the mini-combination, two in the small-combination and one in the sprint combination. Enke also recorded 37 national records in the GDR between 1979 and 1987.

At GDR national championships, she won a total of 17 titles, at least one in each of the events: allround (1982-83), sprint (1984, 1986), 500 m (1981, 1987), 1,000 m (1980, 1983-84, 1986, 1988), 1,500 m (1983-84, 1988), 3,000 m (1983) and 5,000 m (1983).

After marriage, she competed both as Karin Busch and later as Karin Kania. Since successfully completing her studies in educational science at the Technical University of Dresden in July 2009, she has been a qualified pedagogue, and worked as managing director of Gesop gGmbH.

Personal Bests: 500 – 39.24 (1988); 1000 – 1:17.70 (1988); 1500 – 1:59.30 (1986); 3000 – 4:17.76 (1988); 5000 – 7:39.82 (1986).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1980 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) GDR Karin Enke
500 metres, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
1,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 4
1984 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) GDR Karin Enke
500 metres, Women (Olympic) 2 Silver
1,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
1,500 metres, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
3,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 2 Silver
1988 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) GDR Karin Kania
500 metres, Women (Olympic) 3 Bronze
1,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 2 Silver
1,500 metres, Women (Olympic) 2 Silver
3,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 4

Olympic Records

Records may have been broken subsequently during the same competition.
Games Date Sport Event Phase Mark Pos
1980 Winter Olympics 15 February 1980 Speed Skating (Skating) 500 metres, Women Final Standings 41.78 1
1984 Winter Olympics 9 February 1984 Speed Skating (Skating) 1,500 metres, Women Final Standings 2:03.42 WR 1
1984 Winter Olympics 13 February 1984 Speed Skating (Skating) 1,000 metres, Women Final Standings 1:21.61 1
1988 Winter Olympics 26 February 1988 Speed Skating (Skating) 1,000 metres, Women Final Standings 1:17.70 WR 2
1988 Winter Olympics 27 February 1988 Speed Skating (Skating) 1,500 metres, Women Final Standings 2:00.82 2

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1984 Winter Olympics Flagbearer at the Closing Ceremony GDR Karin Enke

Special Notes