Kristin Otto

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameKristin•Otto
Used nameKristin•Otto
Born7 February 1966 in Leipzig, Sachsen (GER)
Measurements185 cm / 70 kg
AffiliationsSC DHfK, Leipzig (GER)
NOC East Germany
Medals OG
Gold 6
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 6


Kristin Otto, of the German Democratic Republic, won six gold medals at one Olympic Games (1988) to set a women’s record for any sport at the Olympics. In Seoul, Otto uniquely won gold medals in three different strokes, freestyle, backstroke, and butterfly, and her overall performance at in 1988 ranks as one of history’s greatest sporting achievements. Her gold medals came in the 50 and 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke, and 100 butterfly, as well as in both relays.

At the 1987 European Championships, Otto had won five of the same six events, missing only the 50, in which she did not compete. At the World Championships in 1982 and 1986, she won seven gold medals. Otto set two individual world records, and contributed to four relay world records during her career. Due to the Soviet-led boycott of the 1984 Olympics, she could not participate in Los Angeles.

After German re-unification it became known that Otto was given doping substances as a part of the state prescribed doping program. She was stripped of her title as 1988 European Swimmer of the Year due to her doping history, which was the same punishment for other East German swimmers. In 2013, the US journal “Swimming World” dismissed her for the 1984, 1986 and 1988 awards as “World Swimmer of the Year” because of the systematic doping in GDR swimming. Otto always denied having taken any doping substances.

Nevertheless, Otto was name Sportswoman of the Year in 1988 and 1989 in the former GDR, and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1993. Otto later studied sports journalism at the university of Leipzig, and then had several opportunities at different German radio and TV channels until establishing herself at German TV channel ZDF. In the years 2001-06 she presented Germany’s Athlete of the Year award. In January 2018, she was appointed deputy head of the ZDF sports report editorial team.

Personal Bests: 50 freestyle – 25.49 (1988); 100 freestyle – 54.93 (1994); 100 backstroke – 1:00.89 (1988); 100 butterfly – 59.00 (1988).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1988 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GDR Kristin Otto
50 metres Freestyle, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
100 metres Freestyle, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay, Women (Olympic) East Germany 1 Gold
100 metres Backstroke, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
100 metres Butterfly, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
4 × 100 metres Medley Relay, Women (Olympic) East Germany 1 Gold

Special Notes