Franziska van Almsick

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 4
Bronze 6
Total 10
RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
SexFemale
Full nameFranziska•van Almsick
Used nameFranziska•van Almsick
Born5 April 1978 in Ost-Berlin (East Berlin), Berlin (GER)
Measurements181 cm / 66 kg
AffiliationsSG Neukölln, Berlin (GER)
NOC Germany

Biography

Franziska van Almsick was one of the greatest European female swimmers ever. Between 1992-2004 she won 10 Olympic medals as a freestyler, although she never won a gold medal. Her medals, all for Germany, came in the 100 and 200 free, and relay events. As of 2020, van Almsick is the only Olympian who has won 10 medals (four silver and six bronze) but never won a gold medal.

Van Almsick was world champion in the 100 metres free in 1994, and in total won two gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the World Championships. However, her greatest successes came at the Europeans where, in both 1993 and 1995, she won six gold medals at each meet. Her golds in 1993 were in the sprint freestyle events (50, 100, 200) and the three relays, while in 1995 she increased her distance a bit, winning over 100, 200, and 400 freestyle, and again anchoring all three German relay teams to victory. In total, she won 18 gold medals and three silver medals at Europeans.

Van Almsick’s beauty and swim prowess brought her great fame in Germany and enabled her to become quite wealthy via endorsements. In 1993, 1995, and 2002, Van Almsick was named Sportswoman of the Year in Germany, and from 1992-95 was German Swimmer of the Year. In 1993-94, and 2002, she was also elected European Female Swimmer of the Year, and in 1993 Female World Swimmer of the Year. Van Almsick received the German Media Prize Bambi in 1992 and 2002, and was elected European Sportswoman of the Year in 1993. In 1992 and 2005, she was awarded the Silver Bay Leaf, Germany’s highest sports award.

After her retirement Van Almsick worked with German TV channels ARD and RTL covering major swimming and Formula One events. From 2008, she worked with the Deutsche Sporthilfe. Van Almsick also started her own foundation to help children learn to swim.

During her sports career, Van Almsick occasionally posed as a swimming model. Her relationships with teammate Steffen Zesner, which led to a legal battle with the German yellow press, and handball player Stefan Kretzschmar were focused in the yellow press in Germany, as was the relationship with her later life partner, entrepreneur Jürgen B. Harder. Van Almsick raised two sons with Harder. In 2004 her autobiography “Aufgetaucht” (Coming Up) was published.

Personal Bests: 50 freestyle – 25.40 (1994); 100 freestyle – 54.39 (2002); 200 freestyle – 1:56.64 (2002); 100 butterfly – 59.15 (2002); 200 butterfly – 2:10.58 (2000).

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1992 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GER Franziska van Almsick
50 metres Freestyle, Women (Olympic) 16
100 metres Freestyle, Women (Olympic) 3 Bronze
200 metres Freestyle, Women (Olympic) 2 Silver
4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay, Women (Olympic) Germany 3 Bronze
100 metres Butterfly, Women (Olympic) 7
4 × 100 metres Medley Relay, Women (Olympic) Germany 2 Silver
1996 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GER Franziska van Almsick
100 metres Freestyle, Women (Olympic) 5
200 metres Freestyle, Women (Olympic) 2 Silver
4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay, Women (Olympic) Germany 3 Bronze
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Women (Olympic) Germany 2 Silver
4 × 100 metres Medley Relay, Women (Olympic) Germany 6
2000 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GER Franziska van Almsick
200 metres Freestyle, Women (Olympic) 11
4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay, Women (Olympic) Germany 4
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Women (Olympic) Germany 3 Bronze
100 metres Butterfly, Women (Olympic) 17
200 metres Butterfly, Women (Olympic) 28
4 × 100 metres Medley Relay, Women (Olympic) Germany 4
2004 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GER Franziska van Almsick
100 metres Freestyle, Women (Olympic) 17
200 metres Freestyle, Women (Olympic) 5
4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay, Women (Olympic) Germany 4
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Women (Olympic) Germany 3 Bronze
100 metres Butterfly, Women (Olympic) 17
4 × 100 metres Medley Relay, Women (Olympic) Germany 3 Bronze

Special Notes