|Type||Competed in Olympic Games|
|Other names||Gerda Weißensteiner|
|Born||3 January 1969 in Bolzano, Bolzano-Bozen (ITA)|
|Measurements||166 cm / 63 kg|
|Affiliations||G.S. Forestale, Roma (ITA)|
Gerda Weissensteiner was the last of eight children and began sliding on a natural luge track when she was only seven. She quickly established herself in the world class of women’s luge, which was dominated by German athletes. In the course of her career she won 13 races in the World Cup plus 16 second and third places and won the overall World Cup twice (1992-3, 1997-8), She won 11 medals at the World Luge Championships, including two gold (1993 individual and 1989 team), three silvers and six bronzes as well as a World Junior Championship in 1988. She also earned four medals at European Championships with two gold (mixed team and individual, both in 1994), one silver and one bronze. Weissensteiner crowned her career with the Olympic gold at Lillehammer in 1994. A few days after the Olympic victory, she was hit by a tragedy, when her brother died in a car accident. During the funeral a burglar broke into her home stealing the gold medal she had just received. After the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano she retired and began a new career as a youth coach.
In 2001 Weissensteiner returned to the ice but changed sports, becoming the first head of the national women’s bobsled team. Her first brakeman was Antonella Bellutti, already an Olympic cycling champion in 1996, and they competed together at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. From 2003 until her final retirement, she competed with the sprinter Jennifer Isacco, and her her, Weissensteiner won her first bob World Cup race in Calgary and placed third in the overall World Cup standings in 2003 and 2004. At the 2006 European Championships, they placed second. A crowning achievement of Weissensteiner’s second career came with the bronze medal in Torino in 2006, her last official race.
Weissensteiner also established an Italian record with six participations in the Winter Games, a record shared with fellow luger Wilfried Huber. She was Italian flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony of the Nagano Winter Games. In 2006 she was appointed Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. She also was elected as South Tyrolean athlete of the year in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 2005. She later helped train Italy’s young luge talents and acted as a press relations officer for the Italian Luge Federation. A forester by profession Weissensteiner settled in Collepietra in the municipality of Karneid in South Tyrol.
|Games||Discipline (Sport) / Event||NOC / Team||Pos||Medal||As|
|1988 Winter Olympics||Luge||ITA||Gerda Weissensteiner|
|Singles, Women (Olympic)||14|
|1992 Winter Olympics||Luge||ITA||Gerda Weissensteiner|
|Singles, Women (Olympic)||4|
|1994 Winter Olympics||Luge||ITA||Gerda Weissensteiner|
|Singles, Women (Olympic)||1||Gold|
|1998 Winter Olympics||Luge||ITA||Gerda Weissensteiner|
|Singles, Women (Olympic)||9|
|2002 Winter Olympics||Bobsleigh (Bobsleigh)||ITA||Gerda Weissensteiner|
|Two, Women (Olympic)||Antonella Bellutti||7|
|2006 Winter Olympics||Bobsleigh (Bobsleigh)||ITA||Gerda Weissensteiner|
|Two, Women (Olympic)||Jennifer Isacco||3||Bronze|
|1998 Winter Olympics||Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony||ITA||Gerda Weissensteiner|