German kayaker Birgit Fischer is one of only a handful of athletes who have competed in at least six Olympic Games. Of those handful, she was the most bemedalled, winning eight gold medals and four silver medals in an Olympic career that began when she was only 18 years old. She could have upped her record to seven Games and more medals if it weren’t for East Germany’s decision to join the Soviet-led boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Fischer first joined the Games in 1980 in Moscow, where she bagged a gold medal in the K1 500m event. After waiting for eight years, Fischer bounced back on the Olympic scene with two golds and one silver in the Seoul Games. She initially retired afterwards, but changed her mind later on and won a gold and a silver in Barcelona, this time as an athlete of unified Germany. Another gold and silver would come in Atlanta in 1996, giving her five golds and three silvers overall.
Fischer claimed two more golds in Sydney, after which she again announced her retirement. But she came back to compete in her last Olympics in Athens, where she wrapped up her illustrious Olympic career by adding one more gold and one more silver to her collection.
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