American speed skater
who won a record 5 individual gold medal
s in the 1980 Winter Olympics
in Lake Placid
, New York
Heiden (DOB: 6/14/1958 in Madison, Wisconsin) won gold in the 500 meter, 5000 meter, 1000 meter, 1500 meter, and 10000 meter races (in that order), setting Olympics records in all 5 events and a world record in the latter. His sister Beth won a bronze in the 3000 meters race at the same Olympics.
In historical context, Heiden's Olympic feats were overshadowed by the American men's hockey team's Miracle on Ice. However, the hockey team won one gold; Heiden won five. Only the Soviet Union (10) and East Germany (9) had more golds as nations than Heiden did alone (The United States' tally was only the 6 compiled by the hockey team and Heiden).
Heiden retired from speed skating after finishing second in the 1980 World Championships.
Still in search of competition, Heiden became a professional cyclist and even won the 1985 U.S. cycling championship and competed in the 1986 Tour de France.
Dr. Eric Heiden is currently a well-regarded orthopedic surgeon.
In 1999, ESPN's SportsCentury listed Heiden as #46 on their list of the 100 greatest North American athletes of the 20th century.