Helga Haase became the first female Olympic speed skating champion, by winning the 500 m in Squaw Valley 1960. She was skating without the help of her trainer Helmut Haase, who was also her husband, because he had been denied a visum, along with several other East German trainers and all of the country's journalists. Haase initially was a handball player, but by coincidence, she came into contact with speed skating in East Berlin. She married her coach in May 1955.
Initially training with the Soviet skaters, she was refused when she became a threat to them. The GDR government allowed the Haases to move to the Swedish town of Kiruna, where they could train. This paid off at the 1960 Olympics, where Haase also took home a gold and a silver medal. Apart from these successes, her only other international podium came at the 1962 World Allround Championships, where she medalled in the 500 m and 1000 m. She dominated German Championships between, winning seven out of eight available allround titles between 1957 and 1967, and 23 distance titles in the same period. In addition, Haase won also four allround titles on the indoor track. Working in administrative jobs at the police and the Dynamo sports club, Haase became disabled in 1984.
Personal Bests: 500 – 45.9 (1960); 1000 – 1:34.3 (1960); 1500 – 2:28.6 (1964); 3000 – 5:19.7 (1964).
Athlete Olympic Results Content
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