Hannelore Anke (GDR)
Honor Swimmer (1990)
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1976 gold (100m breaststroke, relay); WORLD RECORDS: 2 (100m breaststroke, relay); EUROPEAN RECORDS: 3 (100m, 200m breaststroke); WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1973 silver (200m breaststroke); 1975 gold (100m, 200m breaststroke, relay).
Hannelore Anke heads the list of spectacular GDR (East German) swimmers who dominated the world of women’s swimming after the 1972 Munich Olympics through the 1970s and 1980s. She is first, because her name heads the alphabet. She would be in any first group because she and her fabulous German Democratic Republic teammates won Olympic gold medals and set world records in abundance. Anke, along with Kornelia Ender and many others, came out of the famed Karl Marx Sportsclub in East Berlin. Within three years of her 1968 beginning with the club, she won her first European Championship in the 200 meter breaststroke.
By 1973, dressed in one of the first skin suits, she placed second in the first Swimming World Championships at Belgrade. By the second World Championships in Cali two years later, the world had dressed up to the East German skin suits, but not to the swimmers inside the suits. Anke again led the victory parade, first across the board in the 100 meter breaststroke, the 200 meter breaststroke and the breaststroke portion of the winning GDR 4×100 medley relay. Her short brilliant career climaxed at the Montreal Olympics in 1976 where she breaststroked to two gold medals and two world records, this time in the 100 meter breaststroke and medley relay.
Doping Disclaimer: In a German court of law, after this swimmer was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, team officials confessed to administering performance enhancing drugs to this swimmer, who therefore obtained an illegal and unfair advantage over other athletes. For more information, click here.