Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann

Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann
Personal information
Birth name Gunda Kleemann
Nationality German
Born (1966-09-07) 7 September 1966
Sondershausen, Bezirk Erfurt, East Germany
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight 65 kg (143 lb)
Spouse(s) Detlev Niemann (1991-1995) (divorced)
Oliver Stirnemann (1997-)
Country East Germany
Sport Speed skating
Club SC Turbine Erfurt
ESC Erfurt
Turned pro 1987
Coached by Stephan Gneupel
Retired 2005

Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann (née Kleemann, born 7 September 1966) is a former German speed skater. She is a three-time Olympic gold medallist, winning the 3000 metres in 1992 and 1998 and the 5000 metres in 1992. She won a total of eight Olympic medals.

Personal life

Born as Gunda Kleemann in Sondershausen, Bezirk Erfurt, East Germany, she has lived in Erfurt for most of her life. She changed her name to Gunda Niemann after her marriage in 1991 to judoka Detlev Niemann. After their divorce in 1995, she kept the name Niemann. She then changed her name to Niemann-Stirnemann after marrying her longtime Swiss manager Oliver Stirnemann on 11 July 1997. The speed skating oval in Erfurt (the Gunda-Niemann-Stirnemann-Halle) was named after her. Before the German reunification in 1990, she skated for East Germany.


Niemann-Stirnemann dominated women's speed skating for several years, especially on the longer distances. She has competed in four Olympics, from 1988 to 1998, and won eight Olympic medals (3 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze). In the nine years from 1991 to 1999, she won the World Allround Championships every year except 1994. She has a record number of 98 World Cup single distance victories and has won 19 overall World Cup titles. She was European Allround Champion 8 times. Over the course of her career, she set 18 world records. For her performances, she received the Oscar Mathisen Award three times: in 1995, 1996 and 1997.

Niemann-Stirnemann left speed skating in 2001 to give birth to a daughter, but later returned to competition. She planned to make one last comeback and participate in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, but a lingering back injury – which she suffered from since the 2004–05 season – made her quit. At the end of October 2005, a few days before the German Championships, she announced her retirement.

Except for one day in March 1998, Niemann-Stirnemann was number one in the Adelskalender, the all-time allround speed skating ranking, from 24 January 1993, until 2 March 2001 – a total of 2,958 days. She skated in Olympic, World, World Cup, European and national championships to 215 medals, thereof 163 gold medals.

World records

Over the course of her career, Niemann-Stirnemann skated 18 world records:

3000 m4:10.809 December 1990Calgary
5000 m7:13.296 December 1993Hamar
Small combination167.2829 January 1994Hamar
3000 m4:09.3225 March 1994Calgary
5000 m7:03.2626 March 1994Calgary
Small combination165.70816 February 1997Nagano
3000 m4:07.807 December 1997Heerenveen
3000 m4:05.0814 March 1998Heerenveen
Small combination163.02015 March 1998Heerenveen
3000 m4:01.6727 March 1998Calgary
5000 m6:58.6328 March 1998Calgary
5000 m6:57.247 February 1999Hamar
Small combination161.4797 February 1999Hamar
5000 m6:56.8416 January 2000Hamar
3000 m4:00.5130 January 2000Calgary
5000 m6:55.3425 November 2000Heerenveen
3000 m4:00.2617 February 2001Hamar
5000 m6:52.4410 March 2001Salt Lake City

Note that the 10000 m was suspended as a world record event at the 1953 ISU Congress.

Personal records

To put these personal records in perspective, the last column (WR) lists the official world records on the dates that Niemann-Stirnemann skated her personal records.

500 m40.346 February 1999Hamar37.55
1000 m1:20.5713 November 2000Berlin1:14.61
1500 m1:55.624 March 2001Calgary1:55.50
3000 m4:00.2617 February 2001Hamar4:00.51
5000 m6:52.4410 March 2001Salt Lake City6:55.34
10000 m14:22.6027 March 1994Calgarynone
Small combination161.4797 February 1999Hamar163.020
Mini combination169.3856 February 1994Baselga di Pinè166.682
Sprint combination165.25517 January 1999Collalbo151.690

Niemann-Stirnemann has an Adelskalender score of 160.167 points. Her highest ranking on the Adelskalender was the first place.


Preceded by
Norway Johann Olav Koss
Oscar Mathisen Award
Succeeded by
Norway Ådne Søndrål
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