Birgit Fischer is a retired German kayaker who has won maximum medals within the sports of kayaking. She is also the only female athlete to win the gold medal in the Olympics 20-year apart.
The eighteen years old Fischer was the youngest Olympic canoeing champion in Moscow in 1980. And, twenty-four years later, she became the oldest kayaker to win in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Moreover, Fischer became the national hero of Germany because of her fantastic career.
During her 1980-2004 active years in the Olympic competition, Birgit won eight gold medals and four silver medals.
Overall, this article will give a deeper insight into Birgit Fischer’s early life, family, career, net worth, and other lesser-known facts.
So, to know more about Fischer and how she shined like a diamond in her life, keep reading the article.
But before getting into the details, let’s look at some quick facts.
|Birth Date||February 25, 1962|
|Birth Place||Brandenburg, Germany|
|Education||Army Sports Club Boarding School|
|Father’s Name||Karl Heinz Fischer|
|Height||5 feet 8 inches|
|Profession||Former Professional Kayaker, Photographer|
|Medals||8 Gold and 4 Silver|
|Awards & Achievements||
|Spouse||Jorg Schmidt (1984-1993)|
|Children||Ulla Fischer, Ole Fischer|
|Trivia||Oldest Olympic Canoeing Champion|
|Net Worth||$2 Million|
|Merch||Naturehike Waterproof Duffel Bag|
|Last Update||July, 2022|
Birgit Fischer: Early Life
On February 25, 1962, Fischer was born in Brandenburg an der Havel, East Germany.
The canoeing legend attended an army boarding school of sports named ASK. The training of the school helped Birgit a lot to become the champion of kayaking in the Olympics.
Birgit was drawn towards canoeing because paddling was the traditional sport for Fischers.
Her grandparents used to sail across the Elbe in a small boat, and they were into canoeing fields for a long time.
Similarly, Birgit’s father Karl-Heinz Fischer and mother were trainers at a local canoe club in Brandenburg an der Havel.
As a result, Birgit and her three siblings used to enjoy paddling from a young age.
Her older brother Frank Fischer was also a professional kayaker. Birgit began kayaking with her brother at the age of six.
Moreover, Frank has nine world championship medals which include three gold medals.
At first, Karl-Heinz Fischer taught Birdit about canoeing. So her father was her official first coach.
Herald Brosig was her second coach. It was Herald who made the difficult canoeing sport more fun for Birgit.
And from 1978, Birgit’s started to rule in the kayak sport.
Birgit Fischer: Age, Height & Weight
As of now, Fischer is 60 years old. She was born on February 25. Thus her zodiac sign is Pisces.
Not to mention, Pisces are known for being innovative, generous, and understanding. Also, they are very flexible and do not like to hang out with pessimistic people.
Furthermore, Birgit stands 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs around 69 kg.
Birgit Fischer: Professional Career
In the 1980 Olympics at Moscow, her first Olympics, Birgit received the gold medal in the K1 500m event.
The 1980 Olympics was like a launchpad to a successful kayaker career later on for Fischer.
From 1981 to 1986, Birgit won nine World Championship titles and became an unshakable icon in the sport.
However, Fischer was unable to participate in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. East Germany was not allowed to participate in the 1984 Olympic Games.
In the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Birgit won gold in fours and silver in the pair.
Similarly, she earned gold medals in pairs and four in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Although the German kayaker experienced bitter defeat in the finale of single events in the 1998 Seoul Olympics, she made a strong comeback and won gold medals.
In the Barcelona Olympics, Birgit took gold medals in the singles and silver in the fours.
In 2000, the German kayaker retired from the Olympic Games. She was thoroughly enjoying her life as a retired athlete.
Soon Fischer was emerging on several magazine covers and television. At the same time, one film company desired to make a documentary about her life.
So, for the documentary, a film crew urged her to ride a kayak. Since the retirement, it was the first time Fischer kayaked across the water.
When Birgit was paddling after a long time, she realized how much she missed this moment.
Her love for canoeing emerged once again, and she wanted to try her dearest sport for one last time. Birgit was 42 years old during that time.
Similarly, the kayaker was also curious if she was fast at kayaking even after a long break or not and wanted to challenge herself.
After a three-year break in the 2004 Olympics at Athens, Birgit showed up again to give her last goodbye at the games.
Nine months before the 2004 Athens, Fischer was able to join the national kayak team of Germany.
The 42-years old kayaker won gold in the K4(four) 500-meter and K2(pair) 500-meter for Germany.
Between 1999 and 2003, Hungary was leading in women’s K4 squad competitions. The country had won four consecutive World Championships titles, so competition was tough for Germany.
In the K2 team, Birgit’s partner Carolin Leonhardt was 23 years younger than her. But despite her long break, Birgit was optimistic as ever.
The K4 squad of Germany qualified for the final event and eventually beat their tough competitor from Hungary.
The Hungary team took the lead in the finale, and the German team was last in the race.
However, Fischer and her team members soon caught up with Hungarians. At the 250-meter mark, Germans were lagging by only 0.3 seconds behind Hungarians.
In the end, Fischer’s team came first with a 0.2-second margin and won a gold medal. In this way, she won her eighth Olympic gold medal.
The next day, a 42-year old kayaker won another silver Olympic medal in the K2 event.
Life After 2004 Athens
The Athens 2004 was Fischer’s last Olympic Games, and she officially retired from the sport.
Then former kayaker started a career as a photographer. She was even a member of the Art of the Olympians.
Owner of KanuFisch
Later, Birgit started her own company named KanuFisch, which encourages canoe/kayak as an active lifestyle.
The company is providing canoe basic and advanced courses all over Germany.
It is for beginners who want to learn paddling for fun and exercise. Also, it is for professionals who wish to sharpen their skills.
Likewise, Birgit Fischer herself provides motivational lectures on Olympic success, time management, teamwork, coordination, and so on.
Awards and Achievements
Fischer has a series of victories written under her name. She dominated in women kayaking during the 80s and early 90s.
The German native won World Championship titles continuously for three years (1981, 1982, 1983).
In 2004, Fischer was voted for the German Sportswoman of the year.
Likewise, in 2008, she was inducted into the German Sports Hall of Fame.
Birgit was also a sports coach for the National People’s Army. In 1990 during German unification time, she was upgraded to major.
In 1992, she stood for the Free Democratic Party(FDP) as a candidate in the European Parliament elections. Sadly, she didn’t win.
From 1978 to 2005, Birgit won 38 medals, including 28 golds in the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships.
Birgit Fischer: Personal Life
The kayaker star was married to Jorg Schmidt from 1984 to 1993. Later, the couple parted ways because of some unknown reason.
Jorg Schmidt is a former East German sprint canoer. He was active in the sport during the 80s.
Moreover, Schmidt won a silver medal at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. He got a silver medal for his participation in the C1 1000m event.
The former couple is blessed with two children. Currently, Birgit is staying with her kids in Brandenburg.
Birgit Fischer: Net Worth
The Olympic medalist Fischer has an estimated net worth of $2 million.
She has accumulated her wealth from a successful kayaking career.
Besides being a former canoe racer, she is an owner of KanuFisc and a photographer.
So, Birgit is living a luxurious life in Germany. All thanks to her hard work and dedication.
Social Media Presence
The old former canoe racer is not active on social media platforms. The reason behind her absence from social media can be her introverted personality.
— OLYMPICS (@OLYMPICS) JULY 20, 2021
But the kayaker legend has already made a big name for herself through her excellent career. So she does not need any social media to make her famous.
Currently, she lives a quiet and private life with her daughter in Germany.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
What advice does Birgit Fischer like to give to the future Olympians?
The most excellent kayaker of all time, Birgit’s advice is never to forget to live life outside of paddling and do anything you feel like doing.
Furthermore, she suggested not always listening to the coach but listening to yourself sometimes.
Who overtook Birgit Fischer’s winning record in kayaking?
At the 2011 Championships in Szeged, Hungary’s Katalin Kovacs surpassed medals won by Fischer in her career.
Likewise, she has won 40 medals(30 golds) in the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships.
What motivated Birgit Fischer most at the start of her kayaking career?
While Birgit was attending a canoe club in Brandenburg, the training and initial successes in the local sports competitions encouraged her the most.
Similarly, the training camps, trips, and joint ventures increased her confidence over time.
What Birgit Fischer loves most about canoe racing?
Fischer has always been fascinated by the silent gliding of boats and the tuneful sound of paddling.
Besides her absolute focus on the training, she never missed admiring the sound of water and the beauty of nature while gliding the boat.
Are Fanny Fischer and Birgit Fischer related to each other?
Fanny Fischer is the niece of eight-time Olympic gold medalist kayaker Birgit Fischer.
Fanny is a professional sprint canoer who won gold at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing in the K4 500-meter event.