Gabriele Fähnrich (GDR)
Gabriele Fahnrich was born on April
8, 1968 in Hoyerswerda, East Germany to a family of gymnasts - her parents and
sister, Carola, were all gymnasts at one point! During Fähnrich's elite career
she was coached by Wolfgang Riedel at SC Dynamo Berlin.
Fähnrich began competing outside
of East Germany in 1983, traveling to Japan for the Chunichi Cup (7th AA) and
Budapest for the World Championships. She and her teammates earned the bronze
medal in Budapest. Fähnrich also went on to the all-around competition,
Fähnrich was a sure bet for East
Germany's 1984 Olympic team, but then the dreaded boycott hit and she and
other Eastern bloc were sent to Olomouc, Czechoslovakia to compete in the
Alternate Games instead. Facing stiff competition from the Soviets, but
competing her best apparatus, Gabriele brought back an individual medal
(bronze on bars). This medal complemented the East German's team bronze.
Fähnrich's talent on bars reigned
supreme at the 1985 World Championships. Her gold-medal routine featured
wonderful extension, a unbelievably high Jaeger (this at a time when the bars
when very close together), and an interesting mount: RO, straddle jump
backwards over the low bar. Following tradition, the East Germans also brought
home the team bronze medal.
Fähnrich suffered many injuries
over the next few years, competing sparsely in 1986 and 1987. She did make the
1987 World Championship team, but competed below her usual level. An exception
was her 10.0 (!) on bars in team optionals, but sadly her score from
compulsories (9.475) kept the reigning World apparatus champion out of the
uneven bar event final. The team's bronze medal proved to be the only medal
Gabriele brought home from Rotterdam.
Fähnrich toughed it out over the
next year, making it to the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Due in part
to a .5 technical deduction waged against the US team, for not clearing the
podium during Garrison-Steves' routine, the East Germans slipped ahead of the Americans in the final standings and were awarded the bronze medal. Fähnrich and her
teammate Ulrike Klotz actually tied for the third East German spot in the
all-around competition, but it was Klotz who advanced (probably a wise
decision given that Klotz outperformed Fähnrich during team optionals).
Fähnrich retired from elite
gymnastics after Seoul and went on to study aesthetics. Today she works as a
beautician in Berlin, Germany.
Many thanks to Richard for relaying the update about Fähnrich.
. This page was created December 31, 2000.