Steffi Kraker (GDR)
Steffi Kraker was born April 21,
1960 in Leipzig, East Germany. Coached by Helmut Gerschau at the SC Leipzig, Kraker
enjoyed a lengthy gymnastics career. Although she excelled on multiple events,
she is remembered by some most for her beam routines, which included some
unusual skills at the time: a side roll and one arm handstand.
Early in her elite career Kraker
made the 1976 East German Olympic team, and in Montreal picked up the team
bronze medal. Kraker, having placed 21st AA after the team events, would have
advanced to the AA final were it not for the three-per-country rule.
The Olympic experience provided
valuable motivation for Kraker. The newly crowned East German national champion
improved her international rankings significantly in the post-Olympic year. She
placed in the top 10 all-around at the 1977 European Championships, scooping up
a bronze on the uneven bar finals. Later that year, at the World Cup in Oviedo,
Spain, she picked up four medals: silver in the AA, beam and floor and a bronze
In 1978 gold eluded Kraker no more:
Competing against the likes of Emilia Eberle (ROM) and Stella Zakharova (URS),
Kraker was awarded gold on bars in Tokyo, Japan at the World Cup. Moreover, Kraker
successfully defended this title at the 1979 World Cup in São Paulo, Brazil. As
at the 1978 Worlds (3rd team, 3rd vault), Kraker picked up two medals at the
1979 World Championships (3rd team, 3rd beam).
1979 provided at least one more
memorable performance for Kraker. Competing in her fourth (!) Chunichi Cup, she
advanced to the top of the pack, placing first all-around. During her career she
went on to compete in two more Chunichi Cups (1980, 1981), placing first on bars
second Olympic experience came in 1980 in Moscow. She and her teammates retained
their third place ranking, and individually Kraker medalled on vault (silver)
and bars (bronze). Kraker made her final World Cup appearance later that year.
In Toronto, Canada she medalled in the all-around (bronze) and on bars (silver).
major competition was the 1981 World Championships, and she did not disappoint.
She and her teammates brought home a bronze medal in the team event, and she
medalled on vault (bronze).
Kraker now lives in Leipzig,
Germany. A practicing psychologist, she recently opened up a private practice.
Many thanks to Richard for relaying the update about Kraker!
. This page was created on January 13, 2000.