For a listing of Anja's
competitive results, please visit Gymn
Forum's Anja Wilhelm biography.
Prior to reunification, the more
successful German athletes hailed from East Germany. An exception to this was Anja
Wilhelm, a bronze medallist at the 1987 Europeans. Born on September 26, 1968
in Wolfsburg, West Germany, Anja began competing on the world circuit at age
13. Her first major competitions were the Tokyo and Sapporo International
Junior Championships. She placed in the top 10 in Tokyo, and medalled on beam
(bronze) in Sapporo.
A series of dual meets over the
next two years prepared Anja for competition at the 1982 Junior Euros. In
Ankara, Turkey (the one time in which the Junior Euros have been held outside of
Europe proper) Anja placed 8th AA and made the vault event finals, terrific
accomplishments for an athlete from the West. Anja's first year as a senior
came in 1983, and she competed in both the European Championships (16th AA)
and World Championships (23rd AA, 8th BB).
Anja entered the 1984 Olympics as
her country's national champion. In Los Angeles she placed fourth with her
team, and 12th as an individual. She tied for 7th place on the balance
Anja pressed on following the
Olympics, and in 1985 repeated her national win from the year before.
Significant events that year included the European Championships (23rd AA) and
World Championships (11th T, 23rd AA). Anja performed especially well at the
1985 DTB Cup, medalling on the uneven bars (bronze) and balance beam (silver)
and just missing out in the AA (4th) and on vault (5th) and floor (5th).
Indeed Anja enjoyed some of her
best results at DTB Cups. In 1986 she placed second AA and picked up silver
medals on vault, bars, and balance beam. In 1987 she earned a bronze on
floor, and a gold on the balance beam. Anja's talent on the balance beam was
also recognized at the 1987 European Championships, where she won a bronze -
the only medal at these championships won by someone from the West.
Sadly, at the 1987 Worlds in
Rotterdam, Anja and her teammates placed 15th, thereby failing to qualify a
full team to Seoul for the 1988 Olympics. Perhaps due to disappointment, Anja
chose to retire after Rotterdam.
In a surprising move, Anja made a
comeback and won the 1990 West German national championships. She also picked
up golds on vault and beam, and a bronze on bars. The comeback was short-lived
however, as 1991 saw Anja compete in only the World University Games (10th AA,
6th BB) and World Professional Championships (2nd UB, 3rd BB, 3rd FX).
According to Dieter Koch, the head
coach of Germany's women's gymnastics team, Anja pursued a life in politics.
She is currently a member of the European Parliament in Brüssel.
Many thanks to Jasmin for relaying
the updated info about Anya.