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Marita Koch

German athlete Marita Koch was born on February 18, 1957. At the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, she won a gold medal in the 400-meter dash.

During her career she collected a remarkable sixteen world records in outdoor sprints, as well as 14 world records in indoor events.

Her first world record was set in 1977 in Milan, Italy running 400 metres indoors in 51.8 seconds. In the following year, Koch set her first outdoor record at 400 metres in 49.19 seconds. She topped this with another two world records within a month.

Marita was unable to compete at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada due to injury, but had been considered a certainty for a medal had she made it there.

In 1979 Koch was the first woman to run 200 metres in under 22 seconds. Five years later, in 1984 she tied the then world record of 21.71 seconds.

In 1980 she attended her only Olympic Games in Moscow, Russia. There Koch won the gold medal in the individual 400 metres and silver medal in the 4 x 400m relay.

Marita set the current 400 metre world record of 47.6 seconds on October 6, 1985 at Bruce Stadium in Canberra, Australia.

Marlies Göhr challenged Marita Koch in indoor sprints. As a result, Marita Koch became one of the most successful runners over 50 and 60 metres where she set many records between 1980 and 1985.

As a member of East Germany's relay teams, Koch set more world records. With a team led together with Göhr, they set new world records over 4x100 metres in 1979 and 1983. In the 1980 Olympic Games, Koch was part of the team that won silver over 4x400 metres. The same team set world records over the same distance in 1980, 1982 and 1984.

Koch also won the European Championships at 400m in 1978, 1982 and 1986 before retiring in 1987 as one Germany's most successful athletes.

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