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"Woman with the iron arm": Olympic champion Fuchs dead

The former GDR javelin thrower Ruth Fuchs sets throw and wins. / Photo: dpa/dpa/archive image
The former GDR javelin thrower Ruth Fuchs sets throw and wins. / Photo: dpa/dpa/archive image

Ruth Fuchs was defeated only three times in her career. The two-time Olympic javelin champion has died at the age of 76.

Olympic javelin throw champion Ruth Fuchs has died at the age of 76. This was confirmed by Thuringia's Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (Left) and the German Athletics Association, citing Fuchs' immediate private environment, to the German Press Agency on Wednesday. Accordingly, the former world-class athlete died early Wednesday morning in the University Hospital Jena.

The in Egeln near Magdeburg born Fuchs was the first woman who had thrown a javelin over 60 meters. At the end of her career in competitive sports, which lasted between 1967 and 1980, the world's best female javelin thrower failed to reach the 70-meter mark by four centimeters with her sixth and last world record. "Even then, it had briefly annoyed me that four centimeters were missing the 70 meters. Overall, it has been a wonderful time. I am proud of my achievements," Fuchs once said.

In 1967, she won her first of a total of eleven GDR championship titles. In addition to Olympic victories in Munich in 1972 and four years later in Montreal, the athlete from SC Motor Jena also won twice at European championships, several times at the European Cup and at the World Cup, which was held for the first time in 1977. In view of her successes, Fuchs, who was defeated only three times, was also called the "woman with the iron arm."

In addition to sports, Fuchs studied at the DHfK in Leipzig and earned her doctorate in 1984. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Fuchs, who had been a member of the SED since 1971, sat in the Bundestag for the PDS until 2002. In 1994, she admitted to taking doping substances. Her second husband and coach Karl Hellmann was considered a doping specialist in the GDR.

After leaving the Bundestag, Fuchs still sat in the Thuringian state parliament until 2009. "Ruth did not mince words and as a comrade was a "Poundskerl" like from the picture book - reliable, honest, the heart in the right place," wrote Dietmar Bartsch, chairman of the Left Party in the Bundestag, on the platform X, formerly Twitter.

After the political career Fuchs led a fashion business in Jena. "I have always remained true to my basic principles, even if I was spat on from many sides for it. That was very instructive and eventful," Fuchs said before her 70th birthday.

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