German skater, 49, breaks record for oldest woman Winter Olympian

BEIJING - Claudia Pechstein became the old­est woman Winter Olympi­an in history on Saturday in Beijing when the decorat­ed speed skater competed aged 49 years and 348 days. The German police officer also became the first wom­an to participate in eight Winter Olympics. Pechstein, who has won five gold med­als over an Olympic career stretching back to 1992, fin­ished last in the women’s 3000 metres and saw her Olympic record time beat­en by winner Irene Schouten of the Netherlands.“I was not too fast but I smiled (after crossing the finish line) be­cause today I got my goal to race in my eighth Olympic Games, this was important for me,” said Pechstein, who carried Germany’s flag at Friday’s opening ceremony in the Chinese capital. “I am the only woman in the whole world to be at eight Olym­pic Winter Games. The result of today was not so import­ant, it was just to race and to be here. “I am super proud.” Pechstein, who will compete again at the Beijing Olym­pics in the Mass Start, added: “Yesterday a Dutch journal­ist asked me, ‘20 years ago you made your first Olym­pics?’ I said ‘no, no, it’s been 30 years.’” The previous re­cord for oldest woman Win­ter Olympian went to Anne Abernathy, a luger from the US Virgin Islands, who was 48 years and 305 days at the 2002 Games.

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