Austrian Team for the Olympic Games in Beijing

Günther Weidlinger (10,000m), Gerhard Mayer (Discus) and Eva Maria Gradwohl (Marathon) represent Austria at the Olympic Games

A small but highly enthusiastic team will represent Austria at the Athletic events of the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008.

Most accomplished on the international scene is Günther Weidlinger (30) who competes at his third Olympics. His best result goes back to Sydney 2000 where he finished an excellent eight place in the 3000m steeplechase. In the meantime Weidlinger has drawn his attention to longer distances. On May 4th he clocked an Austrian Record of 27:36.46 over 10,000 metres in Palo Alto (USA). This time is the second fastest on the European list this year. His aim for the Olympic 10,000m race: “I want to match the best non-African runners and probably I can become the best of them.” Well aware that the hot and humid conditions demand a special acclimatisation he travels to Hongkong already on August 2nd. His race in Beijing starts on Sunday, August 17th.

Gerhard Mayer (28) takes part in his first Olympic Games. The Discus Thrower who won by surprise the World University Games 2007 in Bangkok has set himself a difficult target: “I want to reach the final.” He will have to throw close to his personal best of 62.85m in the qualifying rounds to be among the best twelve. Very constant performances and a good sense for competitions stand to his credit. Nevertheless it would be a surprise (that all Austrian supporters hope for) to see him in the final. Qualification takes place on Saturday, August 16th. The final would be on Tuesday, August 19th.

Eva Maria Gradwohl (35) will be the first female Austrian runner who competes in an Olympic marathon. On April, 13th 2008 she set a massive personal best and Austrian record of 2:30:51 in Linz, an improvement by 5:30 minutes to her previous pb from Berlin 2007. A cyclist in her youth she started in running in 1994 after giving birth to her son Kevin. Over the years Gradwohl developed from being a keen fun runner to international level. Her aim for Beijing: “I want to be as close to the winner as my personal best is away from the world leader 2008. This would be about six percent.” Her race takes place on Sunday, August 17th.

Picture (by R. Seeböck): Günther Weildinger, Eva Maria Gradwohl and Gerhard Mayer (from left) dressed in their Austrian Olympic clothes.
Andreas Maier | 25.07.2008

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