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Anni Friesinger is competing in the Winter Olympics 2010 in Vancouver in speed skating for Germany.

Already a four-time Olympic medalist, Anni Friesinger says she's more relaxed than ever heading into Vancouver, which will be her fourth and final Olympics. Friesinger has two gold medals, from the 1500m in 2002 and team pursuit in 2006, and two bronze medals, from the 1000m in 2006 and 3000m in 1998. In her 10 Olympic races, Friesinger has never finished lower than sixth, and she has three fourth-place finishes, including two in Torino (1500m and 3000m).

Friesinger is married to former Dutch speed skater Ids Postma, who won gold in the 1000m and silver in the 1500m in Nagano. Postma also competed in Salt Lake City before retiring in 2004. The two have been together for more than a decade, and got married in a civil ceremony in September 2009, with a big wedding planned for after Vancouver. Though she splits her time between Salzburg and Postma's farm in Deersum, the Netherlands, she plans to move to the Netherlands permanently once she retires from skating.

Friesinger broke her knee in a bike accident in summer 2008, forcing her to miss much of the 2008-09 season. She had a hard time dealing with the limitations on her training and the lack of competition in the pre-Olympic year, which is usually crucial to her preparations. Friesinger most missed being able to run, which she normally doe often, but had to stop because it made her knee swell. But at the season-ending World Single Distance Championships in March 2009, even though she was not quite in top shape, Friesinger won the 1500m and took silver in the 1000m. She said she was amazed by the results, but had felt no pressure, knowing she was still recovering. Friesinger attributed her quick comeback to the incredible base she has built over the years, allowing her to miss some training but still compete well.

Friesinger has many interests outside of speed skating; she is an interior decorator and dabbles in modeling. The skater, called "Sexy Anni" by the media, has posed for underwear ads, was shot nearly nude in a German magazine and published a provocative autobiography—"My Life, My Sport, My Best Fitness Tips"—in 2004.

Friesinger, who started skating when she was 7, comes from solid speed-skating stock. Her parents, Georg and Janina, competed in speed skating in the 1970s and met at an event in East Berlin, where Georg was competing for Germany and Janina was racing for her native Poland. Janina qualified for the 1976 Innsbruck Games, where she finished 16th in the 3000m. Georg, who competed at the 1973 World Junior Championships, died in 1996. "He was my coach, my best friend, and my father," she says. Friesinger has a tattoo above her navel that she says is in memory of her father. "He always wanted a tattoo," she explains. Friesinger brings a framed photo of her father to every competition and places it in a visible spot in her room.



Friesinger has resisted the temptation to join elite training groups in Europe, choosing instead to remain home in the southern German town of Inzell. She trains there on an outdoor oval with a small group that includes her younger brother, Jan, who competed at the 2002 Salt Lake Games and still frequently competes for the national team. Her younger sister, Agnes, also competes there. But even though Friesinger trains in her hometown, her popularity makes it impossible for her to reside in the small town. Instead, she lives in Salzburg, Austria, and drives about 30 minutes from her home to the rink in Inzell. Friesinger has planned her retirement around Inzell, which will host the 2011 World Single Distance Championships—likely to be her final skating competition.

After narrowly missing a spot on the talented German team for the 1994 Lillehammer Games as a 17-year-old, Friesinger made her Olympic debut in Nagano and was part of a German sweep in the 3000m, winning the bronze behind teammates Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann and Claudia Pechstein. Friesinger also competed in the 1500m, placing fifth.


ANNI FRIESINGER: FACTS

How tall is Anni Friesinger? How old is Anni Friesinger? Where does Anni Friesinger live? Find out here.

Age: 37 years old
Birthday: January 11, 1977
Height: 5' 7"
Full Name / Real Name: Anna Christina Friesinger
Birthplace: Bad Reichenhall, Bavaria, Germany
Current Residence: Salzburg, Austria
Husband: Ids Postma





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