After an exciting two and a half weeks of action, the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea just came to a close. The Olympics are something very special to us at Heiden Orthopedics, as our very own Dr. Eric Heiden was once an Olympic athlete, too. He made history as a talented speed skater in the Winter Olympics in 1980.
Dr. Heiden set records and made history during his career as a speed skater. As an orthopedic surgeon he focuses on sports medicine and works with injured athletes, and still has the same competitive edge that won him five gold medals in 1980.
Eric Heiden’s Olympic Journey
Dr. Heiden is considered one of the best speed skaters of all time, due in no small part to his performance at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. He took home five gold medals that year: one for every event he participated in. He also set four Olympic records and one world record during the Games.
Nicknamed the “Miracle on Ice,” he earned more gold medals than any other athlete in a single Winter Games – ever. He was also the first to win gold in all five speed skating events, which include the 500-meter, 1,000-meter, 1500-meter, 5,000-meter, and 10,000-meter races. In fact, Eric Heiden was responsible for five out of six gold medals won by the United States during the entire 1980 Winter Games.
Life After the Olympics
After his career in speed skating, Dr. Heiden went on to become a cyclist. He quickly excelled, winning a United States Cycling Championship and competing in the 1986 Tour de France. From there, he went on to receive his medical degree and begin his career as an orthopedic surgeon.
Dr. Heiden’s Olympic career wasn’t over quite yet, though. He returned to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, but not as an athlete. He was the team physician for the United States speed skating team. He went with them to Italy for training and then to Russia for the Games, helping them avoid injuries and providing treatment.
Highlights of the 2018 Winter Olympics
Speed skating tends to be an unpredictable sport, and the 2018 Winter Olympics have been no exception. A last-minute change added a fifth skater to the 500m events, making the track more crowded during the race. Unfortunate luck of the draw also put the US in an undesirable starting position again and again, and a few collisions further complicated the event.
US speed skater John-Henry Krueger won a silver medal in the men’s 1,000m individual race, an event the US hasn’t medaled in for eight years. An exciting collision earlier in the race left only Krueger and one Canadian skater remaining. Krueger earned the ninth medal for Team USA in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Sports Medicine at Heiden Orthopedics
Dr. Heiden’s past experiences as an accomplished athlete have been advantageous during his career as an orthopedic surgeon. He focuses on helping athletes, and truly understands the strenuous training and other challenges they encounter by pushing their limits. He now lives and works in Park City, providing unprecedented treatment and support for a wide variety of orthopedic injuries.