Renate Stecher

Renate Stecher (German pronunciation: [ʁənaːtə ˈʃtɛçɐ], audio ; née Meißner, born 12 May 1950) is a German (former East German) sprint runner and a triple Olympic champion. She held 34 world records and was the first woman to run 100 metres within 11 seconds.[2]

Renate Stecher
Renate Stecher c1974.jpg
Personal information
Born12 May 1950 (1950-05-12) (age 72)
Süptitz, Saxony-Anhalt, East Germany
Height1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight71 kg (157 lb)
Event(s)100 m, 200 m
ClubSC Motor Jena
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)100 m – 10.8 (1973)
200 m – 22.38 (1973)[1]


Born as Renate Meißner, she was a very talented athlete, also competing in the high jump and pentathlon. She debuted internationally at the 1969 European Championships, where she – as a last minute substitute – won a silver medal in the 200 m and a gold in the 4 × 100 m relay.[2]

In 1970 she was the World Student Games Champion in both the 100 and 200 metres.

At the next European Championships, in 1971, she won both the 100 and 200 m and the silver in the relay. At that time, she was already competing as Renate Stecher, having married hurdler Gerd Stecher the previous year.[2]

At the 1972 Summer Olympics, Stecher repeated that performance. She won the 100 m in time of 11.07, which was only in 1976 recognised as world record, which had been measured in tenths of seconds before (the times in tenths were later corrected). She also equalled the world record in the 200 meters with a time of 22.40. The following year, Stecher set (hand timed) world records in both sprint events, also becoming the first woman to beat 11 seconds. She clocked 10.9 and 10.8 for the 100 metres and 22.1 for the 200 metres.[2]

In Rome at the 1974 European Championships she was defeated in both the 100 m and 200 m, by Irena Szewińska of Poland and had to settle for silver in both distances. However the GDR 4 × 100 m relay team, in which Stecher ran the second leg, won the gold medal in a world record time.[2]

At the 1976 Summer Olympics, Stecher again competed in the three sprint events, winning medals in all three once again. She was beaten for the 100 m title by Annegret Richter, and came third in a 200 m race with five German women in the first five positions. With the 4 × 100 m relay team they beat West Germany, taking revenge for the race four years earlier.[2]


Following the release of East German secret service files, it was revealed that many of the country's athletes were involved with a state-sponsored drug program. The files document that Stecher had wanted to step down her drug use after the 1972 Olympics, so that she could safely have children.[3] Raelene Boyle, who had finished second to Stecher in both the 100 and 200 metres at the Olympics, stated that she felt cheated, as she believed it unlikely that Stecher would have beaten her without the use of performance-enhancing drugs.[4]

In 2011 Stecher was inducted into the Germany's Sports Hall of Fame.[2]


  1. ^ "Renate Stecher".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Renate Stecher". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020.
  3. ^ McDonald, Margie (15 April 2009). Too little too late, as Raelene Boyle slams East German drug coaches. The Australian. Retrieved on 22 May 2009.
  4. ^ Raelene Boyle. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (26 February 2004). Retrieved on 22 May 2009.
Preceded by Women's 100 m World Record Holder
30 June 1973 – 13 June 1976
Succeeded by
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Women's 200 m Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Preceded by Women's 200m Best Year Performance
Succeeded by