Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born in Blaustein , Germany (then West Germany), Dieter Baumann was one of the few non-African athletes who were able to seriously challenge the African dominance of middle-distance running during the 1990s. Baumann was equally adept at both the 1500 m and 5000 m distances.
Although Baumann came second in the 3000 m at the European Indoor Championships in 1987, few considered him a medal chance at the Seoul Olympic Games held in the year. The 5000 m final at Seoul was stolen by John Ngugi from Kenya who broke away from the field early in the race. However, Baumann used his superior 1500 m speed to outsprint the rest of the field in the final lap to win the silver medal. Baumann missed most of the 1990 season due to tendon trouble, but he returned in 1991 to finish fourth in the 5000 m at the World Championships in Tokyo.
In the next Olympics at Barcelona, the 5000 m final started at a fast pace, but then slowed, increasing Baumann's advantage due to his finishing kick. However, he got boxed in amongst four African runners in the back straight of the last lap, and was only able to get out into the clear coming into the home straight. From there, Baumann launched into a devastating sprint, passing each of the four runners in turn to just win the gold medal.
Baumann missed the next season due injury, but was back at the European Championships in 1994. In the 5000 m final, Baumann was always well placed in the field, and used his trademark devastating kick to outsprint the others in the final lap to easily win the gold medal. At the World Championships in Gothenburg, in the 5000 m final, Baumann inexplicably lost contact with the leading group with three laps to go, and struggled home in a dissapointing ninth place.
At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Baumann would find it a difficult challenge to successfully defend his Olympic title, because the other athletes had been setting much faster times than Baumann's during 1995 and 1996 seasons. But Baumann still managed to finish in a creditable fourth place.
On October 19, 1999, Baumann tested positive for the drug Nandrolene and received a two-year suspension, thus missing the 2000 Summer Olympics. But he came back in 2002, at the age of 37, and won another silver medal in 10 000 m at the European Championships in Munich.
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