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Kathrin Weßel

Kathrin Wessel, née Ullrich (born 14 August 1967 in Annaberg-Buchholz, Saxony) is a retired German long-distance runner who specialized in the 10,000 metres and competed for the club SV Dynamo. She won the 1987 World Championship bronze medal and competed at three Olympic Games, in Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996.


Wessel first came to international prominence in 1987, as Kathrin Ullrich, when she won the European Cup 10,000 metres in only her second attempt at the distance. The 1987 season culminated in her winning a bronze medal at the World Championships in Rome, finishing ahead of Olga Bondarenko and Liz McColgan, who placed fourth and fifth respectively.

In the 1988 Olympic final in Seoul, she followed the early break by world record holder Ingrid Kristiansen, only to find herself with a 30 metres lead when Kristiansen dropped out after six laps due to injury. She would eventually finish fourth.

Wessel had one of her biggest career wins in 1989, at the World Cup in Barcelona, when she outkicked Kristiansen in the final 200 metres to win comfortably.

During the early 1990s, Wessel would remain one of the best 10km runners in the world. At the 1990 European Championships she won the silver medal behind Yelena Romanova. In 1991 she ran her best ever time of 31:03, which put her fourth on the all-time list behind Kristiansen, McColgan and Bondarenko. She ended the 1991 season by finishing fourth at the World Championships in Tokyo, won by McColgan.

In 1992, now competing as Kathrin Wessel, she looked set to be a major medal contender at the 1992 Olympics, when she won the German title in June of that year in 31:20, just ahead of Uta Pippig, but in Barcelona she failed to finish her qualifying heat. From this point, she would cease to be a major force on the world stage, although she did manage fourth place at the 1994 European Championships and competed in her third and final Olympics in 1996.

Late in her career, she moved up in distance to the Marathon, achieving her best time of 2:28:31, in 2001 at the Berlin Marathon.


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  East Germany
1987 European Cup Prague, Czech Republic 1st 10,000 m 32:42.05
World Championships Rome, Italy 3rd 10,000 m 31:11.34
1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea 4th 10,000 m 31:29.27
1989 European Cup Gateshead, United Kingdom 1st 10,000m 32:17.88
World Cup Barcelona, Spain 1st 10,000 m 31:33.92
1990 European Championships Split, Yugoslavia 2nd 10,000 m 31.47.70
Representing  Germany
1991 European Cup Frankfurt, Germany 1st 10,000 m 31:03.62
World Championships Tokyo, Japan 4th 10,000 m 31.38.96
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain heats 10,000 m DNF
1993 World Championships Stuttgart, Germany 13th 10,000 m 32:27.38
1994 European Cup Birmingham, United Kingdom 1st 10,000 m 32:26.85
European Championships Helsinki, Finland 4th 10,000 m 31:38.75
1995 World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 10th 10,000 m 31:55.04
1996 European Cup Madrid, Spain 1st 5000 m 15:40.36
Olympic Games Atlanta, United States heats 10,000 m 33:31.67

Personal bests


This article incorporates information from the Deutsch World Heritage Encyclopedia.

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Sporting positions
Preceded by
Scotland Liz McColgan
Women's 5.000m Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Soviet Union Yelena Romanova
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