ALBERTVILLE, France -- They may have been wearing red, black and yellow skin suits and saluting a different flag, but Gunda and Heike and their teammates knew what the last nine days were about. It was the last hurrah for the East German women's speed skating dynasty at Olympus.
When the five races ended yesterday with a German sweep of the 5,000 meters, former DDR skaters had won three golds and nine of a possible 15 medals. They may have shown up in the reunified German tally on the official count, but the medals were hanging around East German necks.
Gunda Niemann, who won the 3,000 and 5,000 and placed second in the 1,500, wore the DDR's baby-blue suit in Calgary. So did Christa Rothenburger Luding, who won a bronze in the 500 to run her career total to four medals. Jacqueline Boerner (1,500 gold), Heike Warnicke (silvers in 3,000 and 5,000), Monique Garbrecht (1,000 bronze) and Claudia Pechstein (5,000 bronze) all had East Side addresses, too.