Berlin – Ilke Wyludda, crowned women's discus champion at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, has had her right leg amputated after contracting septicemia.
“I had a choice between losing my leg or losing my life, so I chose to live,” the 41-year-old German told Saturday's edition of Bild.
Born in Leipzig Wyludda had undergone multiple surgery, mostly on her right knee, before taking the decision to amputate.
“Pain had become a part of me,” Wyludda, who trained as a paramedic after retiring frrom athletics, explained.
A junior discus world champion, she set 11 junior world records, Wyludda claimed gold in Atlanta with a throw of 69.66m, beating Natalya Sadova from Russia and Elina Zvereva of Belarus for the title.
She retired never having won a world championship at senior level, picking up silver in Tokyo in 1991 and again filling the runners-up spot in Gothenburg in 1995.
She went unbeaten with a run of 41 wins from 1985 to the world championships in 1991 where she lost out to Tsvetanka Khristova of Bulgaria.
A double European champion Wyludda's last appearance on the international stage came at the 2000 Sydney Olympics where she came in seventh behind Zvereva. – Sapa-AFP