GRAFF Steffi (1969), Germany / Tennis
After having dominated the women's professional tennis circuit for many years, the German champion carried off the first unofficial Olympic title in 1984 at the Los Angeles games. Tennis was still only a demonstration sport at that time. It had been barred from the Olympic programme in 1924 because of the professional status of players. By the 1988 games in Seoul, tennis had become an Olympic sport again and Steffi Graff was there to win. She could have won a third Olympic title in Barcelona had it not been for the will of a young American player called Jennifer Capriati. After 22 Grand Slam victories and problems with the tax authorities, the German champion lost her taste for playing and retired. She now supports her partner, Andre Agassi, from courtside. In honour of her 22 Grand Slam victories and two Olympic titles, Graf was recently awarded the Olympic Order, the more important medal of its kind.