Exhausted, but with a faint smile on her face, a tall woman ran out of the catacombs of the Olympic Stadium in Munich shortly before midnight. Kristin Pudenz was received by a small entourage, coaches and friends. The first thing that was handed her was a mug of beer. After all, there was something to celebrate – and the bus that was to take them to the doping test was already ready to go. And a little antidiuretic hormone can help.
It was a bit lost on Tuesday in all the noise about the German gold medal winners Gina Lückenkemper and Niklas Kaul. So at this point, formally: Kristin Pudenz, 29-year-old discus thrower from Potsdam, won the silver medal at the European Championships in Munich. With a personal best of 67.87 meters, just beaten by Sandra Perkovic (67.95). And in contrast to the opponents of Lückenkemper and Kaul, the Croatian is not only at the top of Europe, but also at the forefront globally.
But Kristin Pudenz isn’t a character looking for maximum fame. She was not at all sad because of the headline-grabbing gold medals, she told the Tagesspiegel late at night. The team spirit is very strong. She is happy about the successes of others. And anyway: “The results show that German athletics can do something.”
It was not necessarily expected that Pudenz would be able to put the exceptional athlete Perkovic in such distress. On the other hand, it didn’t seem impossible either. The Olympic Games in Tokyo last year should be remembered in this context. Pudenz also won the silver medal there – behind the American Valarie Allman.
But between the Olympics and the European Championships in Munich, there was also the damned World Championships a few weeks ago in Eugene (USA). Pudenz adapted to the overall performance of the German team there and only came in eleventh place.
But quarreling for long is not the thing for the woman from SC Potsdam, who has had to fight her way up many a time. So she has the phrase “How we survive, is what makes us who we are” – a quote from a song by the US band Rise Against – tattooed on her upper right arm, in German: How we survive makes us what we are. “I found the saying appropriate because you always have to fight your way through somehow to get somewhere,” she says.
On Tuesday, in contrast to the competition at the World Championships, she quickly found her rhythm. Already in the second attempt she threw just over 65 meters, then almost 67 meters and in the fifth finally her personal best of 67.87 meters.
At first she was annoyed because she missed the gold medal by just eight centimetres, she said. But the disappointment quickly gave way to joy at the great competition. “Sandra (Perkovic, ed.) is always such a candidate. She is very reluctant to take such a title away, even though she has been European champion for the sixth time.”
It wasn’t just Pudenz that got lost in the euphoria surrounding Kaul and Lückenkemper. But also her teammate Claudine Vita. The woman from Neubrandenburg reached her season best of 65.20 meters and won the bronze medal.
“It doesn’t get any better than that,” said Pudenz about her and the overall German result. If only Andrea Perkovic weren’t so greedy for titles. But you really can’t blame the Croatian for that.