OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Cycling: Salumae raises the flag for Estonians

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The Independent Online
ON A night when Germany took three Olympic cycling titles Erika Salumae of Estonia stood alone and happy with her gold.

She goes into Olympic history as a sprint champion for two countries. In 1988 it was the Soviet Union and last night she dedicated her new Olympic title to 'my people'. 'This is great for Estonia but for me nothing compares to the reunion with my mother, three brothers and sister two years ago,' Salumae said.

When her father died Salumae's mother left her small daughter with her orphanage and for 21 years the family lost contact with her. 'My brothers found me two years ago but my mother will not talk about the whole affair,' she said.

Salumae has had to struggle even though she has won Olympic and world titles. She paid for her own bike and then a back injury threatened to end her career.

She was not upset last night when at the medal ceremony the Estonian flag was raised upside down. 'It did not matter. It was just unbelievable that I had the gold.'

Only Salumae checked the relentless success of German riders by beating Annett Neumann.

Jens Fiedler, already world champion, won the Olympic sprint against Australian Gary Neiwand. His compatriot Jens Lehmann, beaten by Britain's Chris Boardman for the pursuit title, led Germany to the 4,000m team pursuit crown, beating Australia and their world fastest time with 4min 8.791sec.

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