Britta Steffen is currently Germany's most successful female swimmer, and one of the country's best hopes for winning gold medals at the Olympic Games in London this summer.
Britta Steffen's path to the top of her sport was anything but direct. The daughter of an electrician and a shop assistant was born in 1983 in Schwedt in what was then East Germany. The sports recruiters thought she was too small and weak. After a poor showing at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, she temporarily ended her swimming career and began studying management engineering with a focus on environmental technology.
Steffen had her greatest triumphs to date at the 2009 World Swimming Championships in Rome, where she set two new world records. She now believes she was "born to swim." So far her career has seen her earn a total of 19 major medals in international competition, including two Olympic golds, two world championship titles and six European championship titles. Britta Steffen lives in Berlin with her boyfriend Paul Biedemann, who's the member of the German men's swim team with the best shot at an Olympic gold medal.
(First broadcast 04 March 2012)