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German gold-medalist Pechstein reveals suicide plan in autobiography

German speed skater Claudia Pechstein planned to jump off a bridge with her husband, according to her new autobiography. The athlete wanted to end her life after a doping scandal banned her from the rink.

Claudia Pechstein

Pechstein wrote that she planned to jump off a bridge

Five-time Olympic gold medalist Claudia Pechstein planned to take her life after being entangled in a doping scandal, according to the German speed skating champion's soon-to-be-released autobiography.

In her book, the title of which translates to "Of Gold and Blood - My Life Between Olympus and Hell," Pechstein claims she planned to jump off a highway bridge with her husband, Marcus Bucklitsch, in March 2009. A month earlier the International Skating Union had banned Pechstein from the ice for two years after irregular levels of reticulocytes were found in her blood.

Pechstein skating

Pechstein is set to present her book Monday in Berlin

"I can't stop thinking about it," Pechstein wrote of her suicidal thoughts. "No more sponsors, no more job, no more house. All gone. From one moment to the next I'm gripped by pure existential fear."

Pechstein's joint suicide plans were allegedly put to an end when she wrote her manager Ralf Grengel a text message that she and her husband were about to "go look for a bridge."

After an exchange of text messages and a phone call, Grengel convinced Pechstein not to take her life.

"If the SMS was truly a cry for help shortly before the apocalypse, it didn't fail," the 38-year-old athlete wrote.

Pechstein plans to hit the ice once again when her ban is lifted on February 8, 2011. She is set to compete in the skating world championships in Inzell, Bavaria in March.

Author: David Levitz (dpa, SID)

Editor: Sean Sinico

DW.DE