Even his own patients are oblivious to his past. When Eric
Heiden, an orthopedist for the NBA's Sacramento Kings and WNBA's
Monarchs, operated on the left knee of Monarchs guard and former
Olympian Ruthie Bolton-Holifield in 1998, "She didn't know who I
was," says Heiden, "just that I was there to help her. I liked
In another lifetime, as a U.S. speed skater in the 1980 Winter
Olympics, Heiden won all five gold medals in his sport. Today he
is at the UC Davis Sports Medicine Clinic, teaching three days a
week and performing surgery two days. His wife, Karen, a hand
specialist, is also on the faculty there. The couple live in
Sacramento with their two children, Zoe, almost three, and
Conner, turning one. "I have no interest in being a celebrity,"
says Heiden, 46. "It's tough to live up to what people want you
to be; I'm just as proud of what I do now as I am of what I did
earlier in my life."
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BURGESS DR. WHO? A golden boy operates in anonymity.
B/W PHOTO: GEORGE TIEDEMANN/GT IMAGES