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Wildmooshalle now bears his name

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Von: Guido Verstegen

Paul Barth. © Verstegen

The sport of judo and Gröbenzell are inextricably linked to the work of Paul Barth. The Wildmooshalle now bears the name of the Olympic bronze medalist at the memorable 1972 Games in Munich.

The 77-year-old spoke to the Tagblatt about the anniversary – as well as his personal memorial.

The Olympic anniversary has felt like we have been with us everywhere and everywhere over the past few months. Have you started your own personal journey through time?

It’s nice to experience it all again. But it was actually a bit much. There were other great Olympics, like in Mexico in 1968, but they are more or less forgotten.

Were you at the big 50th anniversary commemoration?

I wanted to, but couldn’t – I had to go to school for our grandchild. The family overruled me and it went up to Oldenburg.

Great love and heavy blow of fate

When Paul Barth looks back at the 1972 Olympics, this view is firmly linked to an encounter that changed his life in a different way: Shortly before the games, during a course in Switzerland, he met his Evi in ​​the disco in the evening: “Love on the first glance!” The couple got married in a church in Gröbenzell 50 years ago. It experienced many ups and downs. At the age of 17, one of the two sons had a fatal accident while on vacation. Barth himself suffered a heart attack while climbing Vesuvius in 2017 and was in a coma for five months. “It was a long road back to life,” says the 77-year-old.

At home he proudly presents his Olympic medal and the Bavarian Lion. “Not everyone got it, I’ve noticed that in the meantime – but the sons of Franz-Josef Strauss were in judo training with me at TSV Großhadern at the time. And his wife Marianne always brought and picked them up, so I knew them very well.”

You had won your bronze medal four days before the attack on the Israeli team. In your opinion, was it the right decision not to cancel the games?

Absolutely! That was an important sign that made it clear: ‘We won’t let ourselves get down!’ Of course I was out of breath during the games, I couldn’t enjoy it all anymore. But if my struggles had come first, the trappings wouldn’t have mattered to me. Then I would have thrown myself into it, it probably wouldn’t have made any difference to me as an athlete who’s been working towards this moment for so long.

Did you sit in the stadium at the European Championships and enjoy the great atmosphere there?

I watched that on TV. That was a beautiful thing. Also with the idea of ​​holding the competitions in public places – I’m just thinking of the climbers on Königsplatz…

…the whole thing was something from 1972, when the dressage riders fought for the medals in front of the picturesque backdrop of Nymphenburg Palace. You have collected everything to do with the 1972 games over many years and have finally found a suitable buyer in the Munich City Museum, who will exhibit your more than 1300 memorabilia. How does that feel?

I’m very happy about that, there’s a lot of work involved, I kept a book on every single object and recorded the information. Everything was there – from the plexiglass part of the roof construction to the information sign from the dentist, who had his practice in the Olympic village at the time.

Olympic javelin champion Klaus Wolfermann donated his official training suit to the museum. You two have not lost sight of each other over the years. How did that happen?

At that time I organized a football team made up of Olympic participants, which played all over Bavaria. My thought was always that we have to do something that brings the athletes together. That they don’t only come together at the Olympics, but that they know each other and push each other. And over the years, a real clique has formed.

In 1979 you moved to Gröbenzell. You founded the judo department in 1.SC Gröbenzell back in 1973. Today there are around 200 members. How do you see the current development?

Corona has messed everything up in recent years. It didn’t leave the judoka unscathed either, but they’re recovering. And the two women at the top (Christa Frey, 1st board and Margit Dippold, 2nd board, editor’s note) are doing great. In the teams, too, it’s more the girls who lead the way.

What will it be like for you in the future when you enter the Paul-Barth-Halle?

To be honest, I’m a little embarrassed. When I set up the department, many friends helped me a lot. Like Gerd Egger, for example, who lives in Eichenau today. Or Gerhard Steidele. If you have top trainers, the youngsters learn much faster, so you save a lot of time. And if I think about it, the hall could also be named after the mayor at the time, Eicke Götz, who ultimately made sure that the triple gymnasium was built. But of course I feel very honored and also see it as a kind of challenge.

In what way?

Apart from the fact that I have now bought another judo suit because I gave the other one away and want to go out on the mat more myself because of my muscles, I would like to pass on my knowledge more, I observe a team from time to time, could give the coaches tips or analyze the weaknesses of their own athletes. So I could give something back.

You can find more current news from the district of Fürstenfeldbruck at Merkur.de/Fürstenfeldbruck.

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