95th birthday of Heinz Florian Oertel: lion with bee diligence (

Things have calmed down around Heinz Florian Oertel in recent years.

Photo: dpa/Bernd von Jutrczenka

game can do anything. Game is a permit issued by the Romance. Schiller was the most euphoric: Only in the game is man – a man. Poet’s word builds bridges to Heinz Florian Oertel, the virtuoso of the word game, the spoken sports report. On the radio from Nalepastrasse, on TV from Adlershof. Yes, his style shimmered, and Oertel shimmered with it. Not a reporter, an event narrator. Plump florality. Memorable and carefully cultivated: the sonorous, oscillating, humming, humming, almost singing, vocally rich and “r” rolling tone. Lots of pathos and sermons, a bit of art and sometimes kitsch.

Yes and? What can be said against kitsch? It is total opposition to the boring reality, it reveals the power of self-aggrandizement, and that is life’s most beautiful gift, it is the opposite of the even limpness we all share. Oertel, constantly on the move, rested in the self-confidence of the extraordinary, lucky character. Prudence through specialness. His journalistic dream must have been the empathetic society; journalistic information was the raw material for sentences entirely out of friendliness. Be kind: in the toughest competition, in relentless competition.

He shone into anything that allowed him to be an occurrence. He balanced with words as if he were playing with building blocks – and liked to put them on edge. Where they collapsed, sometimes meadows of style flowers grew. But this too was a contribution to the diversity of the world. Better in any case than the dry dust areas of all those who lack journalism. It was a storytelling machine: always wound up, always spring-loaded. “You can swim against the tide even if you don’t have a full head of hair,” he said with a smile. His presence compelled others to admit their mediocrity. The mediocre take offense at that.

Oertel saw her box, shoot, run and jump. Teofilo Stevenson and Manfred Wolke, Pelé and Johan Cruyff, Lasse Viren and Carl Lewis, Bob Beamon and Ingrid Krämer-Gulbin. Katharina Witt’s “Carmen” on the ice triggered only one wish in the always so eloquently eloquent: “silence, silence, silence”. And then it bubbled. His first, early book was called: “Around the world with the sports microphone”. He was a deputy Marco Polo to millions of GDR citizens. He entered the continents for us. Some were grateful, others jealous, others full of resentment. By the way, who really liked him was Rudi Dutschke – who also wanted to be a sports reporter.

Oertel also spoke of GDR athletes as “diplomats in tracksuits.” But that wasn’t just the slogan of a state struggling for recognition, no, it carried us away, it nourished our natural closeness to worship; This created a desire for identification in many people that was so constructive that those in power were calmly allowed to misunderstand the enthusiasm of the population as a pure ideological commitment. Long ago. In the meantime, the principle of a major event has often lost its attraction. Sport as a way of shaping national consciousness has long been suffering from a chronic attack of weakness; in general it seems to have become impossible for the general pursuit of achievement to produce unbroken feelings.

Beautiful Truth: Enthusiasm drugs language; sometimes the high is the only thing. Dance across lawns and running tracks: the surface may be sport, but the underground is art. At Oertel it sounded like this: “One would like to cling to the hands of history to stop the clocks!” That was his shout of joy when Waldemar Cierpinski became Olympic marathon champion for the first time in 1976 in Mexico City. »Dear young fathers perhaps or aspiring ones, have courage: Feel free to call your newcomers today Waldemar!« The most famous sentence from that live report, since Cierpinski won the Olympic marathon for the second time in Moscow in 1980.

Oertel casually carried the invisible bag over his shoulder, well filled with the sugar that he liked to give the monkey. A comedian reveling in his performance. He stepped onto the concrete of propaganda like a trampoline. His diligence hummed Shakespeare: “Let me play the lion too.” He was the man of the world in the corner. The emcee in the party language seminar. Who invented the Berlin New Year’s Run and was an eloquent advocate of mass sports – which did not necessarily please the high officials of the German Gymnastics and Sports Federation who were craving for success.

Oertel was born in Cottbus in 1927 and was taken prisoner of war by the British as a sailor. At that time, crash courses shaped the way to peace: actors, teachers, reporters. From 1952 he became a commentator on almost all international sporting highlights. Is 17 times “GDR television darling”. Moderates the “Kessel Buntes”, leads through the popular radio show “He, he, he – Sport an der Spree”. And through TV hit shows. sing yourself He hangs on the drop of melancholy of the hit like on a gym rope. And more than 250 times it was said in Adlershof: “Portrait by phone” – Oertel as talk host. He wrote columns in the “Lausitzer Rundschau”, in the “Berliner Zeitung”, in the “BZ am Abend”. A life entirely according to the philosophy of the columnist Erich Friedell: Artists and people unite in dilettantes. In the middle of the scientists: Dr. re. pole. Oertel.

He polarized with chatter, which sometimes took on the patriotic side. His jubilation wore black red gold with hammer, compass, wreath of corn. His exuberance wanted the trick: preferably nailing the flag to the clouds! All of this up until December 31, 1991: he reads the sports news for the last time on Berlin Radio at 6 p.m. Whistle without overtime. After the end of the GDR, the experience of all the changing times hit him too: Suddenly there was far less cheering than the deafening hearing just a moment ago. But Oertel never turned his astonishment, and probably also his hurt, into bitterness. Style is style. He wrote books: “The devil”, “Thank God”, “Hallelujah for hypocrites” – pamphlets against the moral and linguistic failure of a cold, greedy society.

Victories have lost their good reputation to what spoils them: finances, doping, lobbying – and to the hand that washes the other until dirt turns to gold. People like to call it sneaky: clean conditions. But there will still be a frenzy of joy in competitive sport, and the extravagantly bacchanalian may not be expelled from human nature. Because experiences don’t work if you constantly reproach your enthusiasm and stop dreaming without reason.

Sport is such a blissful, unreasonable daydream: battles and struggles in competition are words that belong to peace no longer to war, as are concepts such as victory and defeat. Sport is and may be good-natured trust in the fact that there are strong and weak, but that something can develop without Darwinism.

Heinz Florian Oertel, reporter legend of the 20th century, mastered his craft and also an art of his heart: to praise winners in such a way that the rare also resonated equally, namely the praise of the last, no, even nicer and even rarer: the praise of the penultimate. This Sunday, HFO, a great last, first in his guild, will be 95 years old.



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