In the former GDR, doping went far beyond top-class sport and was usually associated with political repression. This should prove an investigation published on Tuesday, which is based on files of the doping processes initiated after reunification. “The subject of sport was not a free space, but one of state security and state coercion – more or less due to success, but always ignorant of whether the border was crossed,” said Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (Die Linke) at the presentation of the von Study in Erfurt commissioned by the Thuringian State Chancellery and the State Sports Association.
A team of historians from the Center for German Sports History Berlin-Brandenburg examined the people involved, mechanisms and overall social circumstances. The researchers led by Jutta Braun and René Wiese were less concerned with the question of whether the athletes in question knowingly doped and more with the overall socio-political context. Focusing on the question of doping “does not do justice to the complexity of the historical events,” said Braun, adding: “Those responsible knew that they were violating the Medicines Act. They knew that they were playing with life Completely irrelevant to athletes because it shouldn’t have happened anyway.”
It is also important that the number of people affected, some of whom are still suffering from the physical and psychological after-effects, is significantly higher than is often assumed. The connecting squad in particular was used as a “test rabbit” – since 1984 even according to state instructions. “They had to be used to ensure that no valuable Olympians were harmed in the course of risky drug tests,” said Braun, who repeatedly emphasized “that apparently everyone involved felt a systemic pressure”.
The GDR acted “integrated into an international system of sports fraud,” explained Braun. There was no “islanding,” but rather a co-operation between the Soviet Union and its satellites that arose out of pressure, as well as “clandestine paling” between the two German states, which was opposed to the Cold War. The knowledge gained should not only be published as a scientific paper, but also serve as a guide and legal support in the future. The results will also be presented as part of the “My Sport. My Soul. My Art.” art exhibition that opened on Wednesday. shown in the Thuringian state parliament.