Frank Ullrich, member of the German Bundestag and chairman of its sports committee, is increasing doubts about his integrity by dealing with his past. On Monday, the 1980 Olympic biathlon champion and later coach of both the GDR team and the all-German national team claimed to the dpa news agency that a report from former constitutional judge Udo Steiner exonerated him from the suspicion of having once administered doping substances to athletes.
A day later he appears to be a deceiver or trickster: the renowned expert only checked whether the commission that exculpated Ullrich in 2009 worked properly. In his one-and-a-half-page-long expert report, which was intended to serve as self-assurance for the German Ski Association, Steiner quotes the telling sentence from the commission’s report from that time that Ullrich had “arranged things for himself in an unconsciously controlled repression mechanism” with regard to the allocation of doping substances that they were merely training aids”.
Back then, this formulation was a barely concealed request that Ullrich take a critical look at his role. At the latest when the SPD politician defeated the CDU candidate Hans-Georg Maaßen in his Thuringian constituency in September 2021 and moved into the House of Representatives in Berlin, he should have remembered this.
When, in gross misunderstanding of the explosiveness of the issue and the stubbornness of the person, the leadership of the SPD parliamentary group made Ullrich chairman of the sports committee, the dilemma of ongoing mental repression became apparent: Ullrich had to forego the position reserved for the chairman of the committee To take a seat on the supervisory board of the National Anti-Doping Agency NADA in order to avoid a scandal.
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Now it still stands there damaged. The SED victims’ representative in the Bundestag, Evelyn Zupke, accuses Ullrich of having deceived her. Fifteen months ago, he promised her in the sports committee that he would have a report drawn up that would clarify his role in relation to doping. She gave him questions to ask and recommended a well-known historian for his work.
How he now tried to present the expertise that Professor Steiner prepared for the ski association as this report and use it for his purposes, how he refuses to make the expertise of the victims’ representative available (according to their representation), can be interpreted as an indication of this that he is still not ready to have his role examined by an expert.
This is not only harmful for MP Ullrich, but also discredits the Sports Committee of the German Bundestag, which he leads. With malicious calculation, the opposition MPs leave the effort to their colleagues from the traffic light parties to persuade Ullrich to step down as chairman of the committee. Both sides know that the longer Ullrich stays in office, the greater the damage will be.