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Leo Neugebauer und Anna Elendt suchen ihren Weg an die Weltspitze über Stipendien in den  USA. Foto: imago/ZUMA Wire, Laci Perenyi

Fostering young talent: This is why German athletes train for track and field in the US

Leo Neugebauer and Anna Elendt are searching for their way to the top of the world with scholarships in the USA. Photo: Imago/Zuma Wire, Lacey Perini


At the World Championships in Eugene, German track and field athletes performed poorly. Is this due to the promotion of competitive sports in Germany?

The poor performance of German athletes in track and field in Eugene (USA) once again raises questions about performance enhancement and compatibility of competitive sport and training in the German Athletics Federation (DLV). More and more young athletes are looking for an alternative way with a scholarship in the USA. Simon Stutzel of Karlsruhe, a feud among national leaders, says that sends several hundred German high school graduates and competing athletes to more than 50 universities each year with US-mediated scholarships.

“The big advantage is that after their career, the athletes also bring a university degree with them when they return to Germany,” says Stutzel, noting a huge advantage in the profession. For many people, sports and studies are more closely linked than in this country. Physical proximity to training facilities, lecture halls, and residential areas on campus is a very important feature of the system at universities there.

The University of Texas gives $250 million in sports funding alone

The University of Texas at Houston is one of the top sports titles out of more than 4,000 US universities. This spends $250 million on sports funding alone, roughly equivalent to the Federal Ministry of the Interior (about €300 million) in Germany on sports.

At the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, the “Longhorns” of Texas won nine medals in athletics alone, five of them gold. DLV Athletes: Three. Coaches are the highest earners in the United States, with half a million euros in income, and Germans earn a tenth of that, says Stutzel. It is clear that money makes quality.

Two talents from Germany, Leo Neugebauer (decathlon from Linfelden Echterding) and Anna Allendt (swim from Frankfurt) dared to jump to Austin/Texas in the US two years ago. “I have the best conditions here, I get the best support possible,” said the 21-year-old Neugebauer. Their daily routine is very similar: getting up at 5.30 am, first training until 9 am, 10 am to 1 pm in the lecture hall, training again from 3 pm, online courses or homework in the evening. Elendt’s father was in the United States for a year and was able to pass on his experiences. Strength training sets also promote performance development. The breaststroke now swam three German records and made a splash at the World Swimming Championships in Budapest as Vice World Champion. Her environment believes that she has become more self-confident in the United States and has already matured as a character.



Neugebauer is the best German of the year, ahead of world champion Kaul

With 8,362 points, which he scored a few weeks ago at the League Championships in Eugene, Leo Neugbauer is the best German of the year ahead of world champion Niklas Kaul (Mainz). “It’s really great to come here as the ninth best player in the world,” he showed no concern. “Of course, the World Cup is the highlight of my career so far, it has always been my dream to start for Germany,” he says excitedly about his fresh start in Eugene this weekend.

Both young people have the same dream: the dream of the next Olympic Games in Paris in 2024. “The path through scholarships is a good opportunity to reach the top of the world like Elendt and Neugebauer,” says Simon Stutzel. While the German Swimming Federation (DSV) has opened up on this path, the German Athletics Federation is still dominated by skepticism and rejection. Two of the reasons are the uncoordinated planning of competition in the USA and in this country as well as the overload due to many university beginnings.

The educational dimension of competitive athletes is not an unimportant aspect of the athletic and personal development of young people. “Team spirit, which is very visible in American universities, is of great value from an pedagogical point of view,” says Fred Eberle (Schwbisch Gmund), who has been the educational conscience of DLV for many years. for life.”

There are many ways to get there.