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Siegfried Siggi, Sigi WENTZ, Deutschland, GER, BRD, links, 2. Platz, Leichtathletik, Leichtathlet, Zehnkampf, Zehnkaempfer, jubelt zusammen mit Torsten VOSS, DDR, GDR, 1. Platz, Weltmeister, bei der Leichtathletik-WM in Rom, 04.09.1987, *** Siegfried Siggi, Sigi WENTZ, Germany, GER, BRD, left, 2 place, athletics, track and field, decathlon, decathlete, cheers together with Torsten VOSS, GDR, GDR, 1 place, World Champion, at the World Championships in Athletics in Rome, 04 09 1987,  (IMAGO / Sven Simon)

Reunification in sports – ‘It’s better to talk about false expectations’

The reunification of Germany was 31 years ago. On 3 October 1990, the sports systems of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic were merged. Above all, the FRG hoped to advance the medal tables with the sporting potential of the East, said sports historian Jutta Braun in Dlf. “And it seemed to be true when for the first time ever the Federal Republic managed to take first place on the medal list at the first General German Winter Games in Albertville in 1992. And of course that led to the consideration of whether you also could not adapt the building blocks of East German sport. “.

It didn’t work. According to Braun, one can still see “the traces of East German sport in the West German sport system”. However, this “generally cannot be imitated”.

“Sports have a different cultural significance”

At the Olympics in Tokyo, the German team performed worse than at any time since reunification. In terms of sports, according to Brown, there is ambition to return to the 1992 level, but the importance of the Olympic Games has changed. “It used to be the scene of conflict between East and West, not only the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, but of course also the Soviet Union and the United States. That no longer exists,” she said. “Nowadays, people are more concerned with issues of sustainability and environmental protection. So I think that sport, culturally, has simply changed its status.”

(Coalition photo/SVEN SIMON | SVEN SIMON)German reunification – act of appropriation
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, there was a federation of sports teams again. Mathematical systems were also incorporated – despite very different mathematical philosophies.

German German sports history also contains problematic aspects. There was state regulated doping in the German Democratic Republic. Regular steroids have also been used in the Federal Republic of Germany. All this has not yet been fully addressed. However, Brown said there are other consequences of the athletic unit not being taken into account. “Let me remind you of the Ost Golden Plan, by which sports facilities in the former GDR were renovated for 15 years. 17 billion was spent simply to compensate for the fact that the GDR devoted much less money to popular sports.”

‘Football clubs have undergone transformation shock’

However, Brown did not want to talk about big mistakes in the sports federation. “Maybe it would be better to talk about false expectations,” she said. “So in Olympic sport you were hoping to be able to take over the sports dictatorship in parts. It didn’t work because you can’t take it over.” “It is completely different in football. The clubs experienced a real transformation shock. They suddenly had to switch from state and corporate sport to self-financing, to marketing, to self-organization. And not many of them succeeded. Fewer mistakes, but small developments in German unity, as We saw in other areas which of course made it very difficult to get into the unified German sport.”

Brown doubts whether the East-West relationship in sport can be coordinated in the future. “For example, I would refer to the level of regulation, which is still much lower in the East than in the old federal states. It is controversial why. It is also an open question whether there should be a hundred percent alignment here at all or What if one also cannot afford a difference in unity.”