Germany has little hope of winning many Olympic medals | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 18.04.2012
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Germany has little hope of winning many Olympic medals

The London 2012 Olympic Games will kick off in less than 100 days on July 27. Although the German Olympic Sports Confederation is worried about the team disciplines, the goal is clear: as many medals as in 2008.

With fewer than 100 days to the start of the London Olympic Games, the head of the German Olympic team, Michael Vesper, is optimistic.

"Of course, we're a bit nervous - we're in the middle of preparations," he said.

So far, 244 German athletes have qualified to compete. "We're counting on about 400 athletes," said Thomas Bach, president of the German Olympic Sports Confederation.

Hockey team on board

But Bach can't hide the association's concern about the team disciplines. It's an issue, he said, "but it won't have any influence on the team's spirits or success."

So far only the German hockey team is on board, and it has high hopes of winning a medal. There will be no German participation - neither men nor women - in the other team sports, such as basketball, soccer, water polo and handball. The handball team failed to qualify, and the volleyball team has yet to qualify.

Germany will be represented with far fewer athletes than ever before.

The bar is high for the German Olympic team. "We aim to be among the world's best," said Bach.

Lena Schoeneborn

Lena Schöneborn won a gold medal in Beijing

In Beijing, the team won 16 gold, 10 silver and 15 bronze medals. Four years ago, Germany ranked number five based on medals. The top German medal winner was the pentathlete Lena Schöneborn, who has already qualified for the London games and can't wait for them to begin, especially the opening ceremony.

"The feeling among the athletes was great – it was as if we had always known each other," she said. "That's how we felt when we marched into the stadium. That was just as emotional as the awards ceremony."

Most athlete-friendly

It will be a tightly structured athletic event, with short distances to travel for the athletes, according to Vesper. He referred to the Olympic Village in London as one of the best and most athlete-friendly ever. It looks more like a city housing development, he said.

And that is exactly what it will become after the games," he said. "The development is an excellent example of sustainability in sporting events. There, in East London, a new district is emerging and an existing district is being massively upgraded."

And will the Germans walk away with many medals? Bach sees excellent opportunities with the equestrians, the canoeists, the scullers and the hockey team. "The competition is fiercer than ever," he said.

Never before – not even during the Cold War – has more money and know-how been invested into international competitive sports, according to Bach.

"It will be a very tight field," he said. "But we're optimistic."

Author: Olivia Fritz / jrb
Editor: Neil King

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