Olympic Spirit Shines Through as Germany Boosts Belgium | News and current affairs from Germany and around the world | DW | 15.02.2006
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Olympic Spirit Shines Through as Germany Boosts Belgium

Sportsmanship is one thing but taking part in an Olympic discipline for the glory of another country is taking it to the extreme. It's not exactly what's happened but the Germans are certainly giving Belgium a hand.


Germany's Martina Glagow won the biathlon bronze ... for Belgium?

Belgian biathlon fans were celebrating a bronze medal at the winter Olympics this week despite the fact that they have no competitors in the competition and the recipient of the medal, Martina Glagow, was actually German.

In fact, Belgium stands to win a whole clutch of medals in Turin, specifically in the biathlon and Nordic skiing disciplines, because of a mix up in kit which places around 30 German athletes in the wrong camp.

Due to mistakes made in German sportswear giant adidas's Far East factories, German skiers have to wear caps in Belgian national colors during the first week of the games.

Far East mess-up has Germans representing Belgium

Flagge Belgien

The Belgian flag: Not too dissimilar to the German one

The confusion in the Orient has led to the Belgian flag -- horizontal blocks of black-yellow-red -- replacing the German flag -- horizontal black-red-gold stripes -- on the athletes' official kit.

"We regret this technical mistake and do apologize to all athletes," adidas spokesperson Jan Runau said in a statement, adding that caps with the right colors would now be produced but would not arrive until next week.

The Belgian team, which consists of just five athletes -- all of whom are taking part in skating disciplines -- have yet to comment. They must be very pleased at the prospect of their country doing very well in the first week's skiing events, especially as they don't have anyone featuring in them.

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