As the most successful paracycler (cyclist with disabilities) of the past decade (2011 – 2020) and the most successful individual athlete in the Summer Paralympics in Team Germany Paralympics, I lived the dream for Tokyo 2020, since last March for Tokyo 202ONE.
After weighing up the arguments for and against my personal participation, after intensive discussions with those responsible in my Paracycling Team Germany and many good conversations with people who are very important to me from sport, church, friends, athletes representatives and politics, my family and myself came to the decision – I will not actively participate at the Paralympics in Tokyo 2021.
The long-time chairman of the sports committee in german house of representatives, member Dagmar Freitag (SPD) said that it was simply irresponsible to hold on to the Olympic Games (and the Paralympics) in Tokyo this year.
Many active and former athletes express themselves even more clearly, from “athletes sold by sponsors for shows”, “not willing to risk my health for a commercial medal” to “Olympia moves away by holding on to the games more and more about the ideals of the athletes and the sport itself ”.
My ParaSportSupport team and I would of course have preferred if this difficult decision had been made for us – more transparency and honesty in sports policy would certainly have helped a lot.
At the end, the decisive factor is that the health and socio-political situation makes it impossible for me to participate.
It doesn’t fit into my model of life or my christian values – other tasks are currently required, locally and for the common good.
Global Athlet spokesman Rob Koehler said it is time to show attitudes.
I don’t want to get into irrelevant discussions, even at the Paracycling World Cup in Oostende / Belgium, which was officially canceled by the german association, voices in the team were loud: „If you want to be successful in sport, you have to be prepared to take risks to a certain extent“ – I strongly disagree, the health of the participating athletes, the supervisors and responsible persons accompanying us must come first.