Gold Durst – Without a Cherry Blossom Dream 202ONE
Anyone who knows my fighting heart and my passion for the fascination of tricycle sports will have an inkling of how difficult this decision will be for me – my personal decision not to participate in the Summer Paralympics in Tokyo 2021.
As the Reigning World Champion, This is not a Rescission from Active Competitive Sport – It is My Conscious Way.
In many conversations, phone calls and meetings, my ParaSportSupport team and myself we worked out the “pro / contra” arguments, weighed them up and now decided based on inner conviction.
Since the “Golden Moments” at the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016, we in the team have been working hard towards the 3rd participation.
In 2018 and 2019 with some health setbacks, 3 operations – but the goal was never lost – the health-related non-participation at the Paracycling World Championships 2018 – but gave me as an interested spectator on site in Maniago, Italy a completely different insight into our sport for the first time – the joy of the performances shown by my sports mates from all over the world was balm on my athlete’s soul and at the same time motivation for the World Cup 2019 in Emmen/Netherlands – the 9th world championship title showed everyone who hesitated that our team is on the right track.
For Me the Team Spirit Criterias Were the Highest Hurdles in the Decision-Making Process.
5 intensive years together in the ParaSportSupport team around my “success-guarantee” coach Robert Pawlowsky, with graduate psychologist and mental coach Grit Moschke, fitness trainer Andrej Dejn, the holistic physiotherapy plan at Tesfaldet Zemichael, balanced nutrition advice from Sabine Andreas and last but not least with my mobility hero and for 36 years the woman at my side Ulrike Durst.
5 years of mostly joy-oriented cycling work – in the end without the hoped-for reward – and I also mean that in monetary terms – no trainer boni – no shared participant boni.
5 years of sport-specific partnership at, with and through the two institutes of sport in our county North Rhine-Westphalia in Cologne and in Dortmund – always an open ear, targeted diagnostics, sports medical support – always the right answers and, in the best sense of the word, team spirit – at the end without the hope for reward.
5 years in Team Germany Paralympics – goal-oriented association work – comprehensive organization – active media support by the central offices and their motivating employees: inside the German Disabled Sports Association – national paralympic committee – at the end without the hope for reward.
5 years of targeted support and always very personal support from Deutsche Sporthilfe and the Federal Ministry of Defense – top-class sport in german army – at the end without the desired reward.
5 years in the Paracycling Team Germany – the national cycling team for athletes with disabilities – trust and versatile support from national coach Patrick Kromer until the end of 2018 and Tobias Bachsteffel from january 1st, 2019 and their teams – right in the middle of this team my discoverer and noble helper Hermann Frey – always great physiotherapy and medical care in the training camps, courses and competitions – and in the end without the hope for reward.
5 years in a team with my partners and supporters – without whom I would not have been able to practice the sport as a real amateur at any time – cycling-specific material, mobility, training camps, cycling clothing, cycling helmets and the best material for a successful review – at the end without the hope for reward.
5 years of cheering, motivating and yet again and again „neglected“ friends, family and companions – at the end without the hope of joy and reward on site at the Fuji Circuit.
I Ask Everyone in Personal Conversations for Understanding, where It Has Already Happened, I Thank You for the Shown Sympathy.
The cancellation of my participation at the Paralymics in Tokyo 2021 – the end of the Dortmund project „Konnichiwa Tokyo 2020 – Machikirenai !!!“ with patron Ullrich Sierau, retired mayor of the city Dortmund is based on my firm belief – World Sports Games, Olympic or Paralympic, live from the cooperation of the athletes inside, from international fair performance measurement, from the interactive exchange of fans, athletes on site with the hosts.
It should be happy days together, it’s not just about “higher, further, faster” – the Olympic slogan “being there is great” should be the credo.
I Try to Explain My Personal Rejection with Main 3 Reasons
A large part of Japan has been living for months under emergency regulations, sustained increases in the number of infections, overcrowded intensive care units, and clinics that are overloaded across borders.
Despite this more than tense situation, the IOC and the JOK are demanding more than 10,000 people to hold the games – medical staff – nurses – sports doctors – medical professionals.
Plus valuable resources such as medical equipment and facilities.
The in-depth petition “Cancel the Olympic Games (and Paralympics) to save our lives” was signed by nearly 500,000 people in just a few days.
The local hospital doctors complain that people repeatedly died at home while they were waiting for hospital beds, and that the health system is currently completely overloaded.
In addition, only 2% of the Japanese population have so far been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The lockdown, which was originally scheduled to run until May 11, was initially extended to May 31, 2021. Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared for the first time this week that he would never have had the Summer Games in his focus, health and life were always priority to protect the Japanese people.
The symbols of peace before the games and the historical torch relay are largely canceled out of fear and responsibility in the respective cities.
Then there are the real catastrophes in countries like India, Nepal, Africa – more and more new mutants are making the sustainable decline in the number of infections and thus also the many dead people more difficult – in countries like England, which were supposedly „through“, the number of infections is currently rising again dramatically who have favourited indian mutant raging.
Respect To The Host Country.
Several serious surveys in Japan came to the conclusion that the vast majority (around 80%) of the population are great sports fans, but due to fear of further consequences such as a renewed increase in infections, further lockdown and emergency measures and other consequences for a cancellation of the Olympic Games and the Paralympics is.
A petition, as mentioned above, is also unequivocally for the cancellation of the games, it is currently not the time for such a major event in Japan.
For these and other reasons, the German and European Ethics Council recommends a rejection.
Professor Dr. Buyx explains that we are stuck in the worst wave of the pandemic worldwide, new virus mutants are making even the safety of „vaccination“ a daring hope. In addition, the prioritization of potential participants in the World Games is to be assessed more than critically.
The vaccination goals are still clearly health-oriented worldwide and focused on the pandemic and the sustaining of our lives. The fact that there are athletes who have trained for their entire life to take part in the Olympic Games or the Paralympics is unfortunately still completely irrelevant in this context.
Since all the events that stimulate international travel are really difficult, Australia and New Zealand show which way can be successful.
The situation in Japan is more than worrying – unfortunately there is no end seeing in the tunnel – the virus continues to rage, unchecked and with full force.
The 10,000 volunteers will not be vaccinated and will not receive any FFP2 masks due to the expected high temperatures from July, only 3-layer masks in Olympic blue.
I want to respect the intentions of the Japanese people.
A Small Sign of Solidarity
As an athlete, I am human too.
Many of my friends, good acquaintances, also international partners, supporters and sponsors are increasingly struggling in this pandemic with their livelihoods, which have often been built up over generations.
Cuisiniers, caterer, hoteliers, food & beverage suppliers – artists, cabaret, theater – sports event organizers, agencies, fair organizers.
Billions of taxpayers‘ money is raised in the form of catch-ups – I don’t feel like happy games without my family, without my friends, without the partners and supporters who always accompany me – the flights, hotels and sightseeing that have been booked have already been completely canceled.
Churches remain closed, schools and kindergartens open and close again at irregular intervals.
My sports comrades in the army have been and will continue to be sent to work in corona hot spots – at the expense of their lives and their health – currently in India, in advance in Portugal.
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.
Why the Cancellation at This Point In Time, why Not Wait a Little Longer for Further Developments.
As a fair team player, I think the date is right less than 100 days before our opening ceremony in Tokyo – so I give my national coach and the nomination committee in germany the opportunity to fill my starting place with another promising medal candidate – if I have my way, of course it would be great to join my friend and tricycle colleague Maximilian Jäger – reigning German champion and vice world champion on the road and in the individual time trial since 2019.
Perhaps, as currently oldest active athlete in the Team Germany Paralympics this conscious decision not to participate in the World Games for people with disabilities in Tokyo 2021 can give me a little courage – in personal conversations, many athletes and coaches express themselves increasingly skeptical.
However, because of possible consequences, do not dare to take this difficult step of personal rejection.
So I say thank you for the incredibly intense 5 years in the project „Konnichiwa Tokyo 2020 – Machikirenai !!!“ – I would like to have been active in the Germany Paralympics team for more golden moments in the land of cherry blossoms, in my fascination with sport for people with disabilities.
It’s not a retirement from competitive sport – my preparations for the upcoming Paracycling European Championships in Upper Austria and the World Championships in Portugal in June are corona-compliant with a lot of targeted training at home in and around Dortmund – and who knows, in 3 years the Paralympics will take place in the city of love – Paris 2024 combined with the hope that the world will have survived the corona challenges and the pandemic in terms of health and economy.