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Germany ditches rower over 'neo-Nazi lover'

Published: 03 Aug 2012 11:03 GMT+02:00

Nadja Drygalla, 23, left after a long conversation with German Olympic officials about the allegations that her boyfriend was a leading member of the “Rostock National Socialists” and had fought a state election for a neo-Nazi party.

“Ms Drygalla declared at the end of our conversation that she would leave the Olympic village in order not to be a burden for the Olympic team. The German Rowing Association welcomes this decision,” said Michael Vesper chef de Mission of the German Olympic Association.

The rumours had also led to Drygalla leaving her training position with the police, Die Welt newspaper reported on Friday.

Vesper said the rower had distanced herself from far-right ideas during their 90-minute conversation with the rower, which he described as very emotional.

And although he was not fighting for her to remain, Die Welt reported that Vesper said what was important was her position, not that of anyone else. “I have no doubts that she not only stands for the German constitution but also Olympic values,” he said.

“She explained things from her point of view. I made clear to her the problem. We spoke intensely about the whole development and also discussed her opinions,” he said.

And he stressed that it would be unfair to define people by those around them. It was not his job to investigate the relationships of athletes, he added – but welcomed Drygalla’s early departure from the Olympics.

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:14 August 3, 2012 by Repatriated
I'm trying to grasp the logic here...just because Ms Drygilla's boyfriend is a member of the Rostock National Socialist party she was therefore pressured to resign from the Olympic Rowing Team, a position that she has rightfully earned. Is there any criminal evidence against her, or is she just guilty by association?
12:22 August 3, 2012 by wenddiver
How awful!! every girl I ever dated was crazy, at least for part of the month, I sure wouldn't want to be responsible for them.

They should let her come back. We don't quetion the Chinese team's politics and Mao was the greatest mass murderer of the last century.

The rest of the World will see this for the over-reaction that it is. It probably say more about the politicians than the rower.
12:48 August 3, 2012 by hailpantani
I personally think this is a disgrace. It's guilt by association. Nadja cannot be held responsible for her partner's beliefs. I love my brother but I don't agree with certain of his political views.
12:52 August 3, 2012 by Zobirdie
This is atrocious. So she dated a douche. Why should she get kicked off the team? And to do it NOW... when she is there... that is just cruel and disgusting. If they had an issue with her love life, they should have had it before she got to the games. Have they proven that SHE is a nazi? They seem to categorically say she isnt. Truth be told, the German Olympic team shouldnt 'welcome' her leaving.. they should be ashamed that they were judge, jury and executioner on a young girl's dreams... simply because she associated with the wrong guy.

Furthermore.... they say he ran for a far right political party in Mec-vopom... so... he LEGALLY represented a LEGAL party in an election... exercising his democratic right... because this is supposedly a democracy...?
12:55 August 3, 2012 by Kennneth Ingle
So much for the claim of the Olympic games being free from political influence!

The German Rowing Association and Michael Vesper, boss of the German Olympic Association, should be ashamed of themselves. It is they who obviously do not understand what Olympic values are. Ms Drygalla¦#39;s early departure from the Olympics must be a reason of regret for all honest people. I wonder just how many convinced Communists are allowed to take part without any objection from the so-called Good People..
13:36 August 3, 2012 by steel jaws
The Brainwashing of three generations of Germans has resulted in the failure, for large number of people, to be able to think for themselves. There can be no other explanation, for Michael Vesper to welcome this discrimination against Ms. Drygalla

A country which calls itself democratic, but at the same time puts people into prison for using their international guaranteed right of free speech, cannot be trusted.

The more such stupid actions take place, the more pro-Nazi groups will be able to point at a political manipulation within sport organisations as well as the German judicial system.
13:43 August 3, 2012 by enginur81
This sort of mentality is exactly why neo-nazi groups still flourish in germany. Unless the problem is blatant it is swept under the rug. If you talk to anyone about germany they will say that the past is behind them and the mere mention of nazi'ism will have you fined and thrown in jail. However, I have visited germany several times and been approached or threatened by skin-heads on various occasions. One was so bold as to yell the Nazi salute from across the street.

I would have less of a problem if the boyfriend was a drug dealer or some other type of criminal. The problem with neo-nazi's is that it's a crime of ideals. Someone mentioned not faulting the Chinese for Mao's deeds. Most can say the same for Americans under the bush years, with the exception of Laura Bush. I'm sure the boyfriend has made comments about his beliefs. She may have even seen him act on them and done nothing. Even small things serve to legitimize these sorts of people and bring them closer to the mainstream. Just having an olympian date a neo-nazi shows that they have a place in german society as long as no one finds out. I think the olympic committee made the right decision. If Nadja Drygalla really does not subscribe to her boyfriends nationalist beliefs then I do feel sorry for her. If so her only crime would be naivety regarding the political importance of the olympics especially for a german team. I have a hard time believing that anyone is that naive or that no one warned her.
14:39 August 3, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Obviously there is more to the story...

Regular readers of the Local have probably determined that the root cause of this is that Vesper is circumcised. How else could he make such a decision?
15:23 August 3, 2012 by pjnt
Unbelievable. Makes me feel sick to think that this story is accurate. I hope Nadja eats puppies or drugs up to win and this is a quick cover to get rid of her. Otherwise prosecuting people for people they know creates a paranoid society. Just ask some paranoid communist fearing cold war Americans what horrible things they were capable of to people who knew questionable others.

15:30 August 3, 2012 by aslanleon
Whilte the National Socialists are a disgrace themselves, this evil action by the PC hordes is simply the flip side of the same coin.
15:47 August 3, 2012 by finanzdoktor
"Unfair to define people by those around them?????" And yet, that is exactly what they did. Two-tongued/faced, hypocritical, and shameful. What's next???
15:48 August 3, 2012 by catjones
Neo-Nazi 1, Free Thinking 0.

Nazi' get the gold.
15:56 August 3, 2012 by William Thirteen
16:11 August 3, 2012 by bernie1927
This is so unbelievably unfair to that poor girl who trained so hard. What does her friendship with a Neo-Nazi have to do with her right to participate? It shows the cowardice of Vesper and the German society in general. Shame on them.
16:21 August 3, 2012 by George Palmer
So this is democracy? Her boyfriends politics don't seem to be hers. Even if she shared his politics, so what. On this basis we might as well expell the entire North Korean team for being extremists not to mention China. This is all woolley jumpered, politically correct rubbish and totally unfair on the young lady involved. These idiots are everywhere.
18:22 August 3, 2012 by Jazzineva
From what I understand, there is an ongoing investigation and the verdict is not in on her association to the far right scene. However, the investigation itself taints the entire German Olympic team and I understand her leaving to save their honor. What I don't get is why she left police training for similar reasons. Could it be that her bottom line is she refuses to cut ties with neo-Nazis? Possibly. At this point I can neither condone that but it's too soon to condemn her. In the end, think she'd do a lot better to leave the former East and get a new start in more tolerant communities.
19:15 August 3, 2012 by JustAWhiteMom
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:16 August 3, 2012 by Beachrider
THIS report is half-a-story. German broadcaster DW has reported that she had previously left her job, under pressure, with the Mecklenburg-Western Pomeranian police force last year for marching in a Neo Nazi march, herself.

She has consciously made a decision about supporting Neo Nazi activities.

Other olympians from other countries have gone home on similar issues.

The ARE representing their country.
19:55 August 3, 2012 by henry1544

I agree 100%!

This is beyond ridiculous. Since when has party/political affilliation of athletes become a factor? What's next, banning devout christians from playing football? We see christian players pointing to the heavens after scoring, even muslims praying on the grass, and that's ok! But being proud of your country and heritage, now that's crossing the line!

She hasen't broken any laws, she actually took advantage of the laws given to her as a free citizen of a democratic country to express her opinions - and now she is being punished for it. Welcome back to the medieval times folks....soon we'll put these "heathens" on the stake and burn them!
19:59 August 3, 2012 by Beachrider
It is NOT about putting her in jail for breaking a law. That is HIDEOUS hyperbole.

It is about letting her stand as a symbol of Germany to the world.
20:14 August 3, 2012 by TRJ
Unbelievable is all the harpy whining from the commenters who are supporting her and trying to trick people into believing that she was somehow denied her rights or opportunities (good 'ol Nazi maneuver used many times in the 30's).

For the record-- SHE ROWED. AT THE OLYMPICS. AND FAILED. Her Olympics are over because they failed to qualify for the medal round. She was permitted to participate. Now they are sending her home a few days earlier which means she will be denied the debaucherous partying the Olympic Village is well known for. That's all. You people act like the foundations of Democracy are crumbling because she has been denied the oppportunity to party.

20:50 August 3, 2012 by Jerr-Berlin
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
21:19 August 3, 2012 by karldehm
Sounds like a case of discrimination to me. I'd sue the rowing federation for every thing they have.
21:57 August 3, 2012 by pfauder35
I cant believe that this poor girl has been subjected to this treatment by her own German Officials, where and when does it stop. I am sure there are many Olympic athlets that have boyfriends or girlfriends that may have links to certain political parties that are deemed to be unaceptable to certain people, but they have no right to punish others because they have a friend or a relative that is a nationalist, or a communist. In England we have Nazi parties , does that mean we have to investigate what athletes may have a friend or relative that may be a member of the Nazi party??????? If they win medals and represent their country who cares if they have a Nazi friend or a Commie friend or any political friend or relative. I thought Big Brother is watching you was dead.
22:56 August 3, 2012 by lwexcel
If she was dating the guy for only a month or so this would be a very harsh punishment. If not, if they have a long term relationship, then this means that she tolerates and in some cases supports his ideas. The plain fact of it is that people still remember what happened in Germany in the middle of the last century. When a majority of people around the world think of Germany only 3 images come to mind, bratwurst, beer, and Nazi's. Germans may take the time to entertain and even tolerate the ideals of the NPD, however this is something that is not accepted by the rest of the world. Being that this is an event in which she was chosen to represent Germany against teams coming from the rest of the world. It is appropriate that she step down and go home.
23:00 August 3, 2012 by wood artist
Guilt by association? This can't be much of anything else, and truly sad. If he's done something illegal, then by all means deal with him. Unless she has been shown to be a willing accomplice, I don't really see this. Her "training position" with the Police is a different issue, with different rules.

00:09 August 4, 2012 by yahma
Oh please... nobody forced her to pick a NEO-NAZI as a boyfriend. It was her decision alone. She's stupid to not think it wouldn't affect her. As an American, if I had a girlfriend who is a member of the taliban, it would be safe to assume you are just asking for trouble.

She should have used her brain a bit.
00:23 August 4, 2012 by Dennis Meredith
I was going to get serious and post a serious comment but, that would legitimize what's been done to this athlete. Germany, it is a sad day. When I saw how anyone who defended this girl was labeled "Nazi sympathizers" it's kind of obvious who decided she had to go and why.

I've been done with this corporate charade called the Olympics for a long time. Crap like this just convinces me what a wise decision it was.
00:30 August 4, 2012 by dejav
Agree with Yahma and TRJ!

Would you date a member of the taliban if you didnt believe in there values and what they stand for? NO! She's a moran for even giving a thought to dating such a person who has absolutely ridiculous ideologies. Theres no place in the world for people like that and obviously theres no place in an Olympic team for them either.

Plus who's to say she doesn't share the same opinions as her boyfriend? Maybe theres more to this story than what has actually been released. Maybe someone is trying to save her the embarrassment of being labelled a neo nazi as well? It would look pretty bad on the coaching staff and German olympic committee for allowing a neo nazi to compete in the games wouldn't it? At least now she can salvage whatever's left of her rowing career and get rid of the associated embarrassments around her.
04:13 August 4, 2012 by yuri_nahl
Wow! Germans still allow themselves to get led around by the WW II guilt manure pile left over from 70 years ago. It's a crock. As if the ghoulish behavior of the victors WW II has not surpassed the Nazis. Especially when you consider the hypocritical sanctimonious dung heap they shovel at the brain dead.
07:22 August 4, 2012 by German-American
Do you think if the female was black and had been a member of a group that called for the death of white children to atone for the wrongs of theor great-great grandparents do you think she would have been removed from the Team??? We all know the answer, in fact the German Govt would study how to make her proposal law within 10 years.
09:21 August 4, 2012 by b4stuttgart
Cut the crap some of you! She was already dismissed by her own German Police force for this "association". Her crew was already eliminated from Olympic competition. So other than as a tourist she really had no other official duties in London. She was not denied anything, nor did she loose any of her rights or privileges as a member of the team. Defending a persons right to associate with a hate group...really? Why not defend their victims instead? Not what I expect from a country representative.
09:31 August 4, 2012 by alf2
African American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos were banned from the 1968 Olympics in Mexico for doing the "black power" straight arm fist salute on the podium. The German rower did nothing of the sort.
11:44 August 4, 2012 by wenddiver
@Dejav- I would think dating a good looking taliban girl might just be just the thing for fixing the whole country. You could teach her about driving as a form of transportation instead of bombing, rock & roll, ladies mixed drinks, clubbing, lingerie, smoking, McDonald's Chicken McNuggets, Harley Davidsons, dancing, pizza, Girly things,the Olympics, etc, that should wreck their culture/ ideology forever. It worked in Germany, Japan and Italy at the end of World War II.

Leave her in the Olympics, maybe she'll learn something about other cultures she likes, instead of trying to force her with heavy handed PC Garbage. I think everybody is sick of the PC commisars who are everybit as intollerant the extreme right.

@Jerr Berlin- that's the best defence of the Commies kiliing field in Cambodia, since the cold war ended. Luckily, the US was stopped from preventing most of those masacres and the people can continue to live in fear. Sleep tight Stasi, you still have a few fans out there.
14:27 August 4, 2012 by Stuart1977
The German far right makes no bones about being anti Jewish, unlike the British far right who targets Muslims, you're allowed to target Muslims, even encouraged to, but don't target anyone else or you've had it
00:30 August 5, 2012 by German-American
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
04:12 August 5, 2012 by wenddiver
@German-American- Duh that won't happen if we send the Germans home by making snap judgements about them. I believe it is assumed in a fair exchange that both sides will learn from each other.

Exhortations to learn from the world around you should never be confused with advocation ofpersonal cultural suicide. Still ignorance of the World around you is in the end a form of ignorance.
04:48 August 6, 2012 by Eric1
Did they check to see if any athletes had relationships with violent environmental or anarchist groups?
08:15 August 6, 2012 by raandy
Beachrider, you have a good and valid point, she is a representative of Germany.

It was her decision to resign, after being questioned about her association with the far right. Had she stood her ground and remained,the fallout would be much greater on her the team and the Nation.

I am curious ,given her past history with the police ,that she was not questioned about this much earlier.

engenur81, I have lived in Germany for close to 30 years and never have been threatened or accosted by neo nazis, you need to find a better place to haunt.
05:41 August 9, 2012 by rwk
How many Olympic atheletes have had intimate relattions with violent Communists, Anarchists, or Jihadists? Many, I am sure. This is just another example of the double standard in Germany (and to a lesser degree in other places) where anyone to the right of the CDU is considered a Nazi. I am not one of them, not am I left, but there needs to be more latitude in determining who is an undue threat to social order.
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