Grimm delivers Germany’s first Olympic gold for slalom canoe

The German Olympic team collected its first gold medal of the Beijing Games on Tuesday when 21-year-old Alexander Grimm paddled his canoe to victory in the slalom.

Grimm delivers Germany's first Olympic gold for slalom canoe
Grimm paddling to victory. Photo: DPA

Grimm’s gold secures Germany’s position as Olympic champion in the discipline, as it follows Thomas Schmidt’s first place in Athens four years ago.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Grimm told reporters in Beijing immediately afterwards. “This has been my dream since I was a child. I can’t believe it.

“Everything just fit together. I have never had such a feeling during a competition. I think I will only be able to really believe it when I have the gold hanging around my neck.”

He beat Frenchman Fabien Lefevre and Togoan Benjamin Boukpeti in the slalom to claim Germany’s 18th medal of the Games, but the first gold.

He only made fourth in the first run, but dominated during the second run to take the lead, and keep it.

Boukpeti provided an upset by leading in the first run, while his bronze medal is the first ever in the canoe discipline to be won by an African.

Later in the day Ole Bischof collected Germany’s second gold in Judo, with a surprise win against the Korean Kim Jaebum in the 81-kilo class.

And Germany’s three-day eventing team made it look easy when they won the first gold medal of the Olympic equestrian events convincingly from runners-up Australia.

Germany’s Hinrich Romeike, on his gelding Marius, clinched the gold for his team as the last of 57 riders to take on the 13 fences. His one fault, which cost him four penalty points, may have been a personal disappointment for a man who has taken his hobby to Olympian heights.

But after Australia’s Megan Jones and her mount Irish Jester, the penultimate combination in the show-jumping, failed to go clear, the gold was only going one way.

This victory was consolation of sorts for Germany’s bitter loss in the Athens Games in 2004, when the gold medal was taken away from the team and given to France after Bettina Hoy, one of the best-known riders in the world, was penalized for crossing the starr line twice.



Germany’s Interior Minister rules out ‘unthinkable’ bid to host 2036 Olympics

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has ruled out a bid to host the 2036 Olympics, saying in an interview that it would be "unthinkable" on the 100th anniversary of the Nazi-era 1936 Games in Berlin.

Germany's Interior Minister rules out 'unthinkable' bid to host 2036 Olympics
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. Photo: DPA

Held three years before the outbreak of the Second World War, the 1936 games are widely remembered as a propaganda coup for Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

In March this year, Berlin's state minister of the interior Andreas Geisel faced heavy criticism after he appeared to suggest Berlin should bid for the 2036 Olympics in an interview with Tagesspiegel newspaper.

However, the 69-year-old Seehofer, whose ministry also holds the sports portfolio, said Germany could not be seen to celebrate the centenary of the Nazi-era Berlin Olympics.

“It would be unthinkable. If we did that, we would bring on an unspeakable international discussion and harm the Olympic idea,” he told Frankfurt-based newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in an interview published on Monday.

“How would people see it across the world? Germany celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Nazi Olympics? That cannot happen.”

Aside from concerns over associations with the Nazi regime, there is scant public support for hosting the Olympics in Germany.

READ ALSO: Interior Ministry begs for more cash after 'forgetting' landmark reunification celebration

Public referendums, in 2015 and 2013, rejected proposed Olympic bids to host the summer games in Hamburg and a winter edition in Munich respectively.

Seehofer said that he was generally in favour of a German Olympic bid, but voiced concern that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had become too focused on commercial success.

“In the eyes of the public, the IOC has wandered too far from its original idea and into commercialism,” he told the FAZ.

He called on the IOC to “de-commercialise” and said he had “a lot of sympathy” for the German Athletes' Commission, which last year demanded that the IOC share a quarter of its profits with Olympic participants.

By Kit Holden