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2012 LONDON OLYMPICS

LONDON

Germany will get 15 golds, say scientists

No need to watch the Olympics - Germany's athletes will get 15 golds, 19 silvers and 20 bronzes, and a solid fifth in the medals table, a sports research institute has predicted. The Local checks out the medal hopes.

Germany will get 15 golds, say scientists
David Storl, the youngest ever world shot put champion. Photo: DPA

Germany’s Olympic prospects look good, according to the Institute of Applied Training Science (IAT) at the University of Leipzig. The institute’s scientific prognosis says Germany’s 392 athletes will take home precisely 54 medals. Or, to be even more precise, 15 golds, 19 silvers and 20 bronzes.

This will be enough for fifth place in the Olympic medals table, behind China, the USA, Russia, and the UK, the IAT prognosis says. The institute’s calculations are based on statistical analysis of the last world championships in each of the 26 Olympic disciplines.

Spookily enough, the US-based Tuck School of Business, one of the world’s leading management schools, came up with exactly the same result – Germany to get 15 golds and fifth place – using a formula based on variables like population density, home advantage, average per capita incomes, and previous Olympic winners.

Quietly confident

But even though the researchers claimed a 95-percent success rate for the Beijing Olympics four years ago, when Germany won 16 gold medals, Bernhard Schwank, sports director on Germany’s Olympic federation (DOSB), was more cautiously optimistic.

“I’m no prophet,” he told Die Welt newspaper. “But I can say that the quality of our team is very high. Our track and field athletes, for example, have 77 representatives. It was only 63 in Beijing.”

Germany’s biggest medal hopes include Robert Harting, the reigning world and European discus champion and Thomas Lurz, who has ten open water swimming world championships to his name and is the favourite for the 10-kilometre marathon swim.

But Germany has favourites in other discipline too, including equestrian Michael Jung, an eventing European champion, while Germany’s eight man rowing team, led by cox Kristof Wilke, is on a three-year unbeaten streak. They will be looking to overturn the disappointment of Beijing, where they lost in a qualifying race.

Other German athletes to look out for are world number one pole-vaulter Silke Spiegelburg, who has just topped the German record, kayaker Max Hoff, favourite in the 1,000-metre singles, and David Storl, who became the youngest ever shot put world champion last year. He turned 22 on Friday.

And of course Germany’s men’s hockey team has that gold medal from Beijing to defend. The Germans are still considered one of the tournament favourites, even though the team has changed considerably since 2008.

Indifference at home

But while these top athletes strain their sinews in London, a new survey suggests most Germans will not be glued to the television to watch the Games – only a third of them are interested.

Young people in particular seem less than enthusiastic about the Games, with just under 25 percent of teenagers between 14 and 17 telling pollsters at the GfK consumer research society that they were interested. People aged between 18 and 24 were even less excited, with only 21.5 percent of them saying they would definitely be watching the events.

Low enthusiasm levels could be due to a lack of high-profile German athletes fighting for medals, suggested GfK’s Ulrich Reinhardt. He also said the lack of significant time difference between Germany and the UK – just one hour – meant that many of the events would be taking place when Germans were at work.

He said he did not expect television viewing audiences to reach the levels experienced for the Games in Beijing, Barcelona or Athens.

The Local/bk/hc

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OLYMPICS

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

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