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2012 LONDON OLYMPICS

LONDON

Double double gold for German kayakers

Two German pairs paddled to Olympic glory within an hour of each other on the Dorney Lake on Thursday, which meant that Germany leapfrogged France in the medals table to take 6th place.

Double double gold for German kayakers
Photo: DPA

Germany’s Peter Kretschmer and Kurt Kuschela won the 1,000-metre canoe sprint title, while Franziska Weber and Tina Dietze won the women’s kayak 500-metre sprint gold with two furious final sprints.

Kretschmer and Kuschela pulled past the leading Azerbaijani boat in the final stretch to take the top prize, Der Spiegel magazine reported. “It was like in a trance,” Kuschela said after the race. “When I looked across I realized they didn’t have any more, and we gave it everything.”

Silver and bronze were taken by the Belarus and Russia pairs, who finished nearly three seconds later.

German cheers rang out across the water again an hour later, when Weber and Dietze stormed home half a second ahead of the Hungarian pair.

“It’s unbelievable,” gushed Weber. “We’ve never done anything like this before; I’ve got no idea where that came from.”

Unlike their male team-mates, the two women dominated their race from the beginning.

But the men of course said their slower start had been all part of their plan. “We used to make the mistake of starting the race very aggressively, which tired us out before the end,” Kuschela had already said on his home club’s website in Potsdam.

“Now we start with a long stroke at the beginning, and let the other pull a bit more at first,” he said. “After five strokes we’ve got our rhythm and try and work our way to the front.”

There was disappointment though for pink-haired star high-jumper Ariane Friedrich, who failed to make the final at the Olympic Stadium. Friedrich failed to jump the 1.96 metres she needed to progress.

Questions are now bound to be raised about her selection, since the unfit star had failed to reach the German Olympic Federation’s qualification height of 1.95 metres all season.

The Local/bk

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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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