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Germans struggle to turn Olympic gold into gold

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Germans struggle to turn Olympic gold into gold
Gymnast Marcel Nguyen, Photo: DPA
15:50 CEST+02:00
While Olympic stars Usain Bolt, Chris Hoy and Jessica Ennis can probably choose between lucrative sponsorship and advertising deals, the Germans have come out of the Games without any stars likely to pick up such deals.

Speculation had begun on the riches awaiting British runner Mo Farah and all-rounder Ennis even before the Games were over, with estimates being bandied around that cyclist Bradley Wiggins could earn nearly €40 million in the coming three years.

But Thomas Lurz, who competed in the 10-kilometre open water swim race, said this week he would have to decide whether to even continue competing due to money considerations – despite having won a silver medal in London.

Whether his career continues – “that depends on economic considerations like sponsorship contracts or whether I get into the army's support group,” he said.

Franziska Weber, the canoeist who won gold and silver in this, her first Olympics, said she did not expect to earn anything. “No, we do it because we love it, and because it's fun. We are happy when we can pay our bills,” she said. But the 23-year-old student said if sponsors wanted to approach her she would be more than happy.

Robert Harting, the discus gold medallist attracted perhaps the most attention of the German competitors – not only did he win, he then ripped off his shirt and then completed the 120-metre hurdles in celebration. He is now expected to earn up to €12,000 per athletic appearance. This is peanuts though in comparison to the €250,000 that Bolt is expected to be able to command now.

Helmut Digel, the German member of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), said Bolt was a blessing because of the attention he draws to the sport, but a curse because, “With the fees paid to Bolt, there is not much left for the other athletes,” he said.

German gymnast Marcel Nguyen, who won two silver medals, could make some money on the back of his sport performances – even if some of the engagements being discussed might not be what he was dreaming of as a young boy.

“Marcel is a smart guy, interesting," said his manager Jörg Neblung. "We have already got more rejections than acceptances. But one thing is for sure. We have to stress him a little now with sponsor appointments, in order to strike the iron while it is hot."

He said that even though Nguyen's non-German heritage is Vietnamese rather than Chinese, there had been great interest from Hong Kong Chinese.

“We have already received invitations to open shopping centres in Hong Kong and other offers,” he said.

DPA/The Local/hc

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