Rower Oliver Zeidler criticizes the association: "A huge debacle"
Created: 03/08/2022 15:59
By: Nico-Marius Schmitz
Hopes for a medal at the home European Championship: Oliver Zeidler.
Home game for Oliver Zeidler.
At the European Championships, the man from Dachau rows on the regatta course that he calls his living room.
But the 26-year-old is not at all satisfied with the structures in the German Rowing Association and the staffing, as he explains in an interview with the Munich newspaper Merkur.
Oliver Zeidler, how much time do you currently spend in your living room?
That's 14 hours a week.
There are also other athletic units.
If you then add physiotherapy and travel time, it's actually a full-time job.
How big is the home field advantage?
The advantage is that I feel very safe.
I know exactly what is at each point.
The track in Munich, which is not the case with many tracks in the world, is very fair.
All lanes are the same, weather conditions rarely make the competition unfair.
So there will be no measurable benefit.
What do you expect from the European Championships?
It's a huge opportunity for sports that don't usually get as much attention, that don't usually get as much airtime.
It is our job to bring our sport closer to the people in Munich.
And you will see that you can organize a major sporting event without all the effort that has been made for the Olympics in recent years, without all the sums that have been spent on stadiums.
Here in Munich we have everything on our doorstep.
Perhaps this can also make the Olympics more attractive again.
The Olympics in Germany would be very good for the sport.
As negative as the whole IOC topic is, people are still interested in sport.
You would have to straighten it all out a bit.
After the World Championships in Athletics in Eugene, the promotion of sports in Germany was again heavily criticized.
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We're not professionals in Germany, but we have to compete against professionals.
We have to live with that.
In the end, only politics and society can do something about it.
I said earlier how much time I spend in the boat.
But I also have to make provisions for my career after my career.
I also think it's extremely important that as an athlete you don't fall into a hole after your career.
But promotion must become much more performance-related.
After the junior age, the athletes have to be shown further perspectives.
We have a good basis in rowing, but young talents often decide not to continue with all the effort.
Because sport is simply not attractive enough in Germany.
The claim of society is always that we should get as many medals as possible.
But then a corresponding rethinking must take place.
You get nothing without effort.
What does that look like in your sport?
This is a huge debacle in rowing.
The funds have to be distributed better, we have to become more professional.
The best scullers are actually all in the Frankfurt area in the club, but our federal base is in Hamburg.
Hamburg has no successful coaches, no sporting figureheads.
How do you want to sell someone from the junior level that he has to go to Hamburg to row in the national team?
Unfortunately, the association does not understand this.
We have to completely rethink and question everything.
Sounds like great dissatisfaction among the athletes.
If you look at the results of the season in rowing, it's a debacle.
We haven't been this bad for a long time.
The downward spiral that started in 2010 is turning faster and faster.
But we don't have anyone in the German Rowing Association who has this idea of competitive sport.
You have to imagine it: The quad scull, actually a medal guarantor, drives in Lucerne, the most important regatta before the championships, in a B final to the penultimate place.
And what do you do then?
The coach applies for two weeks' vacation afterwards, and the sports director (Mario Woldt, editor's note) also approves it.
It is legitimate for an employee to request leave.
But whoever approves it should be thrown out.
And that just before the European Championships.
We now have a home EM with a lot of media presence.
After all, you can't afford to leave a boat, four people who claim to be able to perform, alone for two weeks.
This is just one example of many.
With such structures, with such decisions, we need not be surprised at the lack of success.
Such decisions are consistently made in the German Rowing Association.
It's time to take responsibility.
Something has to change!
Interview: Nico Marius Schmitz