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German Swimmer Unsure She Was Doped

May 18, 1998

BERLIN (AP) _ An Olympic swimmer testifying at the trial of former East German coaches and doctors accused of giving athletes anabolic steroids said Monday she did not know if she received any and would undergo testing only under court order.

Andrea Pollack-Pinsche, who won medals at Montreal and Moscow, maintained that if she were forced to undergo testing it would violate her right of choice.

Prosecutors in the trial, which opened March 18, are seeking to show that the defendants gave 19 young female athletes performance-enhancing drugs that ``seriously disturbed the direction of their hormonal growth.″

Prosecutors say they have evidence that the four coaches and two doctors knew the health risks of steroids but still administered them under communist East Germany’s push to create world champions.

Other swimmers have testified that they became aware they were being given steroids, but felt they could not refuse the drugs, and later suffered from disturbed muscle growth, excessive body hair or a deepened voice as a result.

But Pollack-Pinsche acknowledged only that she was given pills and sometimes injections, and said she did not know what they contained but believed they were vitamins. She said she was 15 at the time, and had no thoughts about doping.

``The pills were washed down with tea and that was the end of it,″ said the 37-year-old, who now works as a physiotherapist.

Pollack-Pinske said she underwent regular physical examinations at the time and felt ``secure and in good hands.″ She said she saw no physical changes in any of the girls in her group during her time as a swimmer.

Evidence for the charges in the current trial was discovered in secret police files in the former East Germany after unification in 1990.

The defendants face up to three years in prison if convicted of causing bodily harm.

The defendants are coaches Rolf Glaeser, 58, Volker Frischke, 53, Dieter Lindemann, 46, and Dieter Krause, 50; and physicians Dieter Bienus, 59, and Bernd Pansold, 56. Their trial is expected to last until July.

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