Germans Fire Two Swimming Coaches
Oct. 15, 1997
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Two former East German swimming coaches charged with giving anabolic steroids to unwitting teen-age athletes were fired Wednesday by the German Swimming Federation.
Dieter Lindemann and Volker Frischke knowingly gave ``false statements to us, their employer,'' federation chairman Ruediger Tretow said.
The two had been given a chance to explain but had not done so, Tretow said. Both coaches had been suspended since Sept. 26.
The two were among four former East German swimming coaches charged Tuesday with causing bodily harm for giving anabolic steroids to 17 teen-age girls from 1974-89.
The charges were the first to result from a criminal investigation into steroid use in East German sports. More cases are expected to follow as the investigation continues.
Lindemann, 46, is former coach of Olympic medalist Franziska van Almsick and was currently training Steffen Zesner. He faces four counts of causing bodily harm. Frischke, 53, coach of European champion Kerstin Kielgass, faces eight counts.
Rolf Glaeser, 57, who was hired by the Austrian swim team after German unification, faces nine counts.
Also charged with three counts was Dieter Krause, 50, who no longer is a coach.
The four were accused of causing bodily harm by feeding anabolic steroids to the athletes ``without telling them or their parents, or answering honestly when asked'' what they were being given, although the coaches were aware the steroids could have harmful side-effects.
All the young swimmers wound up with ``considerable disturbance of muscle growth,'' as well in several cases symptoms of pain and bodily changes such as a deeper voice or excessive body hair, according to Berlin prosecutors.
They face up to three years in prison if convicted.
Despite widespread suspicions about East German athletes over the years, few ever were caught in drug tests. But since German unification, evidence of the systematic use of steroids to enhance performance has been found in once-secret East German government files.