Thursday, September 28, 2023

Wolfgang Hanisch

East Germany, aka Deutsche Demokratische Republik, had a checkered record in international sports competetion.  Questionable gender assignment and early, frequent use of performance enhancing drugs were a big issues, as were defections.  Despite all that, the Ossies did enjoy some success.  Wolfgang Hanisch, shown above in competition, won Bronze in Moscow in 1980.



  1. The 1980 Moscow Olympics were of course boycotted by the USA, with Britain in tow. Maggie Thatcher exhorted the British team to absent themselves but with only partial success when it was discovered that the British government cannot lawfully stop a British citizen from leaving the country or withdraw a passport unless a crime has been committed. Runner Sebastian Coe defied Thatcher but that hasn't stopped him sitting on the Conservative benches of the House of Lords as a life peer. Autres temps, autres mœurs.

    Although Comrade Hanisch looks a very fit specimen, what went on in the Democratic Republic's sports teams was extremely sinister. We all knew what was going on and the IOC ought to have banned them from international competitions, but with the political climate being what it was, that was hardly going to happen.

    1. I once encountered an East German athletic team at, of all places, the top of the Pyramid of the Sun at the ruins of Tenochtitlan outside Mexico City. This was in 1983, well into their drug enhanced era. I conversed with them for a while in German, and got the impression that they were very much better off living standard wise than their compatriots. When I got home, I did some research and found out that they were provided with all the amenities that the East German state had to offer, such as those were. Despite this, they had regular defections.