Athletes Germany is starting a new era

Four years after it was founded, the Athletes Germany Association is facing its biggest turning point to date. On Saturday (October 30th, 2021), the independent representation of German competitive athletes will elect the successors for their founding president Max Hartung and another six members of the executive committee. They all voluntarily make room for a new management team. Managing Director Johannes Herber looks forward to the great upheaval with mixed feelings.

“There is a laughing and a crying eye. I will totally miss the group that is now in the Presidium. At the same time, I am also looking forward to new people who will approach with renewed vigor and new impulses”says Herber: “This is really a milestone for athletes in Germany.”

Three out of eight applicants want to get to the top

Eight candidates will be standing on Saturday at the online members’ meeting – around 1,400 top athletes are now members of the association – for five presidium seats. Two further members are appointed by the governing bodies in order to ensure diversity in the Presidium if necessary: ​​non-Olympic and Paralympic athletes should also be represented there.

Two candidates want to head the club and follow in Hartung’s footsteps: Paralympics winner Mareike Miller (wheelchair basketball), beach volleyball player Karla Borger and national water polo player Tobias Preuss.

All three have already gained experience as athletes spokespersons in their associations. They have already introduced themselves to the members by video message. At the meeting on Saturday they should have another opportunity to present themselves. If the members are primarily concerned with awareness and charisma, the beach volleyball player Borger, as the current World Tour winner and former vice world champion, should be the most promising candidate. In theory, other applicants can throw their hats into the ring until shortly before the election.

The departure of Hartung and Co. tears holes

Another election will take place on Sunday at the meeting: that of the athletes’ commission of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, the advisory body for the DOSB presidium and board. Only the athlete representatives from the sports associations are entitled to vote there. Most recently, all members of the Executive Committee of Athletes Germany were also elected to the DOSB Athletes Commission.

Miller, Borger or Preuss would “Make a super president each in their own way”says Herber. The former national basketball player also knows how much Hartung will be missing athletes in Germany: “With his strategic foresight, his commitment and his courage, he had a decisive influence on the club.”

The world-class fencer Hartung ended his career after the Olympic Games in Tokyo and is the managing director of the sports foundation NRW entered professional life. But the departure of other members of the Presidium also tears holes. For example that of rower Jonathan Koch, who is the representative in the DOSB-The Presidium has often fought a solitary battle for athletes’ rights and participation.

“Low level of trust”

The new person at the top has to quickly familiarize themselves with many topics. The campaign against abuse of athletes and the establishment of an already planned center for safe sport is on the agenda, as is the further development and networking of the club, which has so far been so busy. Also an improvement in the difficult relationship with DOSB aims for athletes in Germany. At the beginning of December, the umbrella organization elects a new presidium and a successor for President Alfons Hörmann – Johannes Herber sees this as an opportunity.

“In general, one has to state that we have a low level of trust in German sport at the moment. Many organizations are currently viewing each other with suspicion. It would be very good if a new DOSB president could create trust together . I would also hope for the same for the relationship with athletes in Germany “says Herber.

A new management team at Athleten Germany and the DOSB, plus a new federal government with a new interior minister responsible for sport – German sport is facing exciting months.

Stand: 27.10.2021, 14:32

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Athletes Germany is starting a new era