Olympics in beijing: dosb head thomas weikert in an interview

Mr. Weikert, are you at all keen on the Winter Olympics??

  • Thomas Weikert experiences his first Winter Games as head of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) in Beijing.
  • In view of the discussions about the human rights situation in China, not an easy start.
  • In an interview, Weikert explains whether he would advise athletes to express themselves politically – and what his own experiences have been with China.

Olympics in beijing: dosb head thomas weikert in an interview

Mr. Weikert, these are Winter Games under Corona conditions in a controversial host country – do you feel at all like your first games as DOSB president?

It is my first Winter Games and I am looking forward to the challenge. The problems and difficulties are well known – but that also makes it exciting. First of all, I just hope that we all get there and back in good health.

When was the last time you stood on skis?

That would have to be around ten years ago. But I watch winter sports very regularly on Saturdays and Sundays, and every now and then it runs alongside on my PC when I’m sitting in my law office.

You were president of the World Table Tennis Federation, and table tennis is the national sport in China. What experience have you had with the country?

The first experience is: When the Chinese organize a tournament, it is almost perfect. We also experienced this in table tennis during the pandemic, even the volunteers were in the bubble for six weeks. That’s why I expect the bubble to be tight here too. The advantage is also that I already know some of the decision-makers there, including the Minister of Sport, and I have also had contact with him after my election. But of course we also know about the problems.


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For example Possible spying via the app My2022, that everyone has to install. How worried are you about your data?

I once said flippantly: They already know almost everything about me because I have been to China so often. With that I did not mean to neglect the problem, but that I am aware of the dangers. We should not underestimate the problem, we have been advised by the German Federal Office for Information Security. Therefore, we also advised the athletes to use the cell phones of an IOC sponsor, which they receive on site, and made them aware that controls in China are just there, that is undeniable.

Amnesty International demands that the IOC and the national committees have a special responsibility to choose a clear language in view of the human rights situation. How will the DOSB do it?

We have pointed out the special situation in several meetings with "Team D", representatives of Human Rights Watch or the German Foreign Office, for example, have explained the situation of the Uyghurs. We ourselves will decide on the spot in each individual case whether we will comment.

Olympics in beijing: dosb head thomas weikert in an interview

Would you advise the athletes not to comment?

When the president advises something, it’s an influence, we didn’t do that on purpose. The athletes are free to do so. They can rather concentrate on their sporting situation or also express themselves – as far as I have heard out, however, the majority of the athletes will not do that. One way or another we will stand in front of the team.

There were also concerns that athletes could be pulled out of the competition by supposedly positive tests.

The concerns, which are of course understandable given the prevailing nervousness, were largely allayed. After all, we already had a positive corona case of a caregiver in Beijing. Dirk Schimmelpfennig as our Chef de Mission told us that everything went reasonably and well during the tests. Therefore, I already have the confidence that this will also be the case in the future.

So also with the quarantine hotels, whose condition was sharply criticized by the lugers?

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