Former decathlete Rico Freimuth described the German Athletics Association’s World Championship record without a medal as a “disaster” – and harshly criticized the DLV leadership. “Your athletics heart bleeds,” said the 35-year-old vice world champion from 2017 in an interview with the TV channel Eurosport. “Of course there are some athletes who have performed great. But you only end up in the sports show in the evening if you get a medal – that’s the reality.”

At the same time, he accused the DLV managers of misconduct and too little concentration on the essentials. “We now have a funny culture that has been naturalized in the DLV for years,” said Freimuth. “Some of the training camps are chosen based on where the red wine estates are located – so that coaches and officials can drink red wine there in the evenings.”

“You can’t do that if you approach the matter semi-seriously”

That’s why being a trainer requires a completely different culture. “The coaches have to concentrate better and more seriously on the athletes and the athletes need more money so that they can approach the training more seriously,” said Freimuth. “Sport has to be 100 percent in focus and not some other rubbish.” If you’re in the training camp for four weeks, there should be nothing else but training if you want to be among the best in the world: “You can’t do that if you’re half serious and only approach the matter with 80 percent.”

Freimuth considers the DLV’s announcement that it wants to be one of the top five athletics nations by the time of the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles to be “a bit ludicrous and dubious” so shortly after the World Cup. He couldn’t imagine what should happen “so that we end up among the top five nations in five years”.


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