At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, 159 of the 451-strong German team were members of the Bundeswehr. They won half of the team’s 48 medals. They include hockey player Fanny Rinne, marksman Manfred Kurzer and flatwater canoeist Andreas Dittmer. At the Winter Games in Turin the Bundeswehr athletes actually made up 44% of the team. There Germany topped the medals table for the third time since the country’s reunification. Bundeswehr members won a total of 19 of the 29 medals. In 2008 the number of top sportsmen and women belonging to the Bundeswehr reached the record figure of 824. The Bundeswehr invests 25 million euros per year in promoting sport.
Germany’s team in Turin also had 22 winter sportsmen and women from the Federal Police. Biathlon runner Uschi Disl, speed skater Claudia Pechstein and colleagues won a further eleven medals. The Federal Police currently supports 84 winter sport aces. A few years ago the Federal Ministry of the Interior, which funds the Federal Police, also established an Olympic Training Centre in Cottbus for track and field athletes, judoists and racing cyclists. The athletes are also able to study and pursue vocational training. So far 61 top-ranking sportsmen and women have taken up the opportunity. They include world champion hammer thrower Betty Heidler and pentathlete Jennifer Oeser. Together the Federal Government and the Länder directly finance over 1,000 sponsored places.
Link: Deutschland Online, “Promoting Talent“