Andreas Krieger, former German shot putter


Andreas Krieger is born in 1965 as Heidi Krieger. At the age of 14, Heidi begins her career as a professional athlete. Less than two years later, her coach gives her pills in addition to the vitamins she takes regularly, claiming they will help her perform well. Heidi trusts him.

Heidi becomes stronger and her performance improves steadily. In 1986 Heidi wins gold in women’s shot put at the European Athletics Championships in Stuttgart. She put her winning shot at 21.10 meters.

At age 26 Heidi ends her career because
the doping substances have taken a toll on her body.

In 1997 Heidi Krieger finally becomes Andreas Krieger. The decision to live as a man saves his life.




At the age of 14, Heidi is sent to a special school for young athletes (KJS). It is there that she begins her career as a professional athlete in the East German sports system. She progresses quickly and then joins the SC Dynamo Berlin sports club, which trains at the Sportforum in Berlin. Heidi is under close observation and is expected to bring home medals for the East German state.


Heidi’s coach gives her “blue pills” in addition to the vitamins she takes regularly – her first doping substances. She doesn’t know what they’re called; the pills are not in their original package. Heidi’s coach says they will help her perform well.


Heidi Krieger wins gold in women’s shot put at the European Athletics Championships in Stuttgart. She put her winning shot 21.10 meters.


The Berlin Wall falls, the Cold War comes to an end, and Heidi is still a high-performance athlete. However, two years later, at the age of 26, she ends her career because the doping substances have taken a toll on her body.


Heidi experiences a turning point in her life. A friend and co-worker explains the inner turmoil that she’s been facing. He gives it a name: transsexuality.


Heidi Krieger is now Andreas Krieger – a process that has taken three years. The decision to live as a man saves his life.


In 2000, those responsible for systematic doping in communist East Germany are put on trial. Andreas attends the trial and realizes for the first time that he had been inadvertently subjected to doping for many years.


Andreas marries a woman whom he had met at the doping trial two years earlier: “I feel like I won the jackpot. I am so blessed.”

Heike Knechtel, former middle-distance runner

Heike Knechtel, born 1963, is 13 years old when she gains entry at the elite sports school for young athletes (KJS) at the German College for Physical Culture and Sport (SC DHfK) in Leipzig. She starts as a middle distance runner in the athletics program, only to be sent home again two short years later. Knechtel initially believes that due to her short stint there she was not subjected to substance abuse.

Over the next years, Heike completes her Master’s in Education and Social Behavioral Sciences. It is a rocky path though. Heike Knechtel has to undergo several operations.

In 2003 she is diagnosed with breast cancer. It is only when her contract as Head of the Social Support Center is put on hold in August 2014, due to “fully reduced earning capacity”, that Heike realizes she has in fact become a victim of the state’s organized doping program.

Knechtel remembers being given anabolic steroids by her coach between the ages of 13 and 15. They also had to keep records of taking what they were told were vitamin pills. Heike’s serious conditions are attested in a medical certificate—she is officially recognized as a doping victim.

Today Knechtel is a member and doping prevention officer of the Berlin-based Help for Victims of Doping (DOH) charity.

 “There was a constant screening,” she reports from her school days. It was only some time ago that she learned from a report that “doping was in the game”. Knechtel says: “The tablets were given out by the coach and we had to fill out tables, where we had to tell how many of the so-called vitamins were taken.

“I am still a life-affirming person”

The former Leichtathletie Heike Knechtel (Germany radio / Thomas Purschke)The former Leichtathletie Heike Knechtel (Deutschlandradio / Thomas Purschke)After the Abitur began her suffering history. “It went from one operation to the next.” Knechtel had a fibroid removed from the uterus, she fell ill with breast cancer and lost a breast. There followed the reconstruction, and again came a fibroid, the uterus had to be removed. “I am suffering from a chronic depression, I have anxiety, insomnia, although I am still a life-affirming person.”

Today she felt rage. “Compared to those responsible who are still in positions of responsibility.” What you and many others had done was a misunderstanding of mankind. “How much evidence is needed that the GDR was a state of unrighteousness?” 

Ute Krieger-Krause, former swimmer

Ute Winter is born a year after the Berlin Wall is built. She learns to swim at the age of 5, and in 1973 is enrolled in a special school for young athletes (KJS)

 in Magdeburg. A long-cherished dream turns into reality. Every day from seven a.m. she swims endless laps. Then – when Ute Winter is eleven – there are cups with “vitamin” pills by the pool. “I could feel the coaches watching us when we took them.” There is constant pressure to improve. As she steadily gets better, she starts seeing results. At age 14, she makes it onto the Second Division team, where there are only 4 girls in her training group.

In 1977 she wins a place on the Olympic team. As well as the usual substances, she is now also given new blue pills. Anabolic steroids are added to the mix to give the extra kick to an already harsh training regime. She quickly develops remarkable muscles, her shoulders, arms and neck become massive. Ute no longer recognizes her own body. She begins to starve herself, yet instead of losing weight, she gains more.

The ruthless

 and sheer endless training sessions become unbearable for Ute Krause. At the age of 16, she finally quits. The Olympic Games no longer hold any lure for her.

“Everything inside me was silenced”. Ute falls into a deep hole, her training is replaced by bulimia, she battles crippling depression. Eventually she receives treatment at a psychiatric clinic. It takes her 20 years to understand and define her illness and to learn how to live with it.

She marries Andreas Krieger.

UTE KRAUSE: We swimmers …… And swim and swim against the current until a buzzer went. It didn’t take long before you ran out of air under the mask and your lungs and your muscles and everything hurt.

Ute Krause had her sights set on the Olympic team, but in response to her doping-related weight gain, she developed an eating disorder and failed to qualify. It was a bitter blow.

UTE KRAUSE: The Olympics had a special magic for all young people back then and for me particularly. So it was very hard for me to understand that I couldn’t do it any more.

Program Transcript

Thomas Götze, former hammer thrower

As a child and teen, Thomas Götze is interested in swimming, football and chess. In the end, however, he takes up athletics and is promoted by the East German sports system. From 1976 through 1978 Götze trains in the throwing disciplines at an elite school for young athletes (KJS) in Dresden. While there, he is unwittingly given so-called ‘supporting substances’ by his coach, guised as vitamins.

His performance improves rapidly, in hammer throwing by as much as 15 meters a year. Thomas matures into what looks like a promising career. Then he suffers a protracted shoulder injury that has him callously dropped from the team.

Today Götze battles serious health issues as a result of the state’s criminal doping scheme.

As Andreas Krieger and other former high-performance athletes, he now campaigns against doping in sports.



Ines Geipel with Thomas Gotze

Former GDR hammer thrower Thomas Gotze, 53, now a state prosecutor in Germany, was given so many pills as a teenager that he would work out for up to six hours. “I only found out later they were steroids,” he says.

Alwin J. Wagner, multiple discus champion

At age 26, he was still clear of doping. Despite the fact that Alwin Wagner is regarded as a major discus talent and meets international championship standards, he is not nominated for any championship by the German Athletics Association (DLV). He is alleged to have no chance of making the finals.When the DLV decides not to renew the contract of the team’s discus coach owing to his lack of success and a retired athlete takes his place, Alwin is unwittingly lured with promises into taking anabolic steroids. He is promised they would improve his performance by up to 10%, he would soon

be a regular in the media. Alwin takes the pills, given to him without label or instructions, and as promised, quickly sees improvements in his performance. Before long, Wagner pockets money at competitions, and with additional income from other sources, he makes almost five times as much as a police lieutenant. Nothing is said of the side effects and risks.To keep up with the world’s best discus throwers, Alwin continues to take the pills and even agrees to injections, unaware of what they are.

When a few years later Wagner tries to expose the methods used by the DLV, he is met with no response.In 1981 Alwin Wagner wins his first national discus championship and goes to the press. Again, neither the state nor the public respond.


Ex-discus thrower Wagner on Doping“Three times daily anabolic steroids”

Alwin Wagner already talked about doping in athletics as an active. For that, the German champion in the discus throw was punished. In the interview, he talks about anabolic steroids, caviar and the silence cartel in sport.

Discus player Alwin Wagner at a competition in 1986

To person

In the eighties, Alwin Wagner , 66, was one of the world’s best discuscripts. From 1981 to 1985 he was five times German champion in this discipline. At the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984, he finished sixth. In 1981, Wagner first addressed doping use. Today he is active as an athletics trainer at his home club in Melsungen. He also holds lectures on doping in schools.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: As an active athlete, you already addressed the issue of doping in West German athletics in 1981 . How did it happen, and how were the reactions?

Wagner: At that time I had noticed in a meeting in Frankfurt with the leaders of the German Athletics Federation that it could not go on like this. I complained that we had to swallow more and more pills to meet the performance standards. Then the then head of the DLV, August Kirsch, has denied me the word. When I then wanted to address it again, he would almost have thrown me out of the room.

Then I wrote a letter to the former NOK chief Willi Daume and the head of the sports aid Joseph Neckermann, I never received an answer. However, the “Bild” newspaper had at that time wind of it and reported about it. And although it was a big news in the paper – I remember, “Diskuswerfer Alwin Wagner laments” – there were no public reactions, no response, nothing from politics. That just did not interest anyone.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And internally?

Wagner: I already noticed that the wind was turning. Before, I had even been nominated for the European Championship even though I had done three invalid attempts at the German Championships, which were considered an EC qualification. This is actually the maximum penalty. But I was swept through. But after I had raised the issue of doping, I was suddenly no longer on attractive journeys. Others were allowed to go to South America, Wagner stayed at home. I gradually fell into disgrace.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What did it say?

Wagner: I did not get a foot on the ground anymore. If I became a third at a competition, the DLV preferred to nominate the Fourth and Fifth for me at the big events. Later, that was already after the turnaround, I was unloaded from a discus meeting in Bad Homburg because other athletes such as the former headlitter Lars Riedel had threatened that they would not take the start when the Alwin Wagner is there. As the organizer was afraid of his stars. He gave me the double money when I did not start.


SPIEGEL ONLINE: How did you ever get yourself anabolic steroids?

Wagner: When I came to the scene in 1973, I was still completely undeveloped. I did not even know that there is something like anabolic steroids, quite frankly. I then realized quickly that I could not keep up with performance and wanted to stop. But then coach Karl-Heinz Steinmetz, who later became Bundestrainer, persuaded me to continue. I am a great talent, and I just have to take a little bit, then I could quickly throw over 65, 66 meters. This was the then world peak. I’ve been thinking about it for two months and then I let it go.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And how did that happen?

Wagner: I got such a glass, there were 100 tablets in it, without instruction leaflet. I took them well, three times a day, and I noticed after only a few weeks how I got much stronger. It only went on 64 meters, then on 65, finally about 67. I suddenly belonged to the top ten of the world.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And you believe all were contaminated?

Wagner: At least everyone was sitting in a boat. I remember, in a country fight, the coaches had a short notice that would be controlled. We then had to report all injured athletes to us, and for the shot, the DLV had then set up the high sprung Dietmar Mögenburg, because he was clean. The slender guy had, of course, never had a ball in a hand at this level.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: But then the public would have to be sound?

Wagner: No. It was officially portrayed that Mögenburg is planning to change to the ten-fight and therefore wants to push the shot-throwing under competitive conditions. And all have officially purchased this story. No one ever asked.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Because everyone knew about it and would rather keep it dead?

Wagner: It was in any case the high time of doping. I knew a Russian launcher, I asked him to bring me caviar from his home. He had probably misunderstood this and brought me anabolic anyplace next time. Very self-evident.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: When did you start to feel queasy?

Wagner: Well, by and by, of course, more and more, what damages caused doping. And in the years after, I also experienced too many dead, former colleagues. They got liver cancer or lymph gland cancer or simply fell dead.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You have been sued several times for your open statements, including Karl-Heinz Steinmetz, who has also trained Lars Riedel.

Wagner: Yes, and I have won almost all of these processes. But it is still so today, that I at many in the DLV as a nest claw.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: On Monday, a scientific work was published that analyzes Western doping in athletics. There was great news in the media.

Wagner: The excitement surprised me. Basically, this only confirms what I have been saying for 35 years. But this is probably due to the fact that even after all these years, many athletes from that time still remain silent today.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you still trust top sport today?

Wagner: In performance jumps, I am extremely suspicious, to this day. Otherwise, more is now punished and controlled. When you look at the fact that many of today’s top athletes do not go beyond what the athletes have already achieved in the late 1960s.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You can not really believe that you still enjoy sports today.

Wagner: Yes. I am still a trainer in my home country, and at the same time I give lectures in schools and clubs where I talk about doping. I now see this as my task.