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.
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.