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