The Olympics: A Shared Vision of Getting Germany Back in Shape

Frankfurt, 15 September 2023 – How can the Olympic and Paralympic Games be used to increase physical activity? The experts who participated in yesterday’s talk on the issue of sports and health all agreed that Germans failed to get enough exercise.

It goes without saying that waiting until the Olympic and Paralympic Games are held in Germany, in 2036 or later, is not an option. Nevertheless, the bid and the associated debate might provide the necessary impetus. It could give rise to programs that encourage the wider community to engage in more physical activity. The foundation for an active life is laid during childhood. Accordingly, the experts believe that better conditions have to be created in that regard and that physical activity has to be firmly anchored in children’s everyday lives. That naturally entails the adaptation of curricula, the modernization and renovation of sports facilities, and the creation of sufficient opportunities to exercise.

Anke Feller im Gespräch mit Friedhelm Julius Beucher und Christina Marx.

The most relevant statements made by the experts were as follows:

Jörg Förster – Managing Director, Hochschulsport Hamburg (Hamburg University Sports)

“Schools lay the foundation for an active life. Physical education must be designed in such a way that allows children to experience a wide range of movement and ensures that movement forms an integral part of everyday life. Sports must be re-emphasized as an important educational asset.”

“We have organized a plethora of great events that prove that we are, indeed, able to handle major sports events. The positive impact is easy to see, because such events keep us moving – from the planning stage through execution, as well as beyond.”

“Many cities, such as Hamburg and its “Active City” initiative, have already recognized the importance of exercise in everyday life – beyond organized sports. A new campaign, similar to the “Trimm-Dich” movement of 1972, must go hand in hand with the hosting of the Olympic Games in Germany.”

Prof. Dr. Stephan Geisler – Professor of Fitness & Health

“We have to start at the grassroots level. There are some excellent coaches in Germany. Having said that: How many coaches can make a living doing such work full time? We need a lot more coaches who are academically trained and can work full time.”

“We need to dispel a number of exercise-related myths and educate people on what is really good for the body versus what is not.”

“Sports and exercise are among the best ways to combat diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

Kerstin Holze – Vice President, DOSB

“The best way to guarantee an active childhood is to have active parents.”

“Sports are as fundamental as brushing your teeth every day – they are not simply ‘nice to have’ at one’s disposal. This level of awareness is not present at the moment.”

“It’s all about getting Germany back in shape – across the board. That can only be done if we work together across all areas. In order for that to happen, we need a shared vision; we need to see ourselves hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Felix Neureuther – former Ski Racer and Founder of the “Felix Neureuther Foundation”

“The Olympic Games would certainly benefit us, but an Olympic bid cannot solve all of our problems. We need successful role models, and the various associations need to be strengthened and interconnected with the schools.”

“Politically speaking, sports are given far too little importance. A law governing physical activity should be passed in Germany.”

“It’s a shame that it takes the Olympics to free up funds that can be put into sports infrastructure. That should be a given.”

Sarah Wellbrock – Olympic Bronze Medalist, Swimming “I think it’s important for athletes to be accessible to the public – to children and young people, in particular. The more accessible