Abuse in Swimming: The Stone Begins to Roll – Sport


After the allegations of abuse by the former world-class water jumper Jan Hempel in the direction of his then coach Werner Langer, public funding for the German Swimming Association (DSV) in the room. Mahmut Özdemir (SPD), Parliamentary State Secretary responsible for sport in the Federal Ministry of the Interior, said in a contribution of the “Sportschau” on Sunday that an association “that tolerates sexualised violence, doping or other interpersonal violence does not explain or cover up – such associations should not receive a cent from tax funds”. Özdemir did not specifically name the DSV. Its competitive sports director Christian Hansmann had previously said on the sidelines of the European Swimming Championships in Italy that there could be consequences such as financial cuts: “Of course, that is to be feared.”

For the association, which is already plagued by financing problems – for example, the German water polo players can only take part in the European Championships in Split this Saturday thanks to a crowdfunding project – a cancellation of the funding would be a heavy blow.

Hempel had accused his trainer, who committed suicide in 2001, of massive sexual abuse in an ARD documentary that was first broadcast last Thursday. Between 1982 and 1996, i.e. over 14 years, he was abused and raped by Langer, also immediately before an Olympic competition in 1992. In 1997, Hempel opened up to the then national coach, but the association’s leadership covered up his case. “The DSV management at the time approached me with the words, ‘If you hang that on the big bell, then your sport is dead’,” Hempel told ARD on Sunday in a renewed statement: “You can say that In the end it came across as a threat that my own career would be in jeopardy. I then accepted not to talk about it because I wanted to continue my sport.”

Buschkow leaves an SZ inquiry on the matter unanswered

Several eyewitnesses confirm in the documentation that the base coach at the time and long-standing high-ranking DSV official Lutz Buschkow also knew about the allegations. Buschkow had looked after the water jumpers as national coach at the European Swimming Championships in Rome until Thursday, and was then released by the DSV Presidium. Buschkow also left an SZ inquiry on the matter unanswered on Monday. Regarding the European Championships in Rome, where the case reached Jan Hempel Buschkow suddenly during the competitions, DSV competitive sports director Hansmann, who was also in Rome, said on Sunday: “You could see that a kink went through the team.” Psychological help was offered to the athletes.

Hansmann also said on Sunday on the sidelines of the EM that since the publication of the ARD documentation, other possible victims of abuse had approached the association: “Many victims and victims have reported to our prevention officer. Cases are still being added every day. That will now “everything collected and documented,” said the DSV competitive sports director, who also referred to the first preventive measures, such as integrating the issue of sexualized violence into the training of coaches up to the federal level: “There must be mandatory training for employees in the DSV.”

In his reaction to the “Sportschau” on Sunday, Jan Hempel was happy “to have started a ball rolling. What happened to me cannot be reversed. But what will happen in the future can be changed.”



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