YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

E. Germans Angrily Deny Defector's Drug Charges

June 30, 1989|From Associated Press

EAST BERLIN — East German sports stars, stunned by a defector's allegations that they are on drugs, today angrily dismissed his charges as lies and "filth."

Swimmer Kristin Otto, who won six golds at the Seoul Olympics, threatened to sue defector Hans-Georg Aschenbach for defamation.

Aschenbach, a former Olympic ski jumping champion, has made his claims in a series of articles this week in the West German daily Bild.

East Germany's DTSB sports federation has already issued a firm, blanket denial. Today's newspaper rebuttals from top athletes and trainers were the stars' first direct comments.

Athletes Named

In the Bild articles, Aschenbach--the East German ski jumping team doctor when he switched sides--named Otto, figure skating queen Katarina Witt and other athletes as some of those who took drugs to get to the top and stay there.

"How high was Bild's fee for him to sink so low?" Otto asked. "Because he personally defames me, I reserve the right to take legal steps against his libel."

She said she would compete at the European championships in Bonn in August and would clearly be under medical control.

"That is my answer to such filth," she said.

Witt's trainer, Jutta Mueller, said Aschenbach's charge that she had taken muscle-building anabolic steroids was laughable because such drugs did not enhance artistic expression.

"Aschenbach is lying," declared 1984 Olympic ski jumping champion Jens Weissflog in the youth daily Junge Welt.

Aschenbach's 1976 teammate Jochen Danneberg also denied categorically that he had ever used banned substances.

Los Angeles Times Articles