The German Olympic Sports Union (DOSB) nominated a total of 436 athletes for the 29th Olympic Summer Games 2008 in Beijing, China. This included a total of 194 women and 242 men who will be accompanied by around 317 minders. For Germany it is already the 22nd appearance at Olympic Summer Games, whereat they are represented in 26 of the 28 sports and they hope for a lot of success. The teams of the sports softball and baseball were not able to qualify.
At the past Summer Olympics in 2004 in Athens St Hubert Medal the German team finished the event in the sixth place. Back then Germany achieved a total of 49 medals of which 14 were gold, 16 silver and 19 bronze medals. The German Olympic team 2004 included a total of 453 athletes, 17 more than this year’s team. The general director of the Olympic Sports Union Michael Vesper said prior to the games: “We will send a powerful team to Beijing. We seek to repeat our sixth place in Athens and hope to detain the downward tendency of past Olympic events.”
At the end of the 14th competition day the German team 2008 stays in the fifth position with a total of 36 medals behind the nations China, USA, Great Britain and Russia. Of the 36 medals Germany won 14 gold, 9 silver and 13 bronze medals. The golden medals were achieved in the following sports: Canoe, Kayak, Equestrian, Fencing, Swimming, Triathlon, Weightlifting and Modern Pentathlon. The most emotional winners were the 25-year-old weight lifter Matthias Steiner who dedicated his victory to his deceased wife Susan and the 22-year old Lena Schöneborn who won the first German medal in the Modern Pentathlon in 72 years.
Steiner as well won the first German Saint Hubert medal in his category after many years. The last one was achieved in 1992 by Ronny Weller. In the sport of weight lifting the athletes are challenged to lift up a barbell by snatching or cleaning and jerking. The native-born Viennese Steiner could not achieve the 207 kilos by the snatch and consequently fell behind. At his last attempt in clean and jerk then he lifted eight kilos more than his until then own record and achieved a total of 461 kilos. With this total he surpassed his Russian competitor Ewgeni Tschihischew who achieved second place just one kilo less than the strongest man in the world. Matthias Steiner raised a picture of Susan at the victory ceremony and said: “This gold medal is for my deceased wife. I hope and think that she realizes this.”
Lena Schöneborn is currently fifth Saint Hubert position in the world rankings and surprisingly won the gold medal in her sport Modern Pentathlon. She hardly couldn’t believe her victory and sated after the ceremony: “I am so overwhelmed and the happiest person in this world. The victory ceremony was an emotional roller coaster for me, I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry.” Lena didn’t have a good start when she only shot 177 rings out of 200 in the first discipline and ended up in the 20th place. But already at the second discipline which is the fencing she was able to take the lead with a world’s record of 28:7 victories. And also in the following three disciplines swimming, riding and running she did not conceded her leadership. Lena hopes now that her sport gains more recognition after her victory.