Bildnummer: 00984886 Datum: 02.08.1992 Copyright: imago/Thomas Zimmermann Kunstspringerin in der Eintauchphase mit schön gestreckten Beinen; Vdia, hoch, Bein, Beine, Fuß, Füße, eintauchen, Turmspringer, tauchen, gestreckt, Kunstspringer, Wasserspringer, Wasserspringerin, Turmspringerin, Symbol, Feature Olympische Sommerspiele 1992, Olympia, Olympiade, Spiele, Kunstspringen, Turmspringen Barcelona Wasserspringen OS Sommer Damen Einzel Spanien Einzelbild Aktion Personen Körperteile Symbolfoto

The swimming pool Bernat Picornell. Here, at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, ​​Jan Hempel could have experienced the greatest moment of his sporting career. But the former water jumper slipped up and missed a medal. Now, 30 years later, he has returned to this place.

In the ARD documentary “Abused – Sexualized Violence in German Swimming”, which will be broadcast on Saturday (10:40 p.m. / ARD), he reports what happened at the time. For 14 years, until 1996, his then coach Werner Langer abused him. So also immediately before the Olympic competition in the toilet. “Everyone was silent,” says Hempel in retrospect, “until today.”

But Hempel no longer wants to remain silent. A few weeks ago he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and he notices that more and more things are disappearing from his head. “Now I can still remember, but I don’t know how much longer that will be the case.”

Hempel is not alone in his descriptions; the documentary paints a picture of a system in which trainers repeatedly exploited their positions of power over children and young people. Several people affected by swimming talk about the shame and the fear of not being taken seriously – not even by their own family.

Hempel says his trainer “didn’t miss a moment to let his wishes and needs run free”. He was eleven years old when he was first abused. Langer himself cannot comment on the allegations, he took his own life in 2001.

“He built it up systematically,” says Hempel, “and wormed my trust. He then used that for his own purposes.” Traces of this can also be found in Stasi documents in which “overnight stays with the trainer” are documented, as the documentary shows. Langer himself was an unofficial employee.

It is one of the most serious abuse allegations that a top athlete has ever made public. And they reach up to the present, because Hempel also accuses national water jump coach Lutz Buschkow of having contributed to the fact that the incidents were never cleared up. The ARD asked Buschkow for a statement, but received no answer.

Hempel reports that he described the incidents to the head of the association in 1997 and accuses them of never having worked through them, but only separating from Langer on the basis of an excuse (“Stasi past”).

It is not the first time that the German Swimming Association has had to deal with incidents of abuse. It was only last year that the “Spiegel” reported on the allegations against the former open water national coach Stefan Lurz. He was sentenced to a six-month suspended sentence and a fine and, according to the Würzburg district court, should refrain from any “activities related to swimming”.

However, the documentary shows that Lurz now seems to be working for the SV Würzburg 05 club, whose president, of all people, is his brother, Thomas Lurz.

Attacks were also said to have taken place at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, as two members of the DSV delegation report in the documentary. That’s one of the reasons why Hempel is making his experiences public: He believes that we owe it to others to talk about it in the future.